Doon eyes thirds for 2015 sea­son

Mansfield Courier - - SPORT - By SCOTT AN­DER­SON

AS the Ovens and King Foot­ball Net­ball League seeks to re­vi­talise its un­der 18 foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion, Bon­nie Doon has put its hat in the ring as the home of a sixth club.

AFL North East Bor­der leagues man­ager Glenn Fin­layson said last week the O&K would run a five-team com­pe­ti­tion in the thirds this sea­son, with hopes of in­creas­ing that num­ber to six teams for 2014, with the new club likely to be based in the Be­nalla re­gion.

Bon­nie Doon se­nior coach Terry Mahoney said the Bombers were al­ready putting struc­tures in place to en­sure they would be ca­pa­ble of field­ing an un­der 18 out­fit in 12 months’ time.

“With the ju­nior play­ers com­ing back from school hol­i­days in the past cou­ple of weeks we’ve had good num­bers in the 13-16 age bracket train­ing at the club,” Mahoney said.

“We’re very keen to give these lo­cal kids a way to get in­volved with the club and be­come long term play­ers, so the aim is to get a side into the thirds com­pe­ti­tion for next year.

“We’re train­ing at Bon­nie Doon ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day from 6.20pm, and any kids in­ter­ested in play­ing foot­ball are in­vited to come down and have a run.”

The Bombers have been big movers over the off sea­son, with Mahoney and his as­sis­tant coach, Daniel Gods­mark, at­tract­ing a whole host of new play­ers to the club.

In fact, Bon­nie Doon tops the league’s list of ap­proved clear­ances so far with 12 con­firmed ad­di­tions – Chris An­der­son, Heath Fi­dock, Danni Hea­zle­wood, Michael Brether­ton, Steven Cro­marty, James Har­brow, Will Hem­ming, Paul Mahoney, Andrew Walker, James Mitchell, Daryl Wal­gers and Terry Mahoney – with quite a few more still to come.

Mahoney said the ex­cite­ment cre­ated by the new ar­rivals had been con­ta­gious.

“Ev­ery­thing has been go­ing re­ally well,” he said.

“The guys we have brought in are all qual­ity people, and they are mix­ing re­ally well with the lo­cal play­ers, who have re­ally taken the bit be­tween their teeth and are look­ing set for a big year.

“We started train­ing on Jan­uary 15, and since the start of Fe­bru­ary we’ve been do­ing two nights a week in Bon­nie Doon and one in Shep­par­ton.

“The Bon­nie Doon ses­sions we’ve had be­tween 16 and 25 ev­ery night, which is a big im­prove­ment on pre­vi­ous years, and the enthusiasm from ev­ery­one at the club has been amaz­ing – ev­ery­one is push­ing re­ally hard to raise the level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

Mahoney a d mit t e d t h a t run­ning two sep­a­rate train­ing groups had its lim­i­ta­tions, but is con­fi­dent the Bombers will iron out any wrin­kles be­fore the sea­son be­gins.

“Daniel Gods­mark has been tak­ing the Shep­par­ton ses­sions, and we’ve been get­ting around a dozen play­ers to those,” he said.

“Three or four of them have been com­ing to the Bon­nie Doon ses­sions as well, in­clud­ing Danni Hea­zle­wood and Heath Fi­dock, but once other com­mit­ments like cricket die down the ma­jor­ity of those guys will get over to Bon­nie Doon at least once a week for train­ing.

“I’ve been at­tend­ing ev­ery ses­sion, so even though the play­ers aren’t all train­ing to­gether, the mes­sage has been con­sis­tent – there aren’t go­ing to be any sur­prises, and we’re go­ing to be em­ploy­ing a pretty ba­sic sort of game plan.”

The Bombers have had one big loss, with for­mer best and fairest and league rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judd Darby set to play in the Essendon and District league this year.

“We would have loved to have kept Judd here,” Mahoney said.

“Josh and Jake Darby are both in our lead­er­ship group as co-vice cap­tain and co-deputy re­spec­tively, and Judd would have been a ter­rific player to have on board.

“But he has been trav­el­ling back from Mel­bourne to play for the past few years now, and he was just tir­ing of all the travel, which is com­pletely un­der­stand­able.”

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