Black Diamond AFL: Young gun returns to add bite to Bulldogs’ midfield


YOUNG GUN: Jack Hardman has returned from Sydney and will boost the Warners Bay midfield. WARNERS BAY coach Marty Reiman hopes a season playing in the Black Diamond Cup will help gun midfielder Jack Hardman get picked up in the 2019 AFL draft.

The 18-year-old has returned home after a season in the Swans Academy and will spearhead the Bulldogs in the season-opener against Killarney Vale at Feighan Park on Saturday.

“Jack has picked up a job and made the decision to come home,” Reiman said. “That doesn’t mean he isn’t training as hard.Even if he is playing in the Black Diamond Cup he is still in contention to be drafted.”

Hardman spent a lot of time up forward when he last played for Warners Bay in 2016.

“Jack is very skilful and very fast. He is one of those unique players in that when he is running there aren’t too many guys who can catch him,” Reiman said. “He has also brought back a level of professionalism. He doesn’t just do the flashy things, I saw in the trialmatches the defensive side of his game has improved as well.”

Saturday is the start of a new11-team league featuring a top-seven finals series.

“We have a similar squad to last year,” Reiman said. “With the new points system we are bringing a couple of more young kids through. We finished fifth last year and with the benefit of another full pre-season we should start producing results.”

At Hillsborough Oval, Cardiff have been boosted by the arrival of Tim Cameron (Macquarie Uni) for the grand final replay against Newcastle City.

Star ruckman Chris Jackson returns for City after a year back at his home clubCollingullie-Glenfield Park.

At Dick Burwell Oval,Jayden Rymer, Billy Barton and Chris Eddy will have to be at their best to thwart perennial powerhouse Terrigal Avoca.

Corey Billins’ untimely injury hurts the Panthers midfield, whilst Marlins coach Sean McGrath will have to find ways to kick 15 goals a game without Aaron Clayden and Luke Price.

Returning clubs Wyong Lakes and Gosford meet in a first-up derbyat Don Small Oval.

In the final match,Lake Macquarie host 2017 second division premiers Maitland at Tulkaba Oval.

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