Who should promote your league?

JONTY: Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Let’s Talk Sport. A couple of top-of-the-table clashes this week, I had Cheltenham belt Dingley and Dave, I believe Inverloch-Kongwak beat Tooradin. What was your best play of that match? I understand it was highly anticipated.

DAVE: I went into this game not knowing what to expect but came out of it knowing Inverloch-Kongwak are a very short-priced favourite to win this year’s flag. My two best bits of action include the last goal before quarter time. Inverloch looked more organised than Tooradin all day and it was like a training drill. There was a throw in about 45 metres out, and the ball ended up with Andy Soumilas, a star of the competition. He went in, got the footy, quick hands out to another midfielder, Oscar Toussaint, who had the coach Tom Hams running past from 40 and it was just perfect. To open the second quarter, Tooradin couldn’t get near the footy and it was going to take something special to kick a goal. Brad Butler, who’s an excitement machine, is quick, can jump and do everything, got Tooradin back in the game with a brilliant individual effort. Overall, I enjoyed Inverloch’s style of play and dominance from Tate Short and Hams off half back.

JONTY: Marcus, you saw a bloodbath, what can you draw on from, I assume, a Wandin perspective against Gembrook?

MARCUS: There was no shortage of highlights, but the one I’ll pick out happened right in front of me. Drew Benson from Wandin won a tap down to Cody Hirst from a boundary throw in. He’s running towards the boundary line and without ever controlling the ball, he throws his right boot at it and it sails over the goal umpire’s hat. It reminded me of the iconic Nick Davis goal, because he didn’t properly grab it, it was more a couple of guiding touches onto his foot – although the context was slightly different! This put Wandin 166 points ahead, rather than giving his side the lead in a critical final.

DAVE: There we go…no Geelong supporters will be reading LTS beyond this point this week!

MARCUS: Sorry Brad Battin.

JONTY: Dingley was smashed, really. It was probably over before the first bounce with Nathan Freeman and Cam Dickie out so there isn’t a lot to draw on from that game. My best action was probably speaking to Cranbourne champion Paddy Garrett about what footy was like 30 years ago and how much it meant to him. He missed the previous premiership with a punctured lung and he was adamant he wouldn’t miss this one, so hearing how determined he was to play would be my highlight. The Cranbourne 30-year-reunion was fantastic to be at.

DAVE: One other highlight of the weekend was driving into Tooradin Recreation Reserve on Saturday. There was a free car park as I drove in, but it was a bit boggy and I got my car stuck. The car next to me winds down their window and says ‘do you need some help, mate?’ It’s the parents of Oscar and Marcus Toussaint, from Inverloch-Kongwak, and they helped me get out, so a special shout out to them. I found some cardboard in a rubbish bin at the back of the netball courts and got out just before it hosed down with rain. My timing, and that of the Toussaint family…was impeccable.


JONTY: There has been a lot of conjecture about whether the AFL has got it right with the bye rounds, I personally don’t like it, it’s stifled the momentum of the AFL season I think.

MARCUS: Do you have a solution?

JONTY: Well, Channel Seven commentator Jason Bennett suggested we do a community footy weekend where we have a week off AFL, everyone has the bye, and the league promote the local leagues for that weekend. For example, each local league could have Friday night and Saturday night games. It got me thinking, if we did that in our leagues, there would be public relations campaigning and promotion to be done. So I’ll ask you questions about your leagues, and I’ll keep it local with my Southern League clubs, about what would build the brand most effectively and increase crowd attendance of that league.

Firstly, if you’re wanting a player to be the king of the kids and do clinics with kids, who would you be turning to?

MARCUS: For the Auskick session, I’m going to go Jake Barclay, primarily because he’s had such a good season leading a bunch of youngsters at Pakenham – Tahj De La Rue and Josh Trembath in particular.

DAVE: Only problem with Jake Barclay doing the Auskick is you might not be able to tell who the coach is and who the kids are.

MARCUS: That’s mean. That’s really mean Dave.

DAVE: Put it in. He’ll have a crack at me but I’ll buy him a beer to settle it. I was at Casey Fields one day and Damien Whitnell from Cranbourne was coaching under 8s…and you seriously couldn’t tell if there was a coach there. Good things come in small packages I say.

JONTY: Is he old enough?

DAVE: Yep…he’s a champion player and hopefully enjoys a joke!

MARCUS: I’d also pick Paddy Bruzzese from Wandin because if I want my kids to learn to kick, I want them kicking like him.

JONTY: Philosophically answered. David?

DAVE: Auskick, I would have Cam Pedersen and Brent Macaffer, sticking out as ex-AFL stars but I’d also have Brent Hughes, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve met in local footy, from Nar Nar Goon. For these young kids to learn where to stand and that sort of thing, Andy Soumilas. The way he controls the game and tells players where to stand…I would have him in there teaching kids the right way to play football.

