Collingwood’s hope of reclaiming the Victorian Wheelchair Football League premiership was strengthened on Wednesday night when the club redrafted six of the squad that narrowly missed back-to-back glory in 2019.
At the 2020 VWFL draft, held at AFL House, Collingwood retained Andrew Paddle, Arnold Razon, Brett Newman, Josh Christian, Riley Fitzgerald and 2018 premiership captain-coach Brendan Stroud.
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Alex Gale-Grime from StKilda, Brian Owens from Hawthorn and VWFL newcomers Ben Jankovski and Jason Heagerty were also added to complete the squad of 10.
The draft was an emotional occasion for the Magpies and Stroud in particular. Due to ill-health the foundation captain-coach is likely to miss a significant amount of the season, which begins on May 24.
As a result, he has relinquished some of his leadership responsibilities and will co-captain the team with Brett Newman, also a 2018 Collingwood premiership player. Brian Fitzpatrick will coach the team in 2020.
Stroud participated in Wednesday’s draft via a phone hook-up from a hospital bed. He is to undergo major surgery today and is not expected to play before the middle of the year.
“Brendan has been a brilliant advocate for disability sports and a pillar of the Collingwood VWFL team,” Collingwood Community Manager, Liz Dunne, said.
“He is determined to be back and so it was a lovely moment when we could call out his name. I’m sure he will be a source of inspiration for our squad, especially when he pulls on the black and white jumper again.”