Local footy: Why do I feel like a babysitter?

With the cricket season fast becoming a memory, the weary weekend warriors are preparing to trot out for yet another season on the back blocks just trying to get a kick. Our season up here in Central Queensland doesn’t start until April 16, yet the practice match schedule is starting to come to life.

 

Originally the plan was to go all 2011-2013 NAB-Cup-Week-1-style with a small triangular involving Yeppoon (defending AFL Capricornia premier), Brothers Bulldogs (one of the handful of clubs in the AFL Wide Bay competition) and us (Brothers AFC, the Roos, the sole South Rockhampton based team in the competition). Turned out earlier in the week that the Bulldogs had their own plans; they stayed in Bundaberg to get spanked by Gladstone so I guess the travel sickness syndrome that plagues that small league strikes again. I guess we’ll find out first hand in a couple of weeks when we face the other Bundaberg team (Across the Waves Eagles) on the 19th. So plan B had to be enacted, which was a simple 4 quarter game against the Swans with the A Grade players being introduced for the 2nd half.

 

With the better players in cotton wool for a half, it was left to the kids and old timers to battle through the first 40 minutes. Not sure what possessed me to saddle up once again, especially when I glanced at the team board only to find that the caretaker coach for the day had gone all South Australian on us. Normally when you’re at the bottom of the board in a football sense you’re in prime position to do damage on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for me with the reversal of the board it meant I had to play custodian for the first half. It was worse when I saw the remainder of the back six and recognising their ages. Without me the average age of the backline for the first half would have been closer to what you would find in a High School first XIII rather than a reserve grade football team.

 

The half itself went OK despite conceding a couple thanks to nippier younger forwards running rings around me on the lead. Still managed to get a few kicks, lay the odd tackle and even wander out from my post in the first quarter a couple of times to create the loose man. Still need to work on the kicking out, but hopefully I’ll be used more in the middle come the season proper so I may not have to worry about that.

 

Any thoughts of a comfortable seat for the second half were dashed about two minutes in when one of our forwards (fresh of a full first half of action) went down with his dodgy knee. In an effort to try to keep our better midfielders fresher for our attacking moves, I ended up chasing their better midfield talent only to find that they had more gears than my ageing body ever had. OK, I’ll admit that I’m in endurance mode rather than trying to find a yard of pace given that for some reason I’m doing a 50km run in Canberra the week before the season is meant to start. Maybe I should have just left the chasing to our mids so they could play both ways. I was still paying for it a couple of days later, although the cooler wet conditions in the last couple of days didn’t help.

 

Still the first run of the year is under the belt with at least another game for me to go before season commencement. This year will seem more condensed with the 15 regular season games being squeezed into a 17 week window, keeping in mind we don’t celebrate Queen’s Birthday up here until October. Expect a report every now and again from me if I can get over all the sore spots that come up at my old age (WHICH I’M NOT GIVING AWAY! But I’m still not eligible for masters yet…..)

 

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About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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