TERANG Mortlake tall Ryan O’Connor made a high-flying return to the field on Saturday, showing plenty of potential for the coming rounds.
The 20-year-old missed last weekend’s match against Warrnambool while attending his sister’s wedding in Ballarat.
But the towering Blood immediately sought to make up for lost time against Koroit in the Super Saturday stoush at Terang Recereation Reserve.
O’Connor, who learnt his craft in Terang Mortlake’s junior ranks before merging into seniors, proved more than capable in various positions across the ground.
“I was swapping from the bench to centre half-forward and the ruck,” he told The Standard after the game.
“Then Zac Pickett hurt his leg, so I was swapping with Jake Richardson from full-forward to the ruck for the rest of the day.”
O’Connor had the solid crowd singing his praise in the first term when he soared high above a pack, attempted the mark, before claiming it stumbling backwards with arms out stretched.
He went on to convert the grab for a well-deserved goal.
“I take a few marks, but generally not ones like that,” he laughed.
That second-effort performance was repeated by all of his teammates, in different ways, throughout the afternoon and granted the Bloods their first win of the season.
O’Connor said it was important to get the maiden victory out of the way. It was a bonus to achieve it against the calibre of Koroit.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “We didn’t think we were even going to come close to Koroit. They’ve got a really good side. But it’s good to get a win.”
O’Connor, who works as a plumber in Warrnambool, finished with two goals.
“It was a lot better than my last game,” he said. “I was away last week so it was good to come back and do a bit more than what I expected.”
The Bloods host North Warrnambool Eagles in Mortlake this weekend.
O’Connor said if the positive feeling remained around the club, more success was sure to follow.
“It’s been really good,” he said.
“We’ve got a fair few new blokes and it’s working really well. As the rounds are progressing, everyone’s starting to play much better footy with each other.”