JONTY: I’d have Lachie Lamble from Dingley. He’s very popular and he has his own YouTube channel and he does game day ’vlogs’ which are very popular with people that are in that sort of 6-20 age group. We know how big that space is becoming and he’s made himself an identity there in the last six-to-nine months. He has personality and spunk, too, so he fits the bill. If you want someone else who would teach kids the right way, Jarryd Barker, he’s Casey listed and there’s a lot to like watching him on-field. Work ethic and resilience would resonate well.

Next up, a highlights package. If you had to play a two minute highlights package from your league, but all those highlights had to be from the same player, whose highlights are you showing, Marcus?

MARCUS: The obvious one for me is Will Howe. Most highlights are freak marks and big goals and he can do it from anywhere with ease. The second one would be Bailey Stiles from Pakenham. Quick, outside player who can make things happen.

DAVE: Brad Butler from Tooradin. Can take a high mark, kick a freak goal. Down at Warragul earlier in the year he kicked two which would be Goal of the Year contenders…and apparently I’ve missed a few more as well. I would show his highlights, and a few from Tate Short from Inverloch as well.

JONTY: Zak Roscoe from Cranbourne. Particularly from 2023 which is already stuffed chock-full of absolute entertainment. He racks up the possessions, bursts away from stoppage and regularly would get five or six clearances and a couple of goals.

If you had to have a couple of players attend a photo-shoot, who are you picking?

DAVE: I’ve never been good at spotting whether a man is good looking or not.

JONTY: There’s a bit more to the question, though!

DAVE: Yeah. I’m just getting it out there that the names I’m about to say, it’s not because I think they’re beautiful, there’s meaning behind my selections. Nathan Gardiner from Cora Lynn, Paul Fermanis from Korumburra Bena and Piva Wright from Tooradin. These blokes are big, intimidating, strong units and that’s how I want the league promoted. But, because they’re getting on, I’d also have Cooper Shipp from Tooradin-Dalmore, a centre-half-back to send the message of vibrancy.

MARCUS: I’ve gone the opposite way to Dave. I’ve gone ex-AFL players Michael Firrito, Matt Scharenberg and Aaron Mullet, just because I think if you’re trying to promote the league and you get local guys that locals know well but others don’t, you might struggle to attract eyeballs. These ex-AFL players would catch the eye. I would also send Jordy Stewart from Pakenham and Jake Richardson from Narre Warren as representatives from two of the region’s biggest clubs.

JONTY: I would be sending Marc Holt because so many people in the local footy scene know him. I want him front and centre, but I take your point, Marcus. Jimmy Pattinson would attract eyeballs, people are fascinated to see an ex-test cricketer play footy so the appeal is there for him. Makaio Heywood from Hampton Park as well, he has the mullet out the back and backs it up with his skill on the footy field. An emerging talent. He’s the future of the competition if he doesn’t go elsewhere.

If you’re having a pre-event function with all the leagues in Victoria and trying to positively mould the image of your league, who are you sending and why, Dave?

DAVE: I’ve spoke to Tom Hams on the phone and I’ve watched him play footy before but I have never paid much attention to his quarter time address and that sort of thing. But I did on the weekend and he was impressive. Even after the game, his team had just beaten the reigning premiers and the first thing he said was ‘let’s make sure we get in there and have a beer and be humble in victory’. Inverloch set the standard in that regard, they have quality people at the club, so I think he would represent the league very well.

MARCUS: I’ll go Jake Richardson again. He has credibility with being the reigning league medallist, he plays for the reigning premiers and now he’s captain of that side so he has all the credentials you would want.

JONTY: I’ll go Toby Arms from Springvale Districts. He’s an emerging talent. He’s put himself on the scene in the last few weeks. When I went down to write a story on another Dee, he stood out as being respectful and humble within the playing group.

Last topic, if you want someone to speak to the media in an ambassadorial sense about the league, who are you asking?

MARCUS: Nick Adam, the Wandin coach, he’s been there for seven or eight years. He knows the league, including the lower divisions inside and out and he’s coaching a perennial finalist.

DAVE: I’m going straight to the top, Brett Tessari, the Ops Manager of West Gippsland. I’ve never seen a bloke come into a league in that position and be so well respected in a six-month period. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s already doing the job you’ve asked. If I had to pick a player to do it, Tate Short might be the best player in West Gippsland football at the moment so I would be putting him out there.

JONTY: On and off the field, Tanner Stanton’s direction and understanding and humility shines through and he has the footy background with his dad and uncles all being involved for a long time. He’s also played VFL. So Stanton from Hampton Park which sums up this edition. Something a bit different, hope you enjoyed.