Season Preview - Melton Centrals
New year, new faces, new facilities, new ballgame. That’s very much the approach Melton Centrals are taking into the 2016 season after a 2015 that saw them fall to second-last on the RDFNL ladder with only two wins for the year, with only the now-departed Kilmore behind them.
Having now moved their headquarters to the brand-new Arnold’s Creek Recreation Reserve in Melton West, and a swag of experienced new players coming over with them, Centrals coach Glenn Hopkins is certain that 2016 will see Centrals rise back up the RDFNL ladder on their twentieth anniversary.
“It’s important for us to have those more experienced players to help bring the kids along”, Hopkins mentioned in the above video.
“We can drill a little deeper into our training and work a little harder on things we probably weren’t able to with the inexperience that we had over last season”.
“It’s being able to get more technical and tactical with the guys and trying to work at a higher level now that we’ve got those experienced players.”
“I think that’s going to bring a lot more out in the junior kids too”.
Amongst the new faces in Navy Blue this season are key forwards Matt Gilmore from Birchip, John O’Brien, who returns to the club after a stint with Albion in the WRFL and Alex Sweet from Bacchus Marsh, who has been one of the head-turners in pre-season training so far.
“[Gilmore’s] a big, strong forward and a beautiful kick”, Hopkins commented.
“On a big ground like [Arnold’s Creek] there’ll be lots of space for him to use his bulk and his speed.”
“He’s quick over the first ten but a beautiful kick, good hands and a really good attitude.”
“[O’Brien’s] a good all-round footballer.”
“He’s a strong player with really good knowledge of the game.”
“Alex Sweet’s been allright, he won our 2km [time trial].”
“His Dad is a former Centrals guy, and we’re trying to bring those former Centrals guys back to the club”.
So they well should, if nothing else but to see the new facilities at Arnold’s Creek that their old club now calls home, and which has already made a huge impact on the culture at Centrals.
“It’s just a whole new atmosphere”, Hopkins said about the club’s new Melton West home.
“Our attitude is about growing this area, using [Arnold’s Creek] as a base for growing that community spirit which we’re after”.
“We’ve got a great development around us and we feel we can build the football club through that and be part of the community”.
Centrals and RDFNL fans aren’t going to have to wait long to see the new facilities in use either, with the Centrals set to open the season on their new ground in the Season Opener against Rockbank on Saturday 9th April under lights, which excites Hopkins and the Centrals community.
“People, I would think, are going to come over to see what the facilities are like”, Hopkins thinks.
“Which is what we want – we want to showcase our footy club but also our facilities”.
“It’s a bit of a different feel here, you can’t park your car around the ground, which is a typical suburban footy ground.”
“You’ll have to come and stand on the fence, but it’s going to be worthwhile”.
Round 1 v Rockbank (home, night) – first game at Arnold’s Creek, first game under lights and first game for the new-look Centrals line-up – if ever there’s a time for a club to make a statement, that’s it!
Round 2 v Wallan (away) – great test for Centrals away from home against a team that will likely be around the same mark as them this year…if they get this, watch the excitement rise in Centrals Nation
Round 13 v Woodend-Hesket (away) – interesting time of year, and this could be the game that sets the boys from Arnold’s Creek up for a finals run – if they can get a win here, they have a bye, Romsey, Rockbank and Broadford to finish out the season…gives them a chance
PREDICTED FINISH: 6th-10th