Mid Season Senior Mens Coach’s Round Up

The past long weekend bye round marks the halfway point of the regular season for the men’s EDFL Premier Division. Enormous thanks to all players, coaches, medical team and volunteers for the effort and commitment shown across the first half of the season.

It has been amazing to have our community back together, enjoying the game we love. Of course, EDFL Premier Division footy is incredibly challenging and we’ve embraced our fair share of those so far in the 2022 fixture and we look forward to more in the second half of the fixture.

We’re massive on our One Club attitude and that is creating an incredible vibe and culture at Marby this season. Enormous thanks to President Andrew Brockfield, the club committee and all volunteers for the enormous effort it takes to put our club on the park. Our junior coaches are doing a wonderful job at creating an enjoyable environment for our boys and girls to grow and learn and our senior women’s program lead by coach Phil Poursanidis is going from strength to strength.

For our men’s senior team the first half of the season has seen us embrace enormous challenges and has seen significant growth in our players, team and footy program.

The Round 1 game against Aberfeldie saw us go down by 14 points in a high tempo start to the season proper. New members of the Marby family Sean Hetherington, Tom Wyatt & Daniel Tadinac played their first game for the club while Kieran McGadey made his senior footy debut in his first season out of our U18.5s. This was an enormous effort and just reward for Kieran’s outstanding pre-season and commitment to his learning curve throughout the practice games. Despite a spread of goal kickers that included Noah Milton, Brandon Ryan, Max Griffin, Jordan Davey, George Abboud and Nick Prowse our late charge wasn’t enough to make up the deficit created in the first half when our poor ball movement conversion hurt us despite some significant stoppage exit and creation of turnover. Take nothing away from Aberfeldie, they were terrific on this day to open the season. We look forward to hosting Abers this Saturday 18th June at home.

The opportunity to play our Round 2 game against Avondale Heights at night was embraced by all and the big crowd were treated to a pretty intense game of footy. The first three quarters were a bit of an arm wrestle for momentum. We posted 10 scoring shots to Avondale’s 2 in the 4th quarter, however due to inaccuracy in front of the sticks, it wasn’t until deep into time on that we were able to get our noses in front and stay there til the final siren, taking the W by 11 points. Darcy Griffin, Tommy Baravi, Scotty Clarke and big Chris Prowse in the ruck were really important on the night as was Brandon Ryan will 4 goals.

We travelled in Round 3 to take on competition heavyweight Keilor. Ollie Sanders made his debut for the club at just age 19 after coming across from North Launceston and successfully making the Carlton VFL list. For three quarters we were able to compete really well but with both teams suffering a number of injuries throughout the game, we were overwhelmed by the offensive power of the blues in a what we could only describe as a very poor 4th quarter from a stoppage and defensive structure and output point of view. Josh Cole had a really significant impact on this game while Kyle Baker’s growth over the last 18 months and subsequent output on this day was also impressive. Matthew Gaul was able to play his first game for the season after making his VFL debut with Williamstown however unfortunately he sustained an injury that has required significant rehab since. Key leaders Chris Prowse and George Abboud suffered injury however the tenacity showed by Chris, George & Matty to complete the game showed why they are so well regarded by all at our club.

Glenroy presented us an enormous challenge in Round 4. They are a really honest footy team that makes you earn it in the contest all day long. I was watching on fro home due to the famous virus on this day and we had 8 forced changes at the selection table due to injury and illness. The ever reliable Andrew ‘Moose’ Edwards came in to sure up our defence and it was really special to have Tommy Baravi and Jonah Horo return to the field after the tragic death of their brother Isaac a week earlier. Our coaching team this year is really impressive and on this day Jarrad Carey stepped up to coach the senior team exceptionally well and was supported by Sam Pupillo also stepping up to assist the midfield line group. Incredibly proud of our group to get the 4 points on this day. U18.5 player Sam Calleri made his senior football debut, although unfortunately an injury in one of the opening contests of the match has put Sam on the sidelines for some time. Club junior product Lachlan Melican, also made his senior footy debut and acquitted himself in a really pleasing way with the support of teammates around him in our back 6. We added Darcy Griffin to our player leadership group for the first time this season and his contribution to get us across the line was huge while Seb Greene also played an important role and Brandon Ryan rose above all others to kick 3 goals in the tense come from behind 1 point victory.

