Dylan Chaplin-Burch.DEAKIN University favourite son Dylan Chaplin-Burch will make a rock star return to The Pond this year.
Nanjing Night Net

The gun forward has signed with the Sharks after spending last year at Bellarine Football League (BFL) club Queenscliff, where he claimed almost every award on offer.

Chaplin-Burch won the BFL best and fairest award, booted 105 goals to be runner-up in the goalkicking and played in a premiership.

But the law student never forgot his old stomping ground. “It’s been in the back of my mind since last season,” Chaplin-Burch told The Standard yesterday.

“I’ve always felt like Warrnambool was home. I’ve clicked with the people and the lifestyle.”

Chaplin-Burch said his decision to return to the Sharks was finalised at the funeral of Deakin University stalwart Chris “Big Red” Jennings last week.

“It just brought back all of the emotion of playing with the Sharks,” he said.

“It was a good year (last year), that’s for sure and I will be grateful for the rest of my life.

“But I’ve played with the Sharks for three years and Queenscliff for one.”

Chaplin-Burch joined Deakin University as a student in 2008, kicking 77 goals in his first season.

Ignoring lucrative deals to move elsewhere, the loyal talent stayed put and went on to coach the Sharks in 2010.

As his study requirements moved to the university’s Geelong campus last year, so did he.

Chaplin-Burch spent a pre-season with Geelong’s VFL side before starring for Queenscliff.

But the astute leader checked in with the Sharks’ progress every week.

“There was gradual improvement,” he said.

“It was very hard at the start of last year. We lost a considerable amount of players.

“But (coach) Craig Fowler has done a great job.

“Hopefully all the players hang around with the club.”

With a year of study left to complete, the 22-year-old will commute from Geelong to Warrnambool this season for Thursday night training sessions and Saturday games.

He hopes to secure a job in the region at the end of the year.

Deakin president Luke Jackson said Chaplin-Burch was a marquee recruit.

“Naturally we’re very excited to get Dyl back,” Jackson said.

“He’s played three of our past four seasons and he’s coached the club.

“Last year he won a league best and fairest, (was runner-up in) the goalkicking and a premiership. There’s not much more you can ask for as far as recruits go.

“Things aren’t looking too bad at the moment.”

Chaplin-Burch joins a host of new Sharks recruits, including Clinton Baker and Jarrod Stafford.

Deakin will play East Warrnambool in the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League season opener on April 1.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.