MICK Salmon’s boyish giggle sums up the appropriateness of Cobden’s new nickname — the baby Bombers.
The 17-year-old is one of six under 18 players who will wear black and red jumpers in today’s Hampden league preliminary final showdown with North Warrnambool Eagles at Reid Oval.
“Most of us went to school together and played junior footy together,” he said. “We gel pretty well together.”
Zac Merrett is the youngest of the brat pack, which includes Sam Cunnington, Brendan Richardson, Daniel Watson, Leigh Rosolin and Salmon.
Salmon said he, Richardson and Cunnington had made a pact in the middle of winter to return to the Bombers after playing a few games with TAC Cup under 18 side Geelong Falcons.
“We were thinking about it and there weren’t going to be many playing opportunities with the Falcons. It was a pretty strong side and there were a few to come back,” Salmon said.
“We had a bit of a talk and thought there would be more opportunities at Cobden.”
While it was a tough decision for the trio, it’s been a blessing for Cobden.
The talented teens have been a big part in the Bombers winning eight of their past 10 matches.
“It’s been good the last half of the year,” Salmon said. “It’s pretty exciting. Paul Hinkley and Paul Foster help you through it and it’s been good.
“It’s pretty exciting at training. Everyone realises the opportunity we have got.”
Salmon might only stand 177 centimetres tall and weigh 67 kilograms, light enough to ride in next year’s Grand Annual Steeplechase as a jumps jockey, but coach Wayne Robertson hasn’t hesitated in giving him significant roles. He plays as a lead-up forward, in the middle and on the wing.
“I love it, it’s real good. It gives you a bit of variety,” Salmon said.
The apprentice builder was raised on a dairy farm at Buangor and started his footy career at nearby Simpson.
As an 11-year-old, he made his debut in the under 14s, where he played until he was 13. He left and joined Cobden, hoping to take his game to a new level. Ironically today’s preliminary final is his first since his debut season at Simpson.
He was unable to put the finger on the secret to Cobden’s success this season.
“You just have to try and play consistent footy and everyone plays their role,” he said.