An undefeated East Keilor presented a really different challenge to what we have previously faced, with experienced players on every line that we hadn’t seen play at Premier Division level before, having come up from Division One with real momentum into season 2022. Our start to the game was particularly pleasing and there was an opportunity lost not to be further in front at 3/4 time. With the wind, experience and momentum EK charged home and headed us by half way through the 4th quarter. Despite this, and only 3 of our 7 man player leadership group on the field we were able to hit the front twice more before ultimately falling 3 points short when EK scored after the siren. This showed great resilience and grit from our whole group. The ebb and flow of the game and the end result and reasons for it was to be a lesson learnt and all congratulations go to East Keilor for the win. Harry McLeod showed some really promising signs in a number of roles in his first senior game for the year after working his way back from a pre-season foot injury. Our worst fears were realised when in the days that followed this game Sean Hetherington had confirmed a ruptured ACL amongst other damage to his knee. This follows Charlie Barrett also suffering an ACL in the reserves in Round 2. We throw our arms around Charlie and Sean as they endure a long rehab process and look forward to welcoming them back on field next season.

Jai Brinkotter, in his first year out of U18.5s would debut at home against Pascoe Vale in Round 6, making him the 33rd player to run out in our senior team in just 6 weeks of the season proper. It is one of the great privileges as a coach to announce and congratulate a player and their family when they make their senior footy debut. We always have great games against Pacco and this was no different, eventually prevailing in really challenging and windy conditions by 7 points. Jack Kaygısız continued his brilliant start to the reason completing a really important role for us in defence while Dan Oliver’s line breaking ability was on show for all to see.

The trip to Section Road to play Greenvale in Round 7 was always going to be a stiff challenge and to come away with the win by 21 points was very pleasing. Jacob Bonasera came into the side for just his 3rd game of senior footy and unfortunately sustained an injury that will have him out for some time. Skipper Scott Clarke, Alex Barba and Daniel Tadinac showed they are really starting to gel our back 6 together to impact the game with their defence, contest and offence while Nick Prowse and Brandon Ryan played critical roles in getting us across the line, particularly with Chris Prowse not in the team due to injury and key forward targets Pan Kokkinakis and Matty Hatfield hampered by injuries sustained early in the game.

Last season’s ladder leader Strathmore gave us a good footy lesson at home in Round 8, with their overall intensity and workrate too good for us on the day. It was wonderful to welcome back Jordan Davey after missing a number of weeks with an ankle injury and most pleasing in this 74 point loss was the ability for our first year players including Lachie Melican, Keiran McGadey, Max Griffin & Ollie Sanders to stand up well under pressure. The wonderful thing about our group and the culture we have created is our ability to learn, grow and develop individuals and the whole group of coaches and players very quickly, so these Strathmore lessons will prove extraordinarily valuable in the medium and longer term.

We dusted ourselves off and rolled up the sleeves again at Nipper Jordan Reserve in Round 9 against Essendon Doutta Stars and came away with an 11 point win to take us into the well deserved Queens Birthday long weekend bye. Liam Dwyer, who moved down from NSW in April became our 10th player this year to pull on the Nelson Alexander Marby guernsey for the first time. Life Member Jake Byrush snuck forward and kicked his third goal for the season while Tommy Baravi was really important for us in the midfield and Caleb Harward played his best game for the club with 3 goals and other significant impact with his work rate and pressure.

Players, coaches, sports trainers and volunteers have all been able to enjoy a weekend off and will come back refreshed and ready to attack the 2nd half of the regular season. This year the EDFL Premier Division competition is incredibly close from top to bottom and there are no easy games. Enormous thanks to everyone in our footy program for their efforts so far this season, including senior assistant coaches Nick Bailey, Darren Caddy and Jarrad Carey, development coaches Sam Pupillo, James ‘Sauce’ McArthur and Matty Peterlechner. Our medical and fitness team is now really impressive and my thanks to Kris Miles and Chrissie McCall for their terrific leadership in this area.

What we’re building at our club in our senior men’s footy program wouldn’t be possible without the high calibre leadership of Nick Bailey for our Reserves team, Daniel Lanigan with our Friday night lights Thirds team, and Pat Mollica, Adam Kennedy and their assistants leading our really impressive U18.5 men’s program.

Can’t wait to see all our Marby crew including players, coaches, volunteers, parents, partners, family and supporters this coming Saturday as we host local rival Aberfeldie on Monk Oval at 2:15pm in what should be a ripper game of EDFL Premier Division football!

Go Marby!

Brad Swain

Premier Men’s Head Coach

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