The University Blacks have added some AFL experience to their list with former Richmond and Essendon player Matt Dea joining the club ahead of the 2020 season.
After being de-listed by Essendon at the end of 2019, Dea brings 70 games at the top level across his career with both the Tigers and Bombers spanning ten seasons.
“Initial discussions with the Blacks started when I was delisted by Essendon at the end of 2018. I knew a few guys that had played there, but then I was redrafted with the Bombers for 2019 and stayed in contact with the Blacks throughout,” Dea said.
“I’m most looking forward to just enjoying my footy and being part of a really great community.
“Everyone speaks so highly of the Blacks and it’s something I’ve heard about from afar, but now really excited to be a part of it and hopefully add some value. I know Bede Mahon and he has reassured me that he’s going around again which is great!”
Dea started his football career with Imperials in the Sunraysia Football League but was focused on a promising junior basketball career. A move to Ballarat for boarding school led to school football which set him on the pathway to being an AFL footballer.
Three games with the Ballarat Rebels in Year 12 was enough to get him drafted to Richmond, where he played for six seasons. He was then signed by Essendon during the club’s infamous drug saga.
Uni Blacks Senior coach Dale Bower said the club was delighted to have Dea on board.
“Matt is a quality player and a quality person who we have no doubt will slot in seamlessly into the club on and off field,” he said.
“It’s a big tick that we have players such as Matt wanting to play with the Blacks and we’re hoping he can be a real leader for us to help our younger players coming through.”
Pre-season training kicks off Monday 18 November at 6.15pm at Collingwood Athletics Centre, Heidelberg Road Clifton Hill.