Border Mail Round 12 – Preview
WILL Holmes hadn’t really thought too much about playing for Holbrook until he filled in for a few matches during last month’s university holidays.
He then realised how much he loved playing for his home club.
While the 19-year-old was happy playing for Latrobe in the VAFA, there was no going back after a stint with the Brookers.
“Originally I was just coming back for just a few games, but I loved it and decided to play out the year at Holbrook,” Holmes, 19, said.
“It’s good to be back playing with Lachie (young brother) and a lot of the boys I played junior footy with.
“Five or six of us played together in the juniors.
“I like the country club environment.”
Holmes played two seasons with Lachie in the under-14s as well as being teammates with Brookers Corey McCarthy, Coby Ross, AJ Bender and Lewis Bowen.
Coach Matt Sharp said Will and Lachie had been huge for the club.
“They are just go-go-go,” Sharp said. “Will was home for the holidays and he just fell into our lap from there.
“He’s been fantastic.
“Lachie’s still a junior but he’s had a really good year and sometimes you forget he’s still only young.
“He nearly won the game for us against Lockhart.”
Will has also played for The Scots School Albury and Ovens and Murray heavyweight Albury where he came close to breaking into the Tigers’ powerful senior side on several occasions.
Will and Lachie’s father, Reon, was brought up playing rugby before switching to Australian football when he moved to the region.
Despite having a limited background in the sport, he played senior football for the Brookers and, like his sons, wasn’t afraid of winning the hard ball.
The NSW under-15 representative has the option of travelling back from Melbourne to Holbrook with teammate Brendan Dess when his university resumes.
Will hopes that extends into September.
The Brookers have fought their way into the top-six after a shaky start to the season and face a gruelling month ahead with clashes against Henty, Jindera, Brock-Burrum, Culcairn and Osborne.
“We are going well,” Will said.
“We’ve won our last four so we’re a good chance.
“We have a pretty hard run ahead starting with Henty but our form is good at the moment so we’ll see how things go.”
Holbrook has had a string of brothers in its senior side in the past two years including Brendan and Andrew Dess, Brad and Luke Carman and Lachie and Duncan Trethowan.
Howlong onballer Ben Baker will become one of the youngest players to notch up 100 matches when brings up the milestone as a 21-year-old on Saturday.
Baker has formed one of the premier midfields in the league with Steve Jolliffe, Matt McDonald and Peter Hancock over the past 18 months and says the trio have had a big influence on his football.
“I’ve learnt a lot from them,” Baker said.
“It’s pretty much been us four in the middle.
“‘Macca’ and ‘Joff’ have been good in regards to working on my two-way running and defensive aspects of the game and ‘Cookie’ has been great being the best ruckman and putting the ball down your throat most weeks.”
Baker, who started the same season as club captain Blake Williams, believes the Spiders can play finals with the club having a good draw.
RUTHERGLEN recruit Nick Brockley has signed with Billabong Crows.
In a surprise move, Brockley lodged a clearance to join the finals bound Crows before the clearance deadline expired on Sunday.
The Crows will be Brockley’s fourth club in just over three-and-a-half seasons.
Brockley kicked 64 goals for Brock-Burrum in 2016, 45 for home club Wahgunyah in 2017 and 33 from 10 matches for the Saints last year.
He joined Rutherglen on the eve of this season and has struggled for form with 11 goals from eight matches.
Crows coach Al Austin said Brockley would bolster their attack and help ease the workload on key forward Nathan Cook.
“It’s all happened fairly quickly but all indications are that Rutherglen are happy to let him go,” Austin said.
“He is the type of player we need if we are going to challenge the other finals contenders.
“We have got Cookie (Nathan) at centre half-forward but we can’t expect him to do it all and need another strong marking target.
“Obviously when Nick is up and firing he’s hard to stop and is a more than handy goalkicker.”
Austin said Brockley has close ties to the Crows after playing for Oaklands as a junior and attending primary school in the town.
“He went to school with a fair few of our players including Mark Beale, Tim Austin, Hayden Dalitz and Angus Bourchier,” he said.
Brockley is yet to train with his new club and if cleared is not expected to play until after next week’s general bye.
“Nick is injured at the moment and is a few weeks off playing,” he said.
“Hopefully he is right to go after the bye.”
The Crows have proven to be the biggest surprise packets of the season to sit fourth with a 7-4 record.
They can further consolidate their lofty position with upcoming matches against CDHBU, Lockhart, Murray Magpies and Howlong.
The Crows have never previously played finals in the Hume league.
Saturday, July 6
Henty v Holbrook
Howlong v Rand-Walbundrie-Walla
Jindera v Brock-Burrum
Billabong Crows v CDHBU
Murray Magpies v Lockhart
(Former Brock-Burrum coach)
(The Border Mail)
(Holbrook life member)
The Billabong Crows couldn’t be accused of not having a crack before the clearance deadline.
While they picked up classy forward Nick Brockley from Rutherglen, the most improved club in the competition also sounded out Mansfield ace Jamie Sheehan.
Sheehan has been a star in the Goulburn Valley and Ovens and Murray leagues.
Henty star Daniel Cox could be sidelined for up to five weeks with his hamstring.
Widely regarded as the best player in the league, Cox went down in the last quarter of last weekend’s loss to Howlong.
The Swampies have a tough run ahead but the general bye is a bonus.
Ten wins should be enough to get sides into this year’s finals series.
That means Rand-Walbundrie-Walla and Howlong need to salute in five of their last seven matches and Lockhart must find another four victories.
Holbrook and Henty are sitting on six wins as well but have much tougher runs to the finals.
It’s hard to see Holbrook and Henty both making the top six.
The Billabong Crows should be safe.