By Jarrad Gardner
The Coburg Football Club is excited to announce the signing of Jhye Baddeley-Kelly from fellow VFL club Williamstown.
Jhye spent the 2019 season with the Seagulls however was unable to make his VFL debut, spending the season at Northern Football Netball League club North Heidelberg where his kicked 20 goals in 19 games.
At just 23 years of age, Baddeley-Kelly has already built up an impressive resumé at local level, playing 109 senior matches (70 for Lalor & 39 for North Heidelberg), kicking 60 goals and earning selection in the division two team of the year in 2017 and division one team of the year in 2018, both times as a defender.
He has also represented the NFNL on two occasions (2018 & 2019) and earned selection to the Vic Metro side on both occasions as well.
Speaking shortly after signing for the club, Baddeley-Kelly said it was an easy decision to make the move to Coburg and hopes to bring success back to the club.
“I’ve had some mates play here before and they reckon the culture and vibe is great and just having lots of good young kids up and coming so I just want to get the club back where it should be” he said.
Senior coach Andrew Sturgess was excited about the signing of Baddeley-Kelly, highlighting his representative experience and how he can use that to help take the next step up to VFL football.
“Obviously he’s built up his playing experiences over the past couple of years and he’s obviously had some pretty good years at local level and then got recognised with representative football at the Northern Football League and then at Vic Metro.”
“I think the natural progression for him was to go and try his hand at a VFL club and he was at Williamstown this year and although he didn’t crack a game I think just being around that environment and that system for a year will hold him in good stead.”
Spending the past two years at North Heidelberg playing with AFL games record holder Brent Harvey as well as former AFL players such as Shane Harvey, Shane Biggs and Daniel Harris, Jhye highlighted their professionalism as something that’s helped him get to this level.
“It’s probably made things a lot easier, obviously their professionalism and one thing they’ve taught me is to never give up so they’ve been fantastic” he said.
Having played all over the ground throughout his career, Baddeley-Kelly believes he can impact wherever he is needed, a sentiment which Sturgess echoed however believing Jhye would slot in best among a Coburg defence he believes is ready to take the next step in 2020.
“I think I’m a bit versatile, I can play back and forward, this year I played forward but for the past few years I played down back so could be a bit of a mixture between everywhere to be honest” said Baddeley-Kelly.
“He’s probably more naturally suited as a backman that reads the ball really well and can intercept mark and he’s also a good kick and decision maker from the back line” Sturgess said.
“We feel like the back line that played the majority of games last year are ready to take their football to another level.”
Baddeley-Kelly will be aligned with his junior club Epping in 2020, showing his loyalty to the club that raised him into the player he is today, a trait which stood out to Sturgess immediately.
“As a person, the thing I really loved about Jhye when we met with him and getting to know him is his loyalty is one of his really good values and traits” Sturgess said.
“When we asked him the reason for him going to Epping Football Club he made it clear that it’s his junior club and he wants to help them progress and better their current position and get them back up to division one.”
With the 2020 playing list coming together, Sturgess said that with the remaining spots he will look to bring in a mixture of experience and youth to round out his squad but more importantly bringing in good people.
“Anytime you can bring in people that have been in the system for a while it’s only going to help teach our young guys” he said.
“In terms of our recruiting we’ve been fairly specific about the type of people we want to get first and foremost and that’s really important that they’re good people.”