FORMER Fremantle AFL player Brett Bewley has returned to his home club, signing with Darley for the 2022 season.
Bewley, who played 25 games from 2019-21 with the Dockers, was delisted by the club at the end of the season.
He had been recruited as a mature ager after five years with the Williamstown Football Club in the VFL.
However, the 26-year-old has decided to return to his home club in a bid to help the Devils climb back up the Ballarat Football Netball League ladder.
Bewley was the 59th pick in the 2018 AFL draft, having played his TAC Cup football with the Western Jets.
His debut was against Brisbane at Optus Stadium in Perth in Round 10, 2019 and played the last three games of season 2021, before being informed he would not be re-contracted.
Darley president Mark Shelley said the club was thrilled that their former junior was returning home.
"We're very happy that Brett has come on board, he's a Darley boy that will fit in really well," he said.
"While we'd certainly love it if he was keen to take on a leadership role, the most important aspect he will bring will be his work ethic and preparation which so many of our young players will be able to learn from.
"Even prior to him getting drafted to Fremantle, he'd come and do pre-seasons with us even back when Heath Scotland was coaching.
"You could just tell he was an awfully hard worker, his preparation was second to none.
"It raises the bar as far as the standards go right across the playing group."
Shelley said the club left the 26-year-old to make his own decision about his future after his days at Fremantle came to an end.
"Once Brett had been told by Fremantle he wasn't going to go on, we as a club left him to his own devices and left the decision up to him to have some thinking time about what he wanted to do next.
"We're so excited that he and his partner Sarah, who is also a Bacchus Marsh girl have decided to return home."
Bewley's brother Jack was a regular senior player with the Devils this season.
The club will its best and fairest vote count and meet the coach day on November 28.
Shelley said there was a real sense of optimism across the club since the appointment of Dan Jordan as coach and the announcement of Williamstown full-forward Nick Rodda, who has played many years with Bewley, also committing to a full season
"Nick's a key forward who been on our list for last three years but he's now committed for us full time," he said.
"He's that 26-27 year-old hulking forward. How good will it be to see him leading out to Bewley's left foot?"
Shelley said the club was still on the look-out for a ruckman, however new coach Jordan is believed to be keen on developing from within if required.
"Once the VFL program is set in stone, that might free some of them up from that level, we'll try and fill the void if we can," he said.
"Dan has made comment there's some younger guys in the club so I know he's keen to see how they might progress going forward."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.