Ballarat Swans favourite son Drew Petrie is returning home to make a one-off appearance in the Ballarat Football League on Saturday, June 9.
The AFL 300-game veteran will line up for the Swans against Redan at Alfredton.
Petrie ended his AFL career last season, having played 316 games with North Melbourne and 16 with West Coast Eagles.
The Perth-based Petrie told The Courier that he was excited about returning as a player to where his football began as a youngster.
He said given this was his first year in since retiring up to now he had never considered the prospect of again pulling on the red and white, but now that it was happening he was looking forward to it.
“It’s nice to be able give something back to the clkub which gave me my first opportunity.
“It’ll be an enjoyable day.”
”The 35-year-old was last formally a Ballarat Swans player in 2000 – his last year with the North Ballarat Rebels and the year North Melbourne selected him with pick 23 in the AFL national draft.
Petrie will step out with a new generation of Swans, with Ballarat coach Shane Hutchinson the only familiar face for him.
They spent a few years together with the Rebels in the TAC Cup under-18 competition.
Hutchinson said having Petrie lining up was a fantastic opportunity for the club, on and off the field.
He said it was great that all the pieces had come together to make it possible.
Hutchinson said playing an old rival in Redan on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, when there was not a lot of football on in the region – it should be a big day.
He said it was a great experience for the players to line up alongside one of Ballarat’s football greats.
While this will almost certainly be the only time Petrie turns out for the Ballarat Swans, he also has two other guest appearances locked in for later in the year.
He will play with Pearcedale in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League and Terrigal Avoca in the Black Diamond league on the NSW Central Coast.
While his full-time playing days are over, Petrie remains involved with West Coast Eagles in two expanding areas as game development head coach.
He is overseeing and coaching the club’s female academy, as well as working in pathway program for indigenous youngsters.
The multi-layered female program is supporting players who are just beginning their football journey or others striving to play in the AFLW, which the Eagles will join in 2020.
The Ballarat Swans’ announcement follows the appearance of Hawthorn premiership player Brad Sewell with his former junior club Newlyn in the CHFL on Saturday.
It was also his first game with the Cats since his junior days at the club.
PETRIE FOOTBALL FILE
Junior club: Ballarat Swans
TAC Cup team: North Ballarat Rebels
AFL: career: 2001-2017
AFL games: 332
AFL goals: 444
Drafted: pick 23 in 2000
AFL debut: round 1 2001 v Essendon
Jumper number: 20
WEST COAST EAGLES
Represented Australia against Ireland 2008
North Melbourne vice-captain 2009-2015
Club leading goalkicker: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015