The Colts started training back in March at Oakdene……. with a handful of players!
The highlight at this early point was discovering that Chris and Jaki Cornell, Character Building, were sponsoring the Colts (football jumpers). The ‘Character Building’ support became a huge part of the Colts journey! The season was to be ‘character building’ for everyone involved! ………..little did we know!
Our leaders were voted in by the playing group and we supported their choices.
Dom Booth and Max Gumley: Captains
Noah Young and Sam Hazelman: Vice Captains.
We endorsed the idea of co-leaders as we were aware a couple of the boys could potentially play some games in the seniors.
Dom and Max actively initiated and drove the Colts Face book page and used the platform to inform, encourage and highlight. The Coach’s Comment was also a regular feature of the page. These boys did a great job keeping everyone informed and updated throughout the season..
The first practice match was cancelled so we started our season in April and lost four grading games on the trot!!!!
From the beginning of this journey Craig Polwarth (Louis) Joe Tigani (Pat) Mick (Flynn’s Grand dad) were front and centre with encouragement and support assisting with game day tasks.
Mark Willet assisted on a number of occasions with statistics and encouragement. Chon Witherden was brilliant with the camera….grabbing great shots of the games and highlighting the efforts of the team!.
Simon, Billie and Ned Ballard came to all our games and acted as water carriers and team support. Ned attended our training sessions and assisted with the equipment. Taj Dom joined us late in the season and was a welcome addition to team Colts as water carrier!
Sam Hine and Tony McAffrey were vital in managing our many injuries and providing follow up support for the boys……..simply amazing!
We welcomed comment from Nic Sutton, Damien Clarke, Cam Dom and Daniel Vella throughout the season……………. all providing us with encouragement, assistance and support when needed.
We were beginning to build a strong unit around the Colts!
Our numbers were tight……sometimes if we were lucky if we had 18 players, but most weeks we had 16.
Training sessions were poorly attended but we pushed on. We were presented with some off field behavioural challenges early in the season arising from games which required follow up discussions at training. Active listening was promoted and expected but not always actioned!
These opportunities/conversations were avenues for educating and assisting the players on ways to manage their responses in the game situation and we saw this as an important component of what we were doing in our roles as the coach and team manager.
We believed if the team got their thinking right off the field eventually it would translate to success on the field! We decided we needed to work on promoting unity within the team and connectedness and action some training and game plan changes.
After round 4 we hadn’t won a game and we were sitting on the bottom of the ladder. We had 3 or 4 players join us for one game and then disappear! We also had 2 season-ending knee injuries which decimated the team numbers further! Lucas Cornes and Zac Bongiorno were significant losses to the Colts.
Round 5 at Drysdale saw the Colts come home in the final quarter with a 7 goal to 0 score line……..finally a win and the boys were excited!
Round 6 saw us win at home against St Alban’s by 17 points.
We played Geelong Amateurs in round 7 and they kicked 6 goals in the second quarter to our 1 goal and in the end this was just too much of a lead……they got home by 22 points.
We started to see some spirit amongst our boys but we still didn’t have strong numbers!
We started with 16 players in Round 8 and Louis Polwarth, our brilliant, consistent on-baller, got knocked out and Max Witherden, another strong and skilled player for us, came off the ground injured!
We were down to 14 players! We were 3 points down in the last quarter and Witherden came back on the ground and kicked the match winning gaol…….it was the Heads by 3 points!!
Again momentum was building and team spirit was alive and kicking!
We decided to offer assistance to the Auskick program and after liaising with the Auskick co-ordinator it was decided some of the Colts Players would attend a Friday Auskick session and work with the Auskickers! This activity proved to be a huge success and it was hard to see who enjoyed the session more…..the Auskickers or the Colts players!! Jesse, Dom, Noah and Flynn gave up their time voluntarily and made strong connections with the younger children. Great effort!
In round 9 we played Ocean Grove with 17 players and we played solid footy and stayed close all day. We lost the game by 18 points but the playing group certainly lifted and managed themselves positively with no available rotations.
At this point in the season we were not looking closely at the ladder as our main focus had become looking after our boys and encouraging them to strive for personal improvement in their game each week. Again we had regular conversations with the team about managing their responses on the ground and conversations about supporting each other on the ground……….. keeping the dialogue positive was essential!
Round 10 saw us defeat St Mary’s 2 by 45 points at home and 8 different players kicked goals………team spirit was on the rise and visual!
