Hoppers Crossing’s decision to bring in a former AFL player as coach is already paying dividends.
The Warriors announced in September that Jared Polec would be taking the reins at the club following a disappointing Western Region Football League division 1 season.
Polec played 148 games and kicked 75 goals across Brisbane, Port Adelaide and North Melbourne, in a career spanning 11 years from 2011 to 2022.
On Tuesday, the Warriors announced their first marquee signing of the off-season, with former teammate of Polec’s Jed Anderson joining the club.
Anderson was in the AFL for 10 seasons, debuting for Hawthorn in 2013 before moving to North Melbourne for the 2016 season. He was then delisted by the Kangaroos and was signed to Gold Coast for the 2023 season as a supplementary selection period signing.
The hard nosed midfielder played 99 AFL games and kicked 32 goals. Currently, he is applying his craft for Southern District in the Northern Territory Football League.
“He’s a massive in and no doubt he’ll help us win a couple of games,” Polec said of his former teammate.
“And it’s what he can do to help educate the kids too. It’s a big inclusion but it’s big for development for the kids.”
Polec said developing the club’s young list is one of his main priorities, especially with the expertise he has in the field after seeing how it’s done at the highest level.
“I think it starts with the junior programs, I’ll start getting heavily involved through the whole football department,” he said.
“I feel like my strong suit is development and hopefully I can help change the face of Hoppers and help rejuvenate the junior program which only flows into our senior program, it’s just tying everything together.
“I think it helps that I’ve been around a few different clubs and seen how they operate and I’ve seen the strong points of clubs and I’ve seen the weak points of clubs.
“It’s definitely something that I’ve learnt over the so many years in the AFL system that I’d like to bring to local footy.”
While the Warriors were disappointing this season, only winning two games for the year, Polec is expecting a big jump in his club’s performance.
The club finished bottom in division 1 last season and were set to be relegated. With a competition restructure, Polec confirmed they would remain in division 1.
“I think we are going to definitely push for finals,” he said.
“It’s a really good group of lads and they’re all eager to learn and make the club better and more a more community proud footy club too which was a really big selling point for me.
“We’re building towards hopefully playing a game before the Christmas break, it’s a bit unusual for the boys, they’ve never done it before but it’s something that we’re building towards.
“We’re hoping we can keep building the energy around Hoppers and keep bringing new people in and making it more of a destination club as it does have the best facilities on the west side by a long way.
“It is a VFL-club playing local footy, so we’ve got to make it that way.”
The Warriors have also announced the re-signings of Braden Ferrari and Chase Guy.