By: JESS WEBSTER
Baxter eager for NEAFL comeback in pursuit of flag
Southport has welcomed back two-time NEAFL Team of the Year member Josh Baxter in a boost to their forward line for the 2017 season.
The 30-year-old played 74 games from 2011-2014 for the Sharks before taking a break from NEAFL level due to work commitments.
Baxter then joined Labrador in the QAFL, where he kicked 156 goals and won back-to-back premierships in the past two years.
The former NEAFL representative player said he was looking forward to re-joining the Sharks, where he hopes to win a premiership before his playing days are over.
“It was something that was playing on my mind, being the only club I haven’t won a premiership with,” he said.
“It would be a nice box to tick before I retire I guess. I’d just like to have another crack at a better standard of footy to see if I’ve still got it.
“It’s been good fun at Labrador but it’s something that ate away at me, was not being able to win a flag at Southport when we got close a couple of times.”
Baxter is one of several new faces at the club this year, with fellow QAFL players Ryan Pantic (Broadbeach), Jon Croad (Palm Beach), former Suns defender Seb Tape, NBL basketballer Tom Howard, and Aspley ruckman Jed Turner among the additions.
Veterans Jason Burge and Glenn Screech won't return to the club in 2017, while defenders Matt Sully, Evan Panozza, Dylan Troutman, and Zak Saad join the list of outs as Southport looks to rejuvenate its list.
Baxter said he is excited by the challenge of cementing a place in the side and helping Southport regain its place in the finals next season.
“It is exciting to look at where Southport was when I was playing there last. I can already tell the jump in professionalism and how everything has changed,” he said.
“Hopefully I can help make the forward line not as predictable and give another option up there and help out where I can.
“’Fieldsy’ (Southport football manager Jarrod Field) has done a really good job at putting a list together that is going to be very competitive in the competition.
“It’s not going to be easy to keep a spot but I’m willing to put the hard work in to try and get one and cement it and see how far we can push it.”
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