Matt Aver will play for Aquinas in 2020.
It’s difficult to think of a more exciting Christmas present for the Bloods faithful than to see one of the club’s most talented exports coming back to wear the red and black and green.
Two words: He’s a gun.
Some nine years after heading to Norwood to test himself against – and get the better of – the strongest the Eastern Football League has to offer, he’s coming home to join his mates and chase flags.
“The main reason is because I want to play with Lachy Barnes and a few of the other boys,” he said.
“Just the chance to play with those boys, I think I’d regret it if I didn’t do it now.
“I’ve had a couple of injuries the last couple of years but I feel like I’ve still got plenty to give.
“I’d love to win a flag or two. When I left, we were in D1, so hopefully we can get back to D1. Who knows from there, I’d like to see where we can get to.”
In further news likely to give D2 defenders cold sweats, Aver said he’s looking forward to moving forward.
“When I left Aquinas I went to Norwood as a forward, so I’d like to play up forward at Aquinas,” he said.
“With Barnesy holding down a key spot in the back line, I think I can play a pivotal role up forward and help some of the young guys if I can.”
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Aver’s decorated career is his seemingly limitless appetite for improvement.
Having left Aquinas at the end of the 2010 season to test himself in the Eastern Football League’s top-flight with Norwood, Aver worked his way into the senior side.
Four years later he was the Norsemen’s number one defender as they upset the might of Balwyn to claim the club’s first-ever top-flight flag.
Aver would go on to represent the EFL in interleague competition from 2015-17, Vic Metro in 2015 and 2016, be named in the EFL Division 1 team of the year in 2015 and 2016 and claim a club best & fairest in 2017.
For a four-year stretch, before injuries struck, he was arguably the best defender in the best suburban football league in the state.
The higher the level of football, the better he played.
The 30-year-old has a long history of rising for the occasion, having booted eight goals in the Bloods’ 2008 under-19 grand final win.
He said he’s hoping to get the band back together for another run at premiership success.
“Playing with the likes of Lachy, Niezen, Jezza and all of those guys again, I’d love to get as many of them back together,” he said.
“It would be pretty cool to be able to do it all again 11 years later.”
No word yet on whether Jarryd Cali will be pulling the boots back on for the reunion tour – stay tuned for further updates.
Aquinas Old Collegians Football Club secretary Jack McDonald took a break from cackling with glee to say some words.
“Matty always said he would be back one day and we’re glad that day has finally come,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him terrorise opponents once again and seeing some familiar faces alongside him or watching from the sidelines.
“The club has a massive number of young players coming through the ranks, and having Matty there to teach them about what’s required to succeed as a senior footballer is going to be invaluable for us.”
Merry Christmas, Bloods.