Eagle puts turf before surf

North Warrnambool Eagles forward Josh Corbett, 18, has put surfing on hold while he concentrates on the team’s finals campaign and completing his VCE at Emmanuel College.

North Warrnambool Eagles forward Josh Corbett, 18, has put surfing on hold while he concentrates on the team’s finals campaign and completing his VCE at Emmanuel College.

NORTH Warrnambool Eagles footballer Josh Corbett lives a hop, skip and a jump away from the ocean.

He’s had a football in his hands from an early age — he started playing for Emmanuel Hawks when he was in grade 5 — but three years ago he found another sporting hobby to complement his winter love.

Corbett, 18, took up surfing.

“We live two blocks from the beach so in the summer time I surf in the arvo and come back and then go to the caravan parks to see friends,” he said.

“It’s a ‘Warrnambool summer’.”

Football is Corbett’s first sporting passion.

The Carlton supporter “fell in love with the game straight away” and joined North Warrnambool Eagles last season after playing all of his juniors in Hawks’ colours.

Corbett will play his first Hampden league senior final today when North Warrnambool Eagles meet Koroit in a qualifying final at Friendly Societies’ Park.

It is an opportunity the 188-centimetre leading forward is eager to seize.

“It’s really exciting and I’m a little bit nervous,” he said. 

“It’s all new. I have played a few junior finals with Emmanuel Hawks but it seems like there is a lot more expectation.”

The crunch final will be Corbett’s 17th senior appearance.

He’s played 11 games for 12 goals this season, adding to the five he notched in his debut campaign in 2013.

The Emmanuel College student had a “growth spurt at the end of last year” which helped him find a role in the Eagles’ line-up.

“I feel a bit more comfortable,” Corbett said of his second senior season.

“This year I have had a role up forward alongside Tom Batten, Mark Murphy and Ben Mugavin.

“(Coach) Bernie (Moloney) has helped me develop into that role and helped me be a marking forward.”

Corbett is working on his endurance and would love to build his game around St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt, whose aerobic capacity is considered among the AFL’s best.

“I had osteitis pubis in the off-season so I’ve had to manage that but I like to think I can run a game out comfortably.”

Corbett said his OP hadn’t flared up and he felt prepared heading into the finals.

He visited renowned sports physio — Donald’s Pat Allen who is widely regarded in AFL circles — to help with the injury.

“I saw him 12 weeks ago and I haven’t missed a game since,” he said.

North Warrnambool Eagles coach Bernard Moloney said Corbett listened and took on board any advice.

“He’ll take a good defender and you know you’ll get a contest,” he said.

Moloney said the Eagles, who elevated under 16s player Dion Johnstone for his senior debut, would need to get on top in the midfield and use the ball well if they were to topple the Saints for the first time this season.

“They use the ball well and have good defensive actions over the ground,” he said.

“We played into their hands a bit last time with our entries going forward and they repelled well.”

Koroit coach Adam Dowie said the Saints’ renowned full-ground defensive pressure would be paramount.

“They can score quickly and score goals in a row,” he said. “So that is going to be a focus of ours and generally when we defend well we keep the ball in our forward end.

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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