The Maitland Magpies have secured the services of grand final goal scorer Joel Wood for the 2015 season alongside Edgeworth defender Zac Hill.
In what appears to be the last of the Magpies’ off-season signings ahead of their return to the Northern NSW top flight competition, Maitland have shored up both ends of the field.
Wood was instrumental in helping the Magpies earn promotion and claim a First Division minor-major premiership double with his work up front in the second half of last year and Hill adds another string to the back line.
Incoming head coach Chris Turner said Wood, who netted the first of the Magpies two extra-time goals in last season’s decider, will bring a dangerous element to Maitland’s attack in the National Premier League.
“He [Wood] adds another dimension to our game,” Turner said.
“His ability to make a mark on a game because of his strike power will be very important for us.
“He is a quality player.”
Turner, who used to coach against former Edgeworth striker Wood when with Lake Macquarie, said he was looked forward to planning in conjunction with the star player, rather than against him.
“I’ve coached against him before and he was always a guy we would keep a close eye on,” Turner said.
“I’m really glad he will be on my team this time.”
As for Hill, who has previously played in the Northern NSW select team against the Newcastle Jets, Turner first came across him when coaching at Broadmeadow.
“He was playing 19s and I was coaching 23s about five years ago,” Turner said.
“I was impressed with him then and he has grown up a lot since then.
“He gives us that cover we were looking for in the centre of defence.”
Hill will join the likes of Murray Leyland, Blake Thompson and Matt Toohey in the back line.
Wood will once again have the chance to work with First Division golden boot Ben Martin in the forward line.
Other signings for the Magpies this year include former Australian representative and Newcastle jets premiership player Matt Thompson as well as Weston Bears pair Jye McKellar and Bryce Sanders.
Maitland have also retained the three Broadly brothers, Corey Fletcher and goalkeeper Benn Kelly.
The season proper kicks off in April.