Port Melbourne senior coach Gary Ayres gives his thoughts on the club’s upcoming Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL season.
2018 FINISH: 8th (10-9 record)
2018 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Mack Rivett / 2. Tom O’Sullivan / 3. Eli Templeton
2018 TEAM OF THE YEAR SELECTIONS: Lucas Cook, Jordan Lisle, Tom O’Sullivan, Eli Templeton
2018 AFL DRAFTEES: Kieran Strachan (Adelaide – rookie)
OTHER CURRENT AFL DRAFTEES FROM CLUB:
- Selected in 2017: Brody Mihocek* (Collingwood) 16 games
2019 SEASON START: vs Williamstown @ Downer Oval (Point Gellibrand), Saturday April 6 (CLICK HERE for full fixture)
* CLICK HERE for information on purchasing a 2019 membership for Port Melbourne and other VFL clubs.
Jarryd Blair (29yo in 2019, from Collingwood AFL): “Jarryd was being sought after by a lot of clubs but decided to play with us. He also wants to put his toe in the water with a bit of development coaching and he’ll work with our first-year players. He’s a 157-game premiership player at Collingwood and just a terrific person. I’d like to think he’ll play more in the midfield than he did at AFL level and he’s pretty happy with that opportunity.”
Ben Jolley (33yo in 2019, from Williamstown): “It was really satisfying to land Ben, given he and I first crossed paths at Essendon way back in 2006-07 and then I’ve watched him play against us at Williamstown over a long period of time. He’s always been so professional and he was third in a 2km time trial earlier this year, which isn’t bad for a chap going on 33. He’ll be a leader in the midfield with all his experience (269 VFL games).”
Ben Jolley running out for the Borough….we never thought we’d see the day, but we’re happy to be proven wrong! 😅 ❤️💙#BornAndBred📸: Tony Cannatelli.
Tom Goodwin (28yo in 2019, from Coburg): “Tom is certainly a nice get for us with his exuberance, enthusiasm and desire to be part of some team success. He’s a former captain and best-and-fairest winner at Coburg. There’s been an interesting group of players that have rucked for us over the years and Tom will bring something a little bit different to the position than all of them.”
Patrick Veszpremi (30yo in 2019, from Pascoe Vale): “Patty has been out of the VFL system for quite some time (since being delisted from the Western Bulldogs at the end of 2013) and, in his own mind, I think he has a fair bit to prove. He’s an explosive player we’d like to play off half back and potentially on a wing. We’ve lost almost all of our back line from the last two years, so he’s pretty keen to use his experience in defence.”
Matthew Signorello (21yo in 2019, from Adelaide AFL): “Matty didn’t get a go at AFL level (in two seasons) with the Crows, but he’s back home in Victoria and I think when young men get home they feel pretty comfortable. He was a real standout in our match simulations playing in the midfield.”
* CLICK HERE to see key ins and outs at each VFL club for 2019.
POTENTIAL BIG IMPROVERS
Mack Rivett (23yo in 2019, 46 VFL games): “We’d like to think Mack can get better, even though he won the best-and-fairest in a strong team last year. I think we need more scoreboard impact from him this year and for him to be more flexible in the roles he plays at different times, because we do bat pretty deep in our midfield.”
Tom Hobbs (22yo in 2019, 17 VFL games): “I’d like to see Tom improve this year and he’s had a really good pre-season. He’s starting to understand how to play as a big-bodied inside midfielder in the VFL.”
Jake O’Brien (22yo in 2019, seven VFL games): “Jake played in our elimination final last year. He’s an endurance athlete with good skills who plays as an outside midfielder. He has some real talent; he just needs to believe he belongs at VFL level.”
ELIGIBLE 23rd PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jake Gasper (19yo in 2019, from Oakleigh Chargers): “Jake is a medium-sized forward who jointly topped the U18 Boys goalkicking count last year with 42 goals (from 16 games). He has some really smart footy instincts.”
Charlie Beasley (19yo in 2019, from Oakleigh Chargers): “Charlie is a third tall back. He’s pretty defensively-minded but we just need to help him learn how to then attack to become a more rounded player.”
Harvey Chinn (19yo in 2019, from Eastern Ranges): “Harvey is a really hard two-way runner in the midfield who generally uses the ball well with his left foot. He understands the game and has a good build for a young man.”
- Jordan Lisle (29yo in 2019, 124 VFL games)
- Tom O’Sullivan (28yo in 2019, 106 VFL games)
“Jordan and Tom will work extremely well together. First and foremost, they’re really good friends and they understand each other from a footballing point of view. They’ll complement one another; Tom is probably a bit more outspoken and Jordie’s a little bit more reserved. Tom’s maturity has really been terrific over the last couple of years and we don’t know how much more footy Jordie has left in him at VFL level, so while you need to have one eye on the now, you need one eye on the future as well.”
Leadership group members:
- Mack Rivett (see above)
- Anthony Anastasio (26yo in 2019, 95 VFL games)
- Blake Pearson (24yo in 2019, 72 VFL games)
“In the last 18 months we’ve had a lot of experience leave the club. After the 2017 premiership some absolute champs in Toby Pinwill, Chris Cain, Sam Dwyer and Hugh Sandilands moved on, and then Robin Nahas, Lucas Cook, Luke Tynan, Josh Tynan and Damian Mascitti left at the end of 2018. We went hard over this off-season to try and replace that experience and I’d like to think the depth we now have in our midfield will be a strength.
“We’ve catered for the new rules around starting positions at centre bounces, with a focus on our stoppage and clearance areas. I think we’re also going to be quite exciting as a young defence. The boys who are going to replace the likes of Cook, Tynan, Mascitti and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow will all get a really good opportunity.”
ASSISTANT COACHING PANEL
Back line coach: Robin Nahas (retained from 2018, when a playing offensive coach)
Midfield line coach: Shane Valenti (from Old Haileyburians, past Port Melbourne player)
Forward line coach: Sam Dwyer (from Old Collegians, past Port Melbourne player)
Head of development: Trent McMicking (retained from 2018)
Development coach: Jarryd Blair (see above)
Rucks assistant coach: Peter ‘Crackers’ Keenan (retained from 2018)
L-R: Nahas, McMicking, Ayres, Valenti and Dwyer = our 2019 VFL Coaching ‘Dream Team’! ❤️💙 😏#BornAndBred
📸: Jenny Tserkezidis. pic.twitter.com/lZVUYq0Qyj
— Port Melbourne FC (@PortMelbourneFC) March 5, 2019
HEADLINE YOU WANT TO SEE
“If I ever sat down and wrote a book about the club, it’d be titled ‘It could only happen at Port’. From the obstacles we had to overcome in 2017 and winning that year’s Grand Final on the last kick of the day, to games being removed from North Port Oval because of the state of the ground and the extra-time elimination-final loss last year – and to our 2011 premiership cup recently going missing – it could only happen at Port!”
* CLICK HERE for 2019 season previews on other Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL clubs.