Doon eyes thirds for 2015 season
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.”