Marcus, you missed out on playing for Koroit in the second semi-final against Port Fairy last Saturday because of a hamstring injury. Port Fairy defeated the Saints by 27 points and now Koroit fronts up to Cobden in a do-or-die preliminary final on Saturday. Will you be fit to play for Koroit this week?
I should be right. I injured my left hamstring against Warrnambool in the third last home and away game.
I could have played against Port Fairy last Saturday, but we took the safer option and I had a rest.
We’ve got to beat Cobden this week. There’s no second chances.
What did you think of Koroit’s performance against Port Fairy last Saturday, keeping in mind that the Saints were 24 points up at half-time?
It was a disappointing result for us.
Port Fairy was just too strong for us after half-time.
That game is behind us – we can only focus on our game against Cobden this Saturday.
You’re the key power forward at Koroit, have you been happy with your form this season?
I’ve had not a bad year, I’ve kicked 69 goals. I had a slow start to the season and a good middle patch in the middle before getting injured.
I’ve been lucky because I’ve had some very good players delivering the footy to me in the forward line.
My toughest opponent this year would have to be Camperdown’s Brendan Richardson.
Marcus, your dad James was a former top player with Koroit and the old Northern Districts Football Club, which played in the Warrnambool and District Football League. Does James speak much about his football ability?
No. He does not really talk much about his footy career. He’s very quiet about it. I’ve heard from different people that he was a very good player.
I’ve only got memories of him playing at Northern Districts when I was a young bloke.
Where did your footy career begin?
Out at North Warrnambool, my dad finished his career at Northern Districts, which became North Warrnambool when they joined the HFNL.
My brother Michael also started his junior career out at North.
I played juniors there before making my senior debut with North Warrnambool as a 15-year-old.
I can still remember my first senior game, we defeated Camperdown out at the Bushfield ground.
I played a few games in my first senior year before playing the whole season the next year when I was 16 years old.
Who was your first senior coach at North Warrnambool?
Leigh McCluskey was the coach at North Warrnambool back in that era.
He was a school teacher at Emmanuel College where I did my secondary education, but I never had much to do with him at school.
I thought Leigh was an excellent coach. He was highly respected and a keen student of footy.
He had a very good knowledge of opposition players, which is a great benefit, and I found him to be a very good communicator. We missed the finals in 2008. I joined the North Ballarat Rebels in 2009.
It was the first year that the lads from around Warrnambool went up to Ballarat to play, instead of going to the Geelong Falcons.
There would be a group of us including Liam Hoy, Kevin Bourke and Sam Cowling and myself that would get a bus up to training at Ballarat.
It was all pretty tiring, as you would have to be back at school the next day.
I stayed on with the Rebels in 2010 as I got a job at Ballarat High as a physical education trainee and I was doing some part-time work with Mick Haberfield, who had an industrial laundry in Ballarat.
I played with North Ballarat in the VFL competition in 2011,12 and 13.
I had 40 senior games in that three-year period.
Gerard FitzGerald was the senior coach at the club.
He was a top coach. He had a really good coaching record. I found it really hard to get a senior game consistently because we were aligned with the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
There were 30 blokes vying for eight spots on the list, which made it very difficult.
One of my highlights was playing in the same side as top player Daniel Wells.
He was coming back from injury, but he was just a classy player.
For the 2014 and 2015 seasons I played for North Ballarat City, who play in the Ballarat Football League. We won the flag in 2014.
I was very lucky as I got a job with Richard Start Accounting in Ballarat. I’m still working there today.
Why did you move back to play with Koroit in 2016?
My brother Michael had made the swap over from North Warrnambool to Koroit in 2015.
I thought I better take up the chance of playing footy with him. It’s always something we wanted to do was play in the same side.
It ended up being a great move, as Koroit defeated North Warrnambool to win the flag last year.
Adam Dowie was our coach. He’s got an incredible coaching record. His record has been well documented.
Adam just uses a commonsense approach to coaching.
He never seemed to get flustered and this year we’ve got Chris McLaren as coach.
Chris is very well respected across the region and knows his footy.
We’ve got to win the next two games over the next two weeks against Cobden and Port Fairy to win four consecutive senior flags for Koroit. I think we’re up to the challenge.
Marcus, away from the footy have you played many other sports?
I played a bit of junior cricket with Koroit.
I was not much good as a cricketer.
I suppose my claim to fame as far as a cricketer is concerned is that I made 70 runs one day.