By Matt Fotia
Classy Yarra Junction half back flanker Josh Hammen says he is enjoying life with the Eagles, after his side ran out 26 point winners over Yarra Glen in a hotly contested game at the weekend.
The win put the Eagles back on the winners list after they suffered just their second loss for the season against Seville the week before, relinquishing their grip on top spot in the process.
Hammen says whilst the Eagles were disappointed with their performance against the Blues, the loss might’ve been the catalyst they needed for a strong run into finals, as they look to defend their Division Two crown.
“You need those losses throughout the year, because sometimes you can get ahead of yourself when you’re beating teams comfortably,”
“Your structures fall down and everything becomes too easy and you just forget – so this week we wanted to go back to hard football.”
Hammen has been a key cog in the Eagles defence this season, providing a cool head and reliable ball use.
He says the Junction defenders set the tone for the side each week as they look to adapt to each of their opponents.
“When we get in our groups the backs always set the tone, because not every opponent is the same, so you’ve got to adapt to what’s going on,”
“It’s a game by game basis, obviously you work on your zones and what you want to do, but it doesn’t always go your way.”
It definitely wasn’t all the Eagles way on the weekend with Yarra Glen controlling the game for periods of the encounter. Lachlan Telford kicked four goals for the afternoon, three of which came in the second quarter as the RiverPigs forwards began to get on top of Hammen and co.
However Hammen and fellow defender Dylan Brookes were able to think on their feet and adapt the Eagles set up behind the ball to counteract the RiverPigs threat.
“They really did beat us one on one, so we adapted our zone because we were a bit too far up and they were getting out the back,”
“Probably Me or Brookesy (make the call), it’s been me most of the year but now Brookesy is back we work it out between us,”
“We have conversations at quarter time, half time and so on to figure it out and regroup, but you have to have to be able to adapt on the spot or else they’ll kick two, three or four goals,”
“So what’s the point of waiting.”
Hammen has spent all of his previous footballing days at Mooroolbark in the Eastern Football League and took 2018 off to help deal with some ongoing injuries. At times he thought he would never go back to playing, but Eagles coach John Holmes was able to sway him around.
“I was originally from Mooroolbark and Holmesy got me across this year,”
“He spoke to me last year, which I’d taken off due to injury and I wasn’t planning on returning to football, but here we are,”
“It’s been really good, I’ve really enjoyed my football this year,”
“We’ve got a really mixed group who come from wherever so I’m really loving it, it is like a new life in football for me.”