Bacchus Marsh premiership hero Damian Cupido will continue his playing career with Bairnsdale in the Gippsland Football League next year.
He leaves after one season with the Cobras to take up an assistant coaching role.
Cupido said he could not have been happier with his stint with Bacchus Marsh.
He described the experience of being part of the Cobras’ first Ballarat Football League premiership as “sensational” – although he conceded that lifting Rumbalara from last to a Murray league flag in his first year as coach was at the top of his list.
Cupido, 34, was the first of two unexpected boom recruits for the Cobras – playing his first game in round four.
The former Brisbane and Essendon forward arrived after being thrown a lifeline by Bacchus Marsh coach Travis Hodgson, having parted ways with Airport West after just four rounds in his first year as coach of the Essendon District league team.
He was an immediate hit, kicking 10 goals against Melton South and Ballarat in his first two appearances, and forcing his way into the BFL team which met Western Region in the AFL Victoria Community Championship.
Cupido finished the year as Bacchus Marsh’s leading goalkicker and fourth in the BFL with 51.
Cupido said the Cobras were a “great bunch of blokes” who had immediately accepted him into the group.
He said as a member of its first premiership he would always have a special place for Bacchus Marsh in his life.
Hodgson said Cupido’s departure after such a huge year had a tinge of sadness. “He was huge for us. It was more than kicking goals. He took the best defender every week to make it easier for Cam (Richardson) and Jarrah (Maksymow).
“He couldn’t have fitted in better. The player group fully embraced him.”
Maksymow, who was also a late pick-up for Bacchus Marsh this year – not debuting until round seven - is expected to stay with the Cobras in 2017.
Hodgson said while Maksymow was yet to sign, he was confident the dynamic onballer/forward would play on at Maddingley Park.
Maksymow kicked 37 goals in 12 games, including seven in the second semi-final and four in the grand final.
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