Round one of the Horsham District Football Netball League will commence this weekend, with Jeparit Rainbow taking on Taylors Lake. With a new look Seniors side, the team will be looking to impress across the ground as the season progresses.
New look Seniors
This year will see quite a few changes to the Jeparit Rainbow senior team with long term players Elliot Bath and Brodie Grant no longer making the long trip down from Queensland. Fellow Queenslander Daniel Carey, Sean Bayzand who is not returning from Adelaide and Justin Cozens will also be missing from the 2018 team.
Assistant Coach Daniel Batson will join Sam Cranna in the ruck to make an extremely strong combination. His brothers, Wayne and Will, will join him in the team. Daniel and Wayne have played together in a premiership for Strathalbyn in South Australia. Wayne, Will and Peter Weir will give the team plenty of key position options.
Three players from the Torrens Valley Club in the Adelaide Hills League have joined Jeparit Rainbow. Kurt Waterman is a best and fairest winner at Torrens Valley, he also has been on the Adelaide Crows supplementary list for the last two years, playing two games for that clubs SANFL team in 2017.
The classy midfielder will be looking to make a big impact at his new club. Tom Eichner, a midfielder, was captain of Torrens Valley, his leadership skills will be of great value to the team. Brad Hunter will play on a flank, he polled the most votes for Torrens Valley in the league best and fairest award.
Senior Coach Tim Inkster said that he has been pleased with the numbers at training and the quality of the players the club has recruited. Having seven players travelling over from South Australia to play for the team will require some managing.
Tim expects both the local players and those travelling to do everything right as they prepare for each week’s games. He sees the ability of a number of players to play at both ends of the ground as a real asset to the team. Tim’s goal for the team is for it to build up for the finals. Winning early games, even if the team may not be at full strength, is a priority.
The experience of Ash Clugston, Heath Clugston, Ben Marra, Luke Werner and Tyler Edelsten will be a key to the team making the finals for the fourth consecutive year.
A number of players will be expected to return to the team during the season after injury. Adam Schulz (knee) and Nathan Cocks (shoulder) missed all of the 2017 season while Lucas Edelsten, Jayden Werner and Simon Clugston suffered serious leg injuries last year.
The team has lost a number of players with Nathan Jensz, Riley Launer, Nathan Sparling and Lachlan Meek all returning to Nhill. Marcus Hiscock and Brett Jensz will have the job of rebuilding the team.
For the first time for many years there are nearly enough players for a full team. This will make coach Mark Cocks’ job a lot easier as he will not have so many U14 players playing a second game each week in the U17’s.
Liam Preston, Matt Thomas, Xavier Oakley and Jordy Leach are expected to be strong leaders for the team while Mason Doxey, Lucas Doxey and Max McKenzie should continue on with the improvement they showed last year.
Jeremy James in his second year of football is another player who has a lot of potential. The enthusiasm of the boys stepping up from the U14’s will be a big asset for the team. It is great to see Tom Ismay returning to football after a number of years away from the game.
Steve Leach will be in charge of an enthusiastic group of youngsters. The experienced players in Murphy Leach, Phoenix Oakley, Paddy O’Halloran, Jaime Eckermann, Lewis Cocks and Flynn Smith will be expected to show leadership to their younger team mates.