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Magpies hungry for footy

Saturday, 27th February, 2021

James Moran and Riley Elvery in a ruck contest. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson James Moran and Riley Elvery in a ruck contest. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

The Central Football Club have taken to the field early for an intra-club game as part of their preseason training. 

The club split into two teams, each coached by Kieran Ralph and Jarred Paull as senior coach Greg Wellington watched on.

From the sidelines it appeared team Paull took the lead but there were promising signs from the collective group. 

Central showed signs of improved fitness plus a hunger and intensity for the footy which could be fuelled by the fresh perspective of a new coach, the promise of a 2021 football season, and an intense preseason. 

From my perspective it seems perhaps a year off has allowed Central the time and space necessary to get back to their best, only time will tell. 

Wellington said the purpose of the intra-club game was mostly for his benefit to see how his players perform on the field, with the new coach yet to see them all in action properly. 

“The whole aim of it was basically for me really they’ve had a hard preseason,” he said.

“They’ve run a fair few kilometres but I haven’t actually seen them play before so I’ve got to know the boys but I wanted to see what they are like in an actual game.

“They haven’t disappointed, they’ve done really well. 

“We’ve had a couple of highlights, I haven’t put them to a game plan today, I just wanted to see them play football and the guys that have really stood out are Nick Devoy who is only a young fella and another young bloke in Will Campbell.”

Wellington was also impressed by the likes of Jordan Gilby, Bill Shiplay, Lachy Jenkins, Glenn Cole and Luke Barnes who he said were all really impressive. 

“It’s giving me a headache actually, I sort of had my team, not locked in, but very close to finished for A Grade and all of a sudden five or six boys popped their head up and now I’ve got to rethink - so it’s a good headache to have I guess.”

Central have picked up a few new players in the off season.

“Not too many but there’s a couple of rugby league boys that have just transferred over so no football background but I think what we’ve got is a couple guys who came in late 2019 so they are relatively new to the league so people may not know them,” he said. 

“The guys that were around 17 in 2019 have taken two years and fuelled up and filled out, they’re 19 year old kids and they’re looking pretty handing out there.”

The club’s preseason focus has been mainly on their fitness and the explosive aspect in particular.

“The guys have showed up, they’ve trained hard and they’ve worked on their fitness and I think it’s showing out there. 

“We wanted to work on their explosive fitness, wanted to make sure they get to as many contests at possible to give us a better chance.

“We may not have the runs on the board when it comes to wins in the last couple of years here but if we learn to get to every contest and be competitive at every contest then hopefully that’ll start changing and move into our favour.”

Wellington said his main goal heading into the season is to make sure that everyone who puts on a Central jumper knows that they belong on the field with the other teams and ensure the local football community knows it too.

“The guys are all looking good, they’re looking forward to the future, they’re excited there’s a real buzz around the club so my main goal is come round one, we’ll maybe turn a few heads. 

“We’re on the right track and the important thing right now is to make the guys believe that they belong out there with the other three teams.

“We’ve got to take that first step and I think we’ve taken a couple of steps over preseason and only time will tell come game day, who’s available who’s not and see how we go.”

He hopes that come game day their effort will be reflected and they’ll be more competitive. 

Wellington wished to thank the Central club committee, the Memorial Oval committee and the umpires for helping make their preseason game happen successfully. 

Central’s next preseason game will see them travel to Dareton to take on Gol Gol on March 20, the week before the Lightning Cup. 

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