By Nicholas Galea
Key position duo Liam Whelan and Jhye Baddeley-Kelly have each signed one-year contracts which will see them remain with the Coburg Football Club for the 2022 VFL Season.
Whelan joined Coburg in 2019 and has played nine games while Baddeley-Kelly who made the move to the Club for the 2020 season, has one game to his name thus far. Coincidentally, both players made their respective debuts for Coburg (albeit two years apart) against the Northern Blues/Bullants in the Battle of Bell Street.
“I just feel humbled that I’m valued member of the team and I just look forward to getting back to preseason because this year and last year we haven’t been around each other as much as we would have liked as we’re really strong group and really tight knit group,” Whelan said.
In 2021, Whelan was named in the club’s round one team where he collected 10 disposals and laid five tackles but unfortunately his season was derailed by hip related injuries throughout the course of the year which restricted him to just the one appearance in the VFL and only five games for East Ringwood in the Eastern Football League.
Despite a lengthy stint on the sidelines, Whelan was able to learn plenty off former Sydney Swans key defender Jack Maibaum, leaning on his experience and soaking in the professionalism.
“When you’re trying to develop your game and you see that standard being set, you end up following people like that,” Whelan said.
“Having a role model like that within the team and particularly within the backline with me being a key defender, it really puts me in a good place to improving my game.”
Baddelely-Kelly who was impressive for his local side Epping in the Northern Football Netball League, was named in the team’s best on a very impressive nine occasions; which included two best on grounds. He also kicked six goals for the year; which included a four-goal outing against Panton Hill in round 16 of the NFNL season.
This strong form saw Baddelely-Kelly rewarded with a VFL debut where he acquitted himself well on debut for Coburg against the Northern Blues gathering 12 disposals, which featured nine kicks, two marks and two tackles.
After the progress that was made by Coburg in 2021 on and off the field, Whelan is confident of the team to put it all together in 2022.
“It’s exciting when the standard is raised and when you have players like Tom Silvestro and Jacob Ballard really keeping everyone accountable, you can only expect better results and I think now that belief is at a point where we are 99% there,” he said.
“We have got all the foundations set, now we just need to have a good year because we are definitely capable of it. I think if you look across the ground, we’ve got great players in every position so we don’t have any excuses coming into 2022 not to perform.”
Coburg fans can get excited as they can expect more news on further player re-signings for season 2022 across our Men’s and Women’s teams to be announced in the coming weeks by following the Coburg Football Club’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.