By Matt Fotia
After a few years in the Eastern Football League, one of the Wandin Football Netball Club’s favourite sons is returning to his spiritual home, with premiership Bulldog and ex-coach Jarrod Bayliss moving back to the Kennel.
Bayliss left the Dogs after their preliminary final exit in 2016, moving to Park Orchards in the Eastern Football League to continue his coaching journey. He led the Sharks to success in 2017, winning the Division Three Premiership, before finishing fifth in the second division last season, two games out of the finals.
He left the Sharks at the end of 2018 to join Vermont before applying for a move back home to Wandin in recent days after playing just four games for the Eagles senior side.
Wandin senior coach Nick Adam was aware that Bayliss wanted to finish his playing career at the Dogs, but believed the move would come at the end of 2019.
“There had been ongoing discussions with him last year and over the summer about his careers and we were aware that he was going to go to Vermont,”
“Those discussions did include the fact that he had a desire to finish off at Wandin, how important the place has been to him during his football career and how important it is to his family, so this was always his end goal,”
“My understanding was that it was going to be from next year, but obviously it’s come a little bit sooner,”
“I hadn’t had any conversation with him in the last six or eight weeks, so all of this has come in a real hurry, but obviously he’s a really good player and will add to our midfield depth – we’re happy to get him back, he’s happy to be back and his dad’s really happy to get him back.”
Bayliss’s experience, skill and fitness will not only add to the quality of the Dogs midfield, but will also help their younger stars adapt to playing on the bigger grounds, which has been a major falling point for Wandin this season.
“He’s done a full pre-season and the first block of the year at probably the best club in suburban football, so he’s as fit as I’ve ever seen him and he’s definitely going to help us whether it be at Wandin or away from home,”
“You add a player of that quality he’s going to improve your side.”
The Dogs have won their last three matches to find themselves just percentage outside of the top five as they enter a season defining month or so of football, playing all of the top five in that period.
“This month defines our season – this weekend is the last time we leave the Valley, which is going to help us,”
“It’s not going to gift us four points though and we’re going to have to be switched on throughout this block because the next four or five weeks will tell us where we’re at,”
“We’ll either be lining up ready to go for finals, or we’ll be planning for next year.”
In other transfer news, Doveton’s ruckman and ex Dandenong Stingray Gach Nyoun has moved to their namesake, the Doveton Eagles in the Southern Football Netball League’s Second Division for the remainder of 2019.