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Captain's Diary Vol 1: Julian Turner

17-Apr-2021

'Footy's back', as they say. The last year has been filled with reminders of our ability to adapt to changing situations at work and in our personal lives, and how quickly something at first so foreign can become so normal. The little changes to training and gameday that were tedious are already routine (another big thanks to the board and coaches for helping tirelessly with this transition), but still remind me how lucky I am that my COVID experience can be described as 'tedious'. The same word can be used to describe my season so far, spent mostly in rehab... but spare a thought for Lizzy, Cath, Gemma and Will, who all suffered season-ending injuries in pre-season. Hopefully they adapt to rehab better than me!

Now to Saturday's match report - our first BSO triple header of the year, all versus University Blacks. The day started with a thrilling one-point win in the Under 19s, led by their two vice captains; a diving goal square smother by Clancy Morris-Dalton saved the game in the last minute, and Pasquale Curcio was so hot with his four goals, a faint sizzle was heard from the forward pocket as freezing rain turned to steam in his proximity.

Vice captains remained a theme, with an impressive Reserves squad led out by new vice captain Aaron Tatchell in the absence of new skipper Alex Ritchie. Unfortunately, early inaccuracy cost them scoreboard pressure and they were overrun late. I wasn't able to watch much of this game, as I was doing what I often do while injured: running around trying to feel part of it all and acting like I'm part of the coaching staff, but really not providing a lot of actual support... and eating Kerry burgers, which are back (!) with a little bit of Heaven added to the recipe.

Six debutants for the seniors made for a long jumper presentation ceremony, but Jack, Cam, George, Tom, Luka and Nick all deserved to be commended. Across the board, their commitment to training and to learning our game style have been extremely impressive, despite a long wait for the four of them who joined the senior squad for the 2020 season almost 18 months ago. They all acquitted themselves well on the day: Luka on lockdown in defence, George causing havoc in the forward line despite an injury, Cam and Nick with cool heads and clean hands, Tom's immense work-rate on the wing and Jack claiming the Royal Derby voucher as our best player.

To add to this, both thirds teams and the reserves each had a similar number of players pull on the jumper for the first time - a very proud day for the club. Despite these positives, the seniors fell short in what was a disappointing result despite the strength of the opposition. Blacks took more of their opportunities than we did, but it was pleasing to see our young midfield brigade compete strongly all day to provide those opportunities. All of them have worked tremendously hard over pre-season and I'm looking forward to seeing them continue to develop - however, birth certificates will not be an excuse for us this year. Special mention to Ligga, another vice captain, who led in my absence and was outstanding from the moment the ball was bounced. In fact, I'm not sure why I'm writing this and not him?

Overall though, the highlight of my day was seeing two of my all-time favourite teammates return to senior footy. Chris Doherty and Michael Cussen are two guys who truly commit themselves to the contest and are a pleasure to play with - I'm glad I never gave up hope of playing with them again, and am excited to do so when I make it back myself. It was great to see Cuss delight the crowd with a classic pack mark, and Dohers almost had an early contender for goal of the year with a volley out of a pack late that was touched on the line.

Looking forward to taking the Norm Johnstone trophy home from Parkdale on Saturday,

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