By Brooke Varney.
Leading ruckman Tom Goodwin will captain Coburg FC for a second consecutive season, with the 2018 playing leadership group announced at the inaugural Family Day on Sunday.
Goodwin, 26, who was also named in the 2017 Peter Jackson VFL State Team, was voted in by the playing group and will be joined by key forward Peter McEvoy, defender Nathan Blair, and midfielder Nick Mellington, who make up remainder of the four-man leadership group.
Excited by the thought of leading Coburg again this season, Goodwin admits having a year up his sleeve makes him feel a bit more comfortable with the role.
“It was pretty foreign to me towards the start of last season, but coming into my second year now [as captain] I feel I’ve grown as a leader, as well as a player.”
“I’m really looking forward to a huge year, and the leadership group that’s surrounding me is going to take a fair bit of the load and hopefully help me lead the team as best I can,” he said.
Goodwin also reveals he is focusing more on the “team-first mentality”, and will continue to “lead by example to do the best [he can] for the team”.
Coach Leigh ‘Patch’ Adams was impressed with Goodwin’s efforts last year despite the difficult season, and is eager to see how the smaller leadership group will work.
“They’re obviously four of our more experienced players at the footy club, and I’m really happy to have a small leadership group so they can work together and make the decisions,” Adams said.
“Obviously Tom bleeds for the footy club; he just loves the club.”
“Pete’s a fantastic preparer for footy and he’s really professional which is really good for our younger blokes to learn off of him.”
“Blairy (Blair) is very similar to Tom, in the way that he’s very selfless and always puts the team first.”
“Mello (Mellington) has been really good this year with his preparation, and he’s really honest with his feedback too; just from looking at his pre-season, he’s really taken his footy to a new level this year,” Adams continued.
“Hopefully we can get some of the young blokes to come through in the next couple of years, but these four are probably the four standouts.”
McEvoy, 26, was named vice-captain last year, finished 2017 as Coburg’s leading goal-kicker, and is honoured and excited to have been elected by his peers again.
He hopes to bring a bigger presence on-field this season, particularly through communicating with the younger players who may not be yet “accustomed to the club’s values and rigid structure”.
“A lot of what leadership is, is knowing the right time to speak up, and when it’s needed; as per last year I’ll be doing my best to bring as much of the experiences I’ve had not just in football but also life (to the team).”
“Having also been through some heavy injuries; it’s helpful to have things like that to draw on when people are struggling or feeling flat,” McEvoy said.
“I want to make sure I do everything I can to hopefully help coach people through.”
Also members of the leadership group last season, Nathan Blair, 22, received the Nick Carnell Leadership Award and finished fourth in the race for the Jim Sullivan Best and Fairest Medal, while Nick Mellington, 21, was a standout in his debut season as a Lion, finishing eighth in the best and fairest.
“I’m very happy to be in the leadership group again, it’s a privilege to be a part of it,” Blair said.
“Hopefully with Tom being captain again we can give a bit more support to him both on and off the field, and [take] our leadership to another level to help us in games.”
Like the other three members, Nick Mellington is also thrilled to be part of the leadership group again.
“I’m honoured to be in the leadership group, and having your teammates and friends vote you in as a leader is so humbling.”
He also revealed his high hopes for the club this season: “I’m looking forward to seeing Coburg play in September!”
We Are Coburg. Are You? Like Nick Mellington, get excited for the 2018 Peter Jackson VFL Season and sign up as a Coburg member NOW! For more information or to purchase your membership, head to the Coburg FC Online Store or call (03) 9354 8228.
Image courtesy of Jordan Zmood.