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‘One-club mentality’ key to Brigades’ success as Railways loom in top-of-the-table clash

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Jesse Adamini handballs under pressure from Hayden Johnson.
Camera IconJesse Adamini handballs under pressure from Hayden Johnson. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

It’s been a common occurrence over the past few seasons that Brigades v Railways is a top-of-the-table clash, but that doesn’t make this weekend’s meeting any less enticing.

The Hawks and Blues sit at one and two on the ladder, though the last time they met, the Blues were blown out of the water by 75 points.

But the Blues are in hot form, winning their last four games including a 96-point thumping of Chapman Valley last weekend, and Hawks coach Corey Foot won’t be taking them lightly.

“Realistically, they’re only one loss outside of the top spot. I see Mitchell Boyle’s retirement was pretty short-lived and they’ve got some great depth,” he said.

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“(Ryan) Le Tessier is a great mark of the ball and they’ve got youth coming through like Jack Connell and Draydon Wingo that ease the workload of some of their senior players.

“You can’t just focus on one or two players, you’ve got to respect the whole team and try and nullify each individual on their team and their impact.”

Brigades’ only loss came in round two, and they have been boosted by the return of Jack Perham, with a couple of other stars not too far away.

“Last week was his first game back, which is great, and we’ve got a couple coming off an injury that is due back very shortly in Hayden Johnson and Sam Millet, so we’re getting close to regaining all those that have been travelling or injured,” Foot said.

Kim and Jayden Schofield will also return to the Brigades side after representing WA Country last weekend, with Foot praising the pair for their outstanding seasons this year.

“I think it’s pretty rare that you have brothers with such talent that are able to walk by the things that they do and they definitely push each other along, there’s no doubt about it, they’ve had an excellent season,” he said.

“I think as a team we love running out with them and they love running out with the 20 blokes, but we’re trying to build a system where we don’t rely solely on those two.

“They’ve really been able to mentor a lot of the youth that’s coming through, and even some of the guys that are new to the club, and we look forward to having them back this weekend but we will have to really have a look at some stage and monitoring their workload.”

It’s happy days at the Hawks this season, with all four sides currently in the top four and the women’s team undefeated. Foot says the hard work done before the season began has been key.

“I think it started in January,” he said. “They’re forced into hard work, and everyone’s got around each other and built that really competitive nature at training, and that’s been able to transition on to the football field.

“We’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve been able to have up to 90-100 people on the track on a Friday night, and that includes the girls, and they’ll get around each other and just try and create that positive vibe.

“We know that there’s plenty more hard work to be done and we look forward to that challenge but we’re very united from colts, reserves, women to league, we’re one club, one playing group.”

It’s hard to pick apart the Hawks at the moment, with their goal kicking accuracy being perhaps the only concern, which cost them in their one loss against the Rams and saw them restricted to six straight behinds in the third quarter against Towns.

“We spend hours on end each week — every drill we do involves goal kicking and we’re fully aware that there’s no point getting the ball into the forward line if we don’t get the reward,” Foot said.

“But Towns didn’t allow us to have any easy shots, they’ve been big improvers this season and forced us into difficult positions, so big credit to how they played.”

This weekend is also a family fun day for the club, with raffles and prizes to be given away in the evening.

“I’ll be telling the boys and girls to get around those juniors that are there and just say g’day and hopefully to a successful day for football and everyone turns up there,” Foot said.

In the other games, Chapman Valley have to beat Rovers to keep their mathematical finals chances alive, while Northampton should be big winners against Mullewa.

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