Year-round football for Seagulls recruit

PLAYING football 12 months a year is something many players dream about. Port Fairy’s Jaise Coleman is living it.

Port Fairy recruit Jaise Coleman is enjoying the closeness of the Hampden league competition. 140708RG35 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Port Fairy recruit Jaise Coleman is enjoying the closeness of the Hampden league competition. 140708RG35 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

The versatile Seagulls recruit will fly back to the Northern Territory after the Hampden league season finishes in September for a second stint with Nightcliff Tigers.

It was in the Northern Territory Football League where Coleman met current Port Fairy teammates Andrew and Xavier McCartney.

The McCartney brothers encouraged Coleman, who hails from the tiny north-east Victorian town of Chiltern, to join Port Fairy.

He’d played for his home club Chiltern in the Tallangatta and District league and Ovens and Murray powerhouse Albury Tigers, mostly in the juniors and reserves.

Coleman said the quality of the Hampden league and evenness of the 2014 senior competition — the Seagulls sit sixth one game out of the top five with seven rounds to play — had made his debut season one to remember.

“I heard it was a pretty strong league when I was in Darwin and even back home in Albury we knew,” he said.

“In Darwin it is a lot quicker and open but it’s similar to Ovens and Murray, pretty contested and hard.

“Warrnambool is obviously a pretty handy side. Their whole back six is pretty good.

“It’s a pretty even competition — to be honest I have never played in a competition this even across the board.”

Coleman has added versatility to the Seagulls’ line-up this season.

He belies his lanky 198-centimetre frame and can play as a rover to complement his ruck work and ability to play forward.

“It’s good I am getting thrown around everywhere,” he said.

“I always play wherever the team needs me.

“(My season’s been) not bad, but not great.

“I am not kicking as many goals as I would like but that will come hopefully.”

Coleman, a second-year apprentice plumber, said Port Fairy was quietly confident it could end its nine-season finals drought.

The Seagulls play Terang Mortlake — another side vying for a top-five finish — at Mortlake’s D. C. Farran Oval on Saturday.

“The boys are all playing well and the confidence is up so hopefully we can string a few more wins together,” he said.

“I think it is consistency and four quarters of footy (that we need to find) — a lot of weeks we’re lapsing for a quarter and it’s costing us.”

Coleman said the Seagulls, under second-year coach Sam Rudolph, knew their best was good enough, having knocked off third-placed North Warrnambool Eagles and pushed reigning grand finalist Koroit in a down-to-the-wire finish.

“We kind of try and grind matches out and make it an arm-wrestle and stop their run,” he said.

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