Topics:  afl, chris devlin, ipswich eagles

Devlin delighted with his lot returning to the field

IPSWICH Eagles stalwart Chris "Fatty" Devlin is in a happy place with a baby on the way after getting married and completing his apprenticeship.

He's also excited about returning as an Aussie rules player this season following a year off coaching.

Left and right knee reconstructions in recent years had derailed his playing prospects.

However, the classy midfielder is beaming with excitement, joining 40 players at training with the Eagles, weeks before the new SEQAFL Division 3 season starts.

"It's the first time we've seen that in the past five years," Devlin said. "That's the best numbers I've seen since Rushie (Mick Rush) last coached.

"Last year, or the year before, we were getting 12 or 13 (at this time of the year).

"It's a good move by the club getting Rushie back. He's got access to the RAAF too, which is good."

Rush has returned to the coaching ranks this season after the club experienced a turbulent couple of years where new coaches had failed to earn the respect of senior players.

Rush will be assisted by Reserve grade coach Craig Harley, who helped out late last season.

Devlin coached the Eagles Reserve grade team to last year's grand final after having a year off to recover from surgery.

As one of Ipswich's most consistent performers for a decade, it was a tough time on the sidelines.

"I wanted to walk away," Devlin said after his knee injury setbacks. "But I like the boys too much."

Devlin (pictured) is confident he's right to play, having been training since November.

The Eagles' season starts on April 5 around the time Devlin's first baby is due. Devlin and Michelle married last year.

Devlin capped a memorable year by completing his electrical apprenticeship.

The Eagles have a pre-season competition planned for March 23.

Training is at Mark Marsh Oval at Limestone Park on Tuesday and Thursday nights, sharing part of the field with cricketers until they end their season.

"We lose numbers when we're training at Collingwood Park or a soccer field so it's good (to be at Limestone Park)," he said.



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