In the Sheds: Shepparton Swans hope to emerge from turmoil with three Yze brothers

By Paul Daffey

Goulburn Valley league club Shepparton Swans (once known as Lemnos) have had a tumultuous year. They lost four dozen players before the season, told senior players they would have to take a pay cut mid-season, sacked their senior coach the next day and recently forfeited a reserves game because they had only half a team. And yet the Swans leaders are remarkably buoyant. President Bruce O’Keefe said this week: “The club will be choofing along beautifully post-season.”

ONE of the Swans’ main sources of confidence is the appointment of Perry Meka as coach for the 2010 and ’11 seasons. Meka, 43, is a renowned full-forward, having dobbed more than 2500 goals for various clubs in the Goulburn Valley area. He’s a controversial figure; in 2007, when he was playing at Kyabram District league club Ardmona, he was suspended for two games (reduced from six on appeal) for slapping a teenage supporter and striking another one after a game at Avenel. But in coaching terms he’s a renowned recruiter. At the moment he’s courting half a dozen players who would pull the Swans towards finals action. Speculation is rife that Adem Yze, who is Meka’s cousin, will join the Swans. Meka said Yze was likely to continue next year at VFL club Box Hill, where he’s an assistant coach. But with two Yze brothers, Damien and Ramadan, in the Swans’ line-up, it must be tempting for Adem to return to his home town to play footy, if not next year then in 2011.

DAMIEN Yze’s four goals for the Swans on Saturday were not enough to save his team from an 80-point mauling at Mansfield. The result left the home team in second place and the Swans ninth. (Rochester is on top and Benalla is last in the 12-club competition.) Mansfield is coached by Collingwood premiership defender Craig Kelly, who’s used his contacts as the head of Elite Sports Properties to sign some big names. The Eagles team on Saturday included Royce Hart’s sons Simon (five goals) and Nathan (four), Tim Demetriou (nephew of Andrew), Nick Gieschen (son of Jeff) and Tim Van Der Klooster (ex-North Melbourne). Former Geelong forward David Mensch, 37, is a former Mansfield player who’s returned to the Eagles this year. Perry Meka, a registered AFL player manager, does some work for Kelly at ESP. If Kelly’s recruiting efforts for Mansfield are a guide, expect to see some marquis recruits with Shepparton Swans in 2010, assuming the club can afford them.

GEELONG league club Colac had the distinction of fielding three Buchanan brothers during its 141-point demolition of St Albans on Saturday. Callum, 18, made his senior debut alongside Rhani and Micah. “They all played very well,” said Colac co-coach Darren Forssman, the former Geelong half-forward. The match marked the first time that three of the six Buchanan brothers have played together for their hometown club.  Of the others, Amon is the Sydney midfielder; Liam, a former star footballer with Colac and former Victorian batsman, is the Geelong vice-captain in the Premier Cricket competition; and Meyrick is a cricket prodigy at Geelong Grammar. Rhani, the oldest brother, played in a Colac premiership way back in 1993. After Saturday’s match, Forssman was among a group of Colac supporters who tried to work out the last time that three brothers had represented the club. Damian, Rob and Greg McCarthy played for the Tigers in the late 1980s.

ONE of the most famous brotherly efforts belongs to Riverina club Ganmain, which in 1957 fielded nine Carrolls in its senior team in the South-West league grand final. Five were from one family and four were their cousins from another family. The youngest of the nine was 17-year-old Tom Carroll, who later achieved fame as Carlton’s full-forward. With such togetherness, it’s no surprise that Ganmain won that day. On Sunday Ganmain’s modern version, Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, had two Carrolls, Travis and Mitchell, in the team that comfortably defeated Riverina league rival Turvey Park. These two are cousins. The senior team also had two from the Hamblin family (Kirk and Scott), Walsh family (Damian and Luke) and Kelly family (Marc and Matthew) but none of those are brothers either. In each instance, they’re cousins.

ON ANY given Saturday in 1986 Barooga fielded up to 10 members of the Brooks family in its senior team, with five brothers from one family and five from another. Barooga won the Picola league flags in 1986 and ’87 with teams containing at least half a dozen members of the Brooks families. Martin Brooks, the current Barooga captain, is a member of yet another strand of the family. Martin was out injured on Saturday but that failed to stop Barooga scoring its biggest win of the season, an 11-point victory over top-of-the-table Tocumwal. Barooga’s leading goalscorers were Brent Chapman (six) and his brother Matt (four). Another brother, Luke, played at full-back for Tocumwal. The trio had breakfast together in Shepparton but forgot all about niceties over bacon and eggs when they took the field that afternoon. Luke spent the match giving Brent hell. So much so that their mother, Mrs Chapman, was prompted to move to the area behind the goalsquare and yell at them to “cut it out”.

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