By Hugh Fitzpatrick
In just his first year as senior coach for Gembrook, Brad Coller’s love and passion for this club is evident. At 0-2, Brad had every reason to question his ability to coach and the game plan that he has brought to the club; to say he was nervous would be under playing it.
Gembrook hosted Alexandra at Gembrook Sports Ground in what could be a season defining win, coming in at 0-2 coach Brad Coller backed in his young inexperienced side to get the job done over a more mature Alexandra side.
“This clash was must win for us, being a young, raw side, we needed a win to gain confidence in our game plan and that what we’re doing is working, we have eight players at the age of 18 or under.”
Having conceded 33 goals in the first two matches of the season, Brad put an emphasis on defence during the week at training, especially with the tall forward power that Alexandra hold. Young Gembrook defenders Samuel Martin and Matthew Templeton were in particular impressive in that department over the weekend.
“Sammy Martin was unbelievable the whole game, I knew that if we could shut down their key forwards that that would hold us in good stead, he kept his man goalless and was the reason he was awarded best on ground”.
It is hard to not make mention of the three ex AFL players that Gembrook have playing for them, Tarkyn Lockyer, Michael Firrito and Hamish Mcintosh played a combined 628 games at AFL level. Given the inexperience Gembrook side, Coach Brad Coller said the experience and knowledge they bring to the younger group is so important.
“The experience and advice that those three men bring to our group is unbelievable, it is like having three coaches out on the field. Their ability to buy in to my game plan and then help nurture the younger group, whilst of course playing good footy is massive for the football club”.
Gembrook started the game determined, kicking 11 goals in the first half compared to Alexandra’s three highlighted the grit in which the boys played with and if it weren’t for poor kicking the game would’ve been wrapped up by half time.
“To be honest we could’ve gone into half time 12 goals up, we missed three key chances in late in the second quarter that would’ve put the result to bed”.
18 year old Eastern Ranges boy, Joshua Tilly was another shining light for Gembrook with an outstanding four goal performance down forward.
“Joshy was great all day, he kicked four but if I’m honest he should’ve had seven, he has an experienced head for his age and alongside his elite overhead marking he has a lot of good games for Gembrook ahead of him”
Winning momentum is critical in this competition and Brad believes that the win on the weekend has instilled confidence amongst his group, he encourages all fans to make the trip to Powelltown as Gembrook look to make it two and two after four rounds.