Return of favourite son a coup for Katamatite

By Tyler Maher

Katamatite has pulled off a recruiting coup by luring favourite son Sam Wright back to the club.

Wright retired from the AFL ranks earlier this year after 136 games for North Melbourne, but will line up in the Picola District Football League next season.

The opportunity to give back to the club which gave him his start — as well as his strong family ties in the Tigers’ set up — proved too much for Wright to resist despite plenty of interest from other outfits.

“I'm really excited, I'm stoked,” Wright, 29, said.

“It was definitely a goal of mine, when you get into the AFL it's always the plan to come back.

“I think when you leave the AFL system you're always going to get plenty of phone calls, but I was pretty honest with everyone and only spoke to one or two clubs (in detail).

“It will be great to be back home, especially with the kind of club Katty is and with my brother coach and Dad president.

“I couldn't be more excited, I'm pumped.”

Wright's body started to let him down in the top tier — including in his final VFL game for the Kangaroos — but he is refreshed and ready to go as a playing assistant coach next year.

One of his main focuses would be imparting some of his wisdom on to those around him at Katamatite Recreation Reserve.

“The club is really family-orientated and there's an emphasis on the juniors,” he said.

“I'm looking forward to being able to give back to my home club and the juniors as much as I can.

“That development side of the game I'm really interested in and passionate about, whether that's seniors or juniors and I think they tie into each other.

“Obviously (my professional career) didn't end well in tearing my hamstring pretty bad in my last game, but to be honest I've probably never felt better.

“Retiring gave my body time to rest and recover rather than trying to push it to go again.”

Wright's brother Jedd — who would co-coach the Tigers alongside Tom Buzza next season — was also looking forward to having his sibling back in a Tigers jumper.

“We are excited,” Jedd said.

“We obviously had our sights set on him from the end of last year and a lot of other clubs would have wanted to get him as well.

“We're really lucky to get someone straight off an AFL list, it's not often that you can do that in country footy.

“We'll try and learn as much as we can, both the seniors and juniors.”

Wright's playing ability would be an outstanding asset for the Tigers as they looked to improve on this year's straight sets finals exit.

“His body will be a lot better, it's a lot different getting yourself up for an AFL or VFL game than it is for country footy,” Jedd said.

“We've retained every player on our list as well which is a good start.”