By Nick Creely
Devon Meadows has named a new senior coach for season 2022 in the MPNFL, with Doveton great Ryan Hendy announced by the club on the weekend as its main man moving forward.
Hendy, who enjoyed a storied career with the Doves and also won a premiership with the Doveton Eagles, has inked a two-year deal that will see him lead the group for the 2022 and 2023 football seasons.
The highly touted coach has most recently spent a few seasons under Mick Fogarty as an assistant coach at Beaconsfield in the AFL Outer East, and is well-regarded as a star coach in the wings.
Hendy replaces Neil Craig, who spent two Covid riddled seasons at the club.
The Panthers were one of the most exciting sides in the MPNFL’s Division Two in 2021, finishing in sixth spot with seven wins and six losses, improving on its 2019 finish of ninth which featured just five wins.
The club snared many impressive wins in 2021, including a 36-point win against fifth placed Rye and were incredibly gallant against one of the top sides Mornington, going down by just a point in Round 4.
“Ryan comes with a wealth of football knowledge and we can not wait for the pre season and 2022 season to start with Ryan leading the senior group,” the club said on social media.
“Welcome to the Panther Family, Ryan, Bec, Emma and Will.”
Hendy brings along with him two of the most prized recruits you’ll see this off season, with Beaconsfield stars Nick Battle and ex Saint Brandon White both joining the club as playing assistant coaches for the next two seasons.
Battle had a sublime 2021 in the Outer East and took out the Pakenham Gazette Coaches Award for his dominant campaign through the midfield and will add significant class to the Panthers both on and off field.
He spent one season at the Eagles.
White – who returned to Beaconsfield after spending several seasons in the AFL system with St Kilda for 11 games – was also prominent for the Eagles in 2021 through the midfield and half back with his elite kicking skills and composure under pressure.
The Panthers have also announced one of its most decorated players, Scott Morrison, has returned to take on the Under 19 coaching role in an exciting signing.
Morrison, who played 115 games for Devon Meadows which included two senior best and fairests, and also has played plenty of top-line football in the VFA and was previously listed by St Kilda in the early 1990s, has been involved with Berwick Springs in the AFL Outer East as a senior assistant coach to Rodney Benstead.
And the Panthers have also locked in their 2022 football managers, with both Dave Morrison and Michael Addison confirmed for the roles.