We defeated St Joseph’s 2 at Portarlington by 53 points in round 11……….11 players kicked goals…….sharing the love!
In round 12 we had 17 players against Drysdale and we were lucky enough to have Noah McGregor Dawson from the under 17s, join us. We had no rotations that day and we just ran out of steam in the last quarter. We went down by 22 points. Emotions ran high on this day and the boys needed to take stock and reflect on their responses.
We played strong, consistent, team branded football against Queenscliff in round 13 and 8 players kicked goals in a 53 point win……..a great day at the office!
Our runner, Nic Sutton had to have his operation and Craig Polwarth came on board as the team runner.
Round 14 saw the boys overpower Lara and win by 18 points.
Team spirit was high, the boys were getting to training sessions and the dialogue on the ground between the boys had become positive and supportive. We were a happy and committed unit!
We were on a roll when we met Ocean Grove at home……… undefeated top team didn’t expect to meet a different Barwon Heads team to what they experienced at our last outing! We took the game on and won by 10 points…….. inspirational day!
Our last game of the season was against Geelong Amateurs. This was the first occasion in the season where we had 5 players on the bench……….. whole new experience for the team. Most weeks we had no bench and on occasion we may have enjoyed the luxury of one player on the bench!!! This game was close all day and we took control in the last quarter, winning by 9 points. Every player stood up and played their role for the team!
We finished the home and away season on a high given where we started back in March! The whole team deserved to feel excited and proud! We were pumped!
We were on our way to the finals!!!
Joe Tigani agreed to be our timekeeper throughout the finals series and Craig continued in his role as runner. Simon Ballard became involved managing the rotations. Joe, Simon and Craig contributed strongly to the success of the team and we were extremely grateful for their assistance!!
Our first encounter in the finals was the Elimination game against St Mary’s 2. We won by 45 points……..Noah Young kicked 8 goals in a match winning performance. Brilliant!
In the first semi finalwe played Lara and we had a most spectacular day to win by 90 points. Ten players kicked goals and the boys again all played their role magnificently.
The Preliminary finalagainst Geelong Amateurs was never going to be a walk in the park! The boys trained strongly leading up to the game and we believed we were prepared for whatever Geelong Amateurs fired at us!
It was wet and windy morning but team spirit was high and every player was ready to go! We had the luxury of 3 trainers preparing the players before the game and this support was invaluable!
The game proved to be tight and we really needed to lift! We added to our score in every quarter and restricted Geelong Amateurs scoring opportunities! The final score was 73 to 46! …………Great team effort!
…………………..And so the story rolls on for another week! ………..Grand final here we come!!!!!
COLTS PLAYER PROFILES season 2019
- Charlie McEvoy
Charlie was a fast attacking wingman who was one of the team’s most vocal players. Charlie liked to run and carry the ball and as the season progressed he became more confident in his ability to do this successfully! Throughout the season he worked on actively listening to suggestions about his role in the team.
- Koban Treeweek
Koban presented as a reliable backman, strong in the air, consistent every week, and beat every forward he played against in season 2019. Koban showed strong leadership qualities and often used his voice on the ground to back the players and provide support! Koban’s calm and measured approach to his football set a high standard for the team.
- Sam Hazelman
Sam was a strong backman with an accurate left foot……he had a strong presence on the field. Sam worked on his skills as the season progressed and he developed a positive leadership dialogue on the ground.
- Dom Booth
Dom wasa Co captain and a spiritual team leader who dominated centre clearances in most games he played………he was very damaging to opposition sides and made it difficult for opposing teams to match up on him. Dom was part of the ‘engine room’ of the Colts team……….. strong and persistent!
- Oscar Irwin
Part of the strong back six, Oscar was a running link player who provided consistency in the back line and worked effectively with his team mates. Oscar always worked hard on the ground and provided effective team feedback. All season he juggled his training commitments with his coaching role of the under 15s…….. huge effort Oscar!
- Will Owen
Will was a damaging wingman / half forward who played some strong football in season 2019………versatile, quick and skilled. Will always presented as a committed team person who gave his best effort in every game while supporting his team mates.
- Fergus Willet
Key position player…centre half forward and centre half back who on occasion floated into the ruck…..strong mark, strong kick. The team missed Fergus when he went overseas and when he returned he presented with renewed energy and vigour. His decision to opt out of another overseas trip which would have seen him miss the finals was testament to his belief in the team and what the team was capable of!
