IF a ground resembles a cow paddock, expect Terang Mortake teenager Nathan Monk to revel in the conditions.
It’s not that he is a wet-track specialist, it’s because that is what he’s grown up with.
As a youngster, Monk would have home-made goal posts erected in a paddock on his family’s property near Cobden.
“We had to keep putting the electric fence up so the cows couldn’t wreck my 30-metre oval,” he said.
“I had the ride-on out most days and would mow it.”
While his football skills have outgrown the paddock and many of his mates, the 18-year-old has a permanent reminder of where his career started with his father Rodney and brother Sam.
“The goal posts are still up there but the ground’s deteroriating a bit.”
Monk, who made his senior debut as a 16-year-old with Terang Mortlake in round one last year, today lines up for his 36th consecutive match with the Bloods.
The midfielder/forward’s rise from junior to senior footballer has been swift. But not unexpected.
“It’s always been a game I’ve played and loved,” he said.
“It was always dad (having a kick with me).
“I set my mind pre-season last year to play seniors in round one and then when I did that I wanted to play all 18 games. Then I wanted to play all the games this season.”
Monk hasn’t been gifted a game. He has had to earn it. He has also had to learn. For a six-week stint this season, coach Shane Threlfall sent him into defence to further his education by taking him out of his usual forward/midfield roles.
The Mercy Regional College year 12 student almost didn’t find his way to Terang Mortlake. Living close to Cobden and with his older brother Sam playing with the Bombers, he spent a year in the under 18s in the black and red.
But dad Rodney, a member of Terang’s 1972 premiership side, guided him to the Bloods. It also made sense for him. Many of his mates on the school bus played at Terang Mortlake and he was keen to play alongside them.
Monk and his Bloods teammates are desperate for a win today against Port Fairy at Gardens Oval.
“There hasn’t been a big focus on it but we know we have to win this week. We haven’t had the best year. It would be a nice way to cap off our year,”he said.
While the Bloods won’t play senior finals, he intends returning to the under 18½ team, which is September-bound.