Eric Guthrie will return to Harrow-Balmoral next season in a massive coup for the Horsham District league reigning premiers.
After lengthy negotiations, Guthrie has officially put pen to paper and decided to return home after a season away for work.
Coach Nick Pekin was overjoyed by the signing.
“He’s a great bloke and a great player, so we can’t wait,” Pekin said.
It’s been a difficult few months for Guthrie after his father died during this year’s finals series.
Pekin said the chance for Guthrie to return home and play for his childhood club would help him get the support he might need.
“The club and everyone are just trying to get behind him and supporting him as much as we can,” Pekin said.
“Getting him surrounded by good people – there’s plenty of blokes that are willing to give him a hand with anything, whatever he needs done.”
Pekin said he first saw Guthrie during his herculean performance in Harrow-Balmoral’s 2016 grand final loss against the Southern Mallee Giants. Guthrie was only 19 at the time, and Pekin said that performance has stuck in his memory.
“He just killed it. That day was when he made a name for himself I reckon,” Pekin said.
Guthrie won Horsham District’s best under-21 player that season and again in 2017, when the Southern Roos lost to the Southern Mallee Giants in the grand final for the second consecutive year.
The young utility will further strengthen an already stellar Harrow-Balmoral side that lost only one game last season.
Pekin said he was excited by the quality of the side, and is hopeful of creating a dynasty.
“I keep telling the boys, there’s no reason we can’t win the next five,” he said.
It is believed the club is also in talks with Michael Close about a potential return to join brothers Simon and Anthony at Harrow-Balmoral. Close is currently out of contract after playing VFL for North Melbourne this season.