JEFF STEPHENSON

DOWLING Medal winner BLAKE GREWAR is the first of several big-name signings to be rolled out by an exuberant Redland as the club prepares for its assault on the NEAFL in 2020.

Blake, who won the medal for the club best and fairest in 2016 before being signed on to the Brisbane Lions rookie list the following year, has spent the past two seasons playing with Richmond reserves in the VFL.

The 26-year-old midfielder is a product of Redland juniors and played 82 matches with the Bombers before embarking on his AFL/VFL career.

“I can’t wait to get back,” Blake said.

“I know a lot of the boys who are still there. I grew up with a lot of them and I’m close to them.

“I’m really excited to be coming back – I can’t wait.”

Redland coach Phil Carse said the club was “over the moon” having Blake back in the system.

“He is a great example of the pathway that the Redland Football Club provides, progressing from our club’s juniors of AFL ranks and now comes back as a better player ready to help us to take the next step at NEAFL level,” Phil said.

While enjoying his experience of the last three years, Blake conceded he doesn’t have the same emotional connection to either club as he does with the Bombers, where he started playing as a 14-year-old.

A relative latecomer to the game – he also played soccer and rugby – he concentrated on the latter for a full season when in Year 12 before re-uniting with the Bombers in 2011 when he made his debut with the reserve grade.

His senior debut arrived the following year and he now sits on 82 senior appearances with the 100 Club a major milestone within his sights.

Blake is well known as a hard inside midfielder, who is sharp around the contest and a classy finisher.

He also established himself as a “leader” with Richmond and will bring that side of his character to the Bombers.

“When I went to the Lions it highlighted a number of things that you’re not aware of at State League level.

“The insights you gain in a fully professional environment are unlike anything you’ve previously experienced.

“Then coming down to Richmond the VFL side is different again in terms of how things work, and the culture involved, which again is different to Brisbane. But both have been good.

“I’m hoping to bring back a bit of that experience with me.”

Blake said the decision to return was not all that difficult to make particularly as he’ll be re-uniting with former teammate and now Bombers’ coach Phil Carse.

“He was one of my biggest idols coming through the junior ranks and I used to love watching him play.”

Phil confirmed the Bombers’ “recruit” would be a bolster to the club’s midfield for the 2020 season.

“Blake brings some genuine contested ability around the football but can also spread and win the ball on the outside and has great goal sense when he pushes forward.

“Most importantly Blake is a terrific character and will add leadership to our Bombers brotherhood and bring the inside knowledge of a great Richmond football club program that we can all learn from.”

The signing will be welcomed by all connected with the Bombers.

Welcome back Blake and here’s to some exciting and successful times as we work towards 2020 and beyond.

 

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