Eagles set pace for forwards

Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
Goalkicking machine Joel Houghton will be back in Collie Eagles colours when the South West Football League season eventually gets under way.
Camera IconGoalkicking machine Joel Houghton will be back in Collie Eagles colours when the South West Football League season eventually gets under way. Credit: Mitchell Woodcock/South Western Times, Mitchell Woodcock

Should the South West Football League go ahead this season, the Collie Eagles will have a forward line to be feared.

Former Fremantle recruit Joel Houghton has returned to the club after spending last season at East Perth.

The 28-year-old, who kicked 94 goals in 32 games for the Eagles between 2017-18, including winning the SWFL goalkicking in his first year, will be a welcome return for the Eagles.

Joining Houghton will be former Subiaco forward Ryan Vermeersch, who played six league games, 51 in the reserves and 40 in the colts, kicking 145 goals in that time.

“They’ll both be handy,” coach Seth White said.

“We also got Jo Scafidi who played league at Subiaco, while we got local boy Declan Jackson from the Lions as well.

“Ryan and Declan played in a flag together in 2018 so they came together.”

Jackson last played at Subiaco in their losing 2017 grand final, finishing on 49 league games in four seasons.

Former captain Matt Blackford will also return from the Northern Territory Football League where he played for Banks in division one, with the club hoping to build a connection up there.

“We had a couple of Darwin boys come and play for us last year when we we’re still a chance to make finals,” White said.

“Hopefully we can continue that going. Obviously it is hard with logistics and that.”

Like football teams across Australia, the Eagles have stopped training in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We trained harder than we have the last four years since I have been back at the club,” he said.

“I just told them to cool their heels for a couple of weeks, look after family and all that.

“I am not sure what is going ahead, it’s all going to be very hard if we don’t get back until May 31.”

Like all football clubs there is no set date for the start of the SWFL in 2020.

The AFL was postponed on Sunday and won’t return until at least early June.

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