Louis presented as a stand out midfielder who was a consistent contributor every week……….fast running player who had a damaging left foot kick………gave 100% effort every week! Louis quietly went about his business and always showed determination, resilience and self belief every time he ran onto the ground…….an absolute asset to any team!
Max was Co captain in season 2019. He developed his leadership skills as the season progressed and he provided support for his teammates. Max played in the number 1 ruck position for the season and he worked collaboratively with the midfield players. He worked on his kicking style and over head marking at training sessions, improving these skills throughout the season.
- Jesse Raniolo Mad
Jesse played every game and gave 100% effort each week……he took mark of the year mid season and kicked goal of the year (from the boundary) against Lara in the first semi final! Jesse was one of the first players to attend training at Oakdene and he showed commitment and passion from day 1.
- Noah Young
Noah was a Vice Captain……he played part of the season with the seniors before rejoining the Colts. He presented as a strong and committed player who consistently found the goalposts……… he kicked 5 goals in the game against Drysdale and 8 goals in the game against St Mary’s 2. Noah was our quiet achiever who blended effortlessly into the team, going about his business with no fuss!
- Charlie Hurst
He found space all over the ground and was a talented player who consistently demonstrated a strong skill set on both sides of his body………he presented as a composed and reliable player in every game. We welcomed Charlie’s return from school football commitments and he blended effortlessly into the Colts squad.
- Macauley Stephens
A skilled and creative wingman who won the ball in extremely tight contests………an accurate and reliable right foot kick who knew where the ball was and what he had to do to win the ball. Macca showed no fear when he played and his big heart and passion for the game were obvious in every match he played.
- Flynn Pianta Cook
Flynn was a new Colt in 2019 who played mainly forward or in the mid field………..highly creative in moving the ball cleanly, hitting targets with precision……..an absolute ball magnet. We were lucky to have Flynn join the Colts in season 2019! He was another consistent contributor who never put a foot wrong and always did the hard work that needed to be done……..great effort Flynn!
- Patrick Richards
A tough back pocket player who gave nothing to the opposition forwards……….quick, strong over head and a great kick. We missed Pat when he went overseas but we were thrilled when he returned to the team and provided some extra strength and run around the ground. Pat was always a positive team person!
- Luke Potiriadis
Kindly known as the “racehorse” due to his explosive speed, Luke played the role of a creative forward /onballer for the main part of the season………….he was a regular goal kicker who was seen as another ‘spiritual leader’ of the team. Luke was always upbeat and positive in his approach.
- Devlin Wootten
He played in defence all season and was an effective team orientated player who made it very difficult for opposition forwards. Dev took strong marks overhead and defended with passion. He worked on his skill set throughout the season and applied his strategies to his game play.
- Joseph Harrison
Joey was a bottom age player who played consistent football in season 2019. Joey enjoyed the banter that comes with footy and managed to focus on his game and his application to the game consistently as the season wore on. He worked on his kicking style and improved his hand/ foot coordination.
- Max McGregor
Max played in a range of positions throughout the season, including forward and back. Max could always be relied on to win the contest and create opportunities for other players around him! He showed skill around the goals and always bought a positive vibe to the team. Max was a committed and passionate contributor to the team culture.
- Zedekai Copland
Kai was a player with extensive senior experience who we welcomed into the Colts team halfway through the season. He presented as a dynamic and committed contributor with strong skills and footy smarts! Kai bought composure and leadership to the playing group. His insightful comment and suggestions were invaluable.
- Max Witherden
Max juggled his contribution to the Colts with his coaching commitments at school and it was a terrific effort on his part. He too bought composure and calmness to the team. Max worked tirelessly in the games he played providing marking options in the forward line. He consistently supported his teammates with positive dialogue. Max was a true team person!
- Tyler Wright
Tyler played in the ruck and in the back line throughout the season and was a consistent contributor each week. He became a handy player because he could be rotated around the ground and provide support in the ruck. Tyler worked on his skill set at training and improved his ‘gather and give’ strategy.
- Pat Tigani
Pat joined the Colts early in the season and it was a bonus to have him and Flynn ‘come on board’ in season 2019 as we had such low numbers. Pat came with a willingness to improve his skills and be a supportive team person. He played forward and back and always took up the challenge of what needed to be done for the team. Pat provided opportunities for his team mates and was a composed and resilient contributor in every game.
Belinda and Ray Leetham