WARRNAMBOOL Seahawks coach Tim Gainey swapped the Arc for Davidson Oval and shoes for boots when he made his Aussie rules debut last weekend.
Gainey cast an unusual figure at full-forward and in the ruck during the Collegians’ reserves match against Allansford. The Colorado native kicked a goal as the Warriors went down 11.13 (79) to 4.2 (26).
Gainey, a financial planner at Sawyer, Hill and Brooks, said his superiors were Collegians club members and convinced him to pull on a jumper after the Seahawks’ Big V basketball season ended.
“I’ve been wanting to play for a while but we’ve always been deep in finals for basketball, so I’ve always missed out,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t make it this year and I wanted to have a run around. I was going to play for Russells Creek first, but my bosses said ‘if you play with them, you won’t be coming to work’. It was a lot of fun.”
Gainey said his goal came from a free kick after an opponent hit him high.
He went back and calmly slotted the major through from 35 metres, but was relieved he didn’t have to goal on the run.
“Full speed, it’s crazy how some of those guys can pinpoint shots,” he said.
“On a jog it’s all right. American footy, when you’re punting it’s usually a slow walk-up.” Gainey said his basketball skills transferred well to football, despite the larger playing field.
“I think the awareness and vision helped out a bit, as far as picking up the ball and handballing and seeing open guys,” he said.
The Australian game also had one other benefit for the former gridiron quarterback — he could unleash his physicality.
“I loved that part,” he said. “Basketball you want to but you can’t get away with it. Football, you can lay into somebody.”