WANGARATTA Rovers are resigned to losing one of their brightest young stars, with Alex Marklew set to try out for Essendon’s VFL side.
Marklew, who has played 46 senior matches for the Hawks, took his game to another level this year when he transformed himself from a skinny, yet mercurial key forward into a midfield running machine.
He was poised to win the club’s best and fairest award after a stunning run of form in the second half of the year, being named in the team’s best two players six weeks in a row from round 10-15, before being hampered by a hip injury in the final three matches.
In a tight finish Marklew finished third in the vote count behind winner Tyson Hartwig and runner up Sean O’Keeffe.
Newly appointed co-coach Andy Hill confirmed Marklew’s ambition to play in the VFL next season, and said the Hawks were happy to see the young gun test himself at a higher level.
“You can’t hold these kids back,” Hill said.
“Alex is an exceptional talent and he wants to see if he can make it, so we won’t stand in his way.
“Obviously we don’t want to lose him, but for his own development it’s something he needs to do, and he is still keen to play for us when he is available.”