Sherwood Junior and 2012 Senior premiership player, Brenton Saunders will return to McCarthy Homes Oval in 2018 after a number of seasons in the NEAFL with Redlands. Saunders will also be joined by Redland Bombers teammate, Dylan Adkins, who has also signed on for season 2018.
Saunders played his junior football for the Magpies and won the Maurie McNamee medal for Best and Fairest in the Colts in 2011. Following Colts, Saunders graduated to Senior football in 2012 and played in the Magpies emphatic premiership win over PBC in 2012 as a dynamic small forward.
Saunders then joined Mt Gravatt to try his hand in the NEAFL. When the Vultures dropped out of the NEAFL in 2015 he joined Redlands and remained playing in the NEAFL. However, when not selected to play for Redlands, Saunders has served as an important member of the Pies forward make-up in the QAFL. Now as a regular Magpies member, it will be exciting for the club to see him lace up in the black and white week in and week out.
It will also be exciting to see his team mate from Redlands - Dylan Adkins also wearing the black and white in 2018. Adkins who only took up the game in his late teens – will bring to the club not only size and aggression with his 199cm frame but also elite endurance. Dylan spent most of his youth as an elite middle distance runner - running a sub 2min 800m time, as well as being part of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) for Volleyball. After spending a few seasons with Redlands as a tall utility, he will be able to develop his game further in 2018 in a more permanent role in the ruck.
The arrival of Adkins will allow for the talented Aaron Highlands to play a key defensive role after his standout 2017, where he largely shouldered the ruck duties in a season that delivered him a Top 5 in the B&F and the coveted BG Award.
Adkins, a recent QUT finance graduate, was attracted to the Magpies over other clubs due to the holistic approach to player and personal development. The ability to open doors for players professional and personal development is a key pillar in the Western Magpies culture, and its important to distinguish that it’s not just a ‘jobs for the boys’ mentality, rather a focus on giving players opportunities to those who want to work hard and its up to each individual to then seize their opportunity.
"Since joining the Magpies I have been made to feel very welcome and supported by all of the boys. There's no ego's at this football club and aside from some creative comparisons from Lachlan Woods regarding my haircut to Wilson on Castaway, the transition has been very warm which has helped me to focus on enjoying football.
"I also want it to be known that I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities afforded to me by Redlands, especially coming from a Volleyball background it was quite surreal to be training and playing with and against talented players with elite AFL experience."
"That said, I do feel that I've made the right decision signing with the Western Magpies, where I can continue to develop my football knowledge at the QAFL level. It was also pretty attractive to get involved given the club's holistic approach to player development. Early days but the vibe on that track has been very positive with everyone putting in the work to set us up to be competitive in 2018," said Adkins.
Saunders key rationale for returning to the club was around getting back to his black & white origins and wanting to be a significant contributor in the growth of the club.
"Having been involved in the club part-time over the last two seasons, I've seen that the club making some great moves on and off field that should give us the best possible change of future success. Since I've been back on the track, I've been very impressed with the attitudes of all the boys, everyone just wants to soak up as much information as possible and get better which is creating a great football environment," said Saunders.
Senior Coach Brydan Morgan was pleased to secure the services of both Adkins and Saunders, who bring an exciting mix of talent to McCarthy Homes Oval.
"Both these blokes will bring plenty to the team in 2018,” Morgan said following training on Saturday morning.
"Saunders is no stranger to Magpie faithful of course. Not just from his Premiership exploits in 2012, but also in some of the glimpses he showed in 2017 including his seven goal outing against Surfers.That kind of score power is important to any team," Morgan added
"It’s no secret we were fairly undersized in 2017. To bring Dylan on board is very important for our overall structure," he said.
Saunders and Atkins add to the impressive list of recruits for the club, which has created a lot of excitement and optimism for the club in 2018.
For further info regarding playing at the Western Magpies in 2018 please call Brydan Morgan (Senior Coach) on 0423 861 361.