Old Collegians' Josh Reichman: chasing the ultimate

INSPIRED: Current Old Collegians coach Josh Reichman says John Northey is the best motivational leader he's played under. Picture: Amy Paton
INSPIRED: Current Old Collegians coach Josh Reichman says John Northey is the best motivational leader he's played under. Picture: Amy Paton

Josh, your late father Graeme is acknowledged as one of the best local footballers and also had a stint playing with Collingwood. What memories do you have of his footy career?

I often get people saying they knew dad and how good of a player he was.

My only memory was when dad played for Mortlake in a preliminary final at the Reid Oval. I think I was about 10 years old.

Dad got his two front teeth knocked out and we went up to the Warrnambool Hospital to get a some stitches put in his mouth. 

It's a shame that I never got chance to really watch him and understand how good of a footballer he was in his career, which stretched across various clubs in this region.

Where did your footy career begin?

That's a funny story. I think I was 10 years old and the Western Lions under 16 side – which was an amalgamation of Mortlake and Derrinallum teams – played in a game under lights at Cobden. They were short of players so I filled in. My brother Locky played.

I just stood in the forward pocket – I don't think my stats from that game were impressive. I then played junior footy starting with the under 12s with Redan before working my way through the various grades until I got into the senior side.

I was captain of the under 18.5 side and played about six senior games before getting dropped.

I went and played in a practice game with Hawkesdale Macarthur in 2008.

I played because Locky was playing and so was my cousin Troy Richardson. Jamie Hetherington was the coach. Brad Sholl and Frankie Matthews were also playing.

I ended up breaking my right arm in that pre-season game. They put a metal plate into my arm and I've still got it today.

Josh, which path did your career go down in 2009?

I joined North Ballarat. Gerald FitzGerald was the coach. It was a fantastic experience, joining the club.

I only played a few senior games, but it was great. 

I was also playing with the senior side at Redan.

I had problems with my right knee. It kept on swelling up after being checked out by the doctors they said there was nothing structurally wrong.

I had surgery on my knee in the off-season before I went up to play with Noosa in 2010.

I played the early part of the season with Noosa.

But my knee was still giving me grief, so I never finished the season.

The sad thing was Noosa went on to win the flag.

I joined Palm Beach in 2011. I started the season off good but then got an infection in my right knee again and missed the last six games, so I could not get back into the senior side.

Palm Beach ended up winning the flag. It was really disappointing because I had missed out on two premierships.

I moved back to Victoria in 2012 and took over an assistant coach role