RUSSELLS Creek captain Marcus Askew says he never considered leaving the Kangaroos in search of greener pastures this season.
Askew was one of just a handful of top-end Kangaroos to recommit to the club after the departure of playing coach Darren Little at the end of 2013.
His older brother Jayden was among the masses who found new football homes, heading to Hampden league club South Warrnambool.
But the younger Askew remained and earned reward for his loyalty when new coach and former premiership player Jay Everall made him captain.
At 20, he is one of the youngest leaders in the league. And he has no intentions of leaving Mack Oval any time soon.
“I’ve always been up there and that’s my club. I didn’t really have any other thoughts of going anywhere else, not any time soon,” Askew said.
“It’ll be good to get a few more up at Creek. Over a few years we got a few players but a few have gone to try the Hampden league.
“It all happened at once, which wasn’t ideal. We thought we might struggle for numbers a little but we’re fielding two sides each week.”
Askew was upbeat about morale at Russells Creek, despite its winless start to the Warrnambool and District league season.
“Everyone up there are good people to be around, it’s been a pretty good year,” he said. But he was slightly frustrated about his own output. His first season as captain has coincided with an undiagnosed cramping problem.
The severity of the issue has warranted blood tests and visits to the doctor, including a six-hour round trip to Melbourne for a 10-minute appointment.
But no one, most of all Askew, has any idea what’s going on. He’s had to battle on, adjusting his training loads in the process.
“Over the past few years I’ve had pretty severe cramping. I put up with it for a while but this year it’s taken a massive turn for the worse,” he said.
Injuries aside, Askew can see light at the end of the tunnel for the Kangaroos. The seniors are battling but the under 17½s are sitting fourth.
It’s this next generation which, given time, the captain believes will lead the rebuild of the playing list.
“We’ve got some depth in our young players and our under 17s look like they’ll be one of the stronger sides,” he said.
“It’d be nice to keep them coming through the ranks and play seniors ... it’s always good to see the young ones have a crack at seniors.”
Russells Creek travels to play Kolora-Noorat at Noorat Recreation Reserve today in a match pitting fifth against 12th.
The Kangaroos will be without the suspended Cam Williams, among four changes. Tahi Pompey is the pick of the inclusions.
Kolora-Noorat has lost Nick Kenna, Luke Tebble and Jonathon Gleeson to injury but has regained Tom Kenna, Daniel McConnell and Martin Wynd.
Kolora-Noorat coach Ben Kenna said he was conscious of the Kangaroos’ improvement since the start of the season.
He said the Power’s 5-2 record — which could be 6-2 at the interleague break — was “a reflection of where we’d want to be and who we’ve played”.
“Knowing who we’ve played and where sides are, I think we’d want to be six and two after the weekend,” he said.
“It can set you up, I suppose, and hopefully we can get some players back and build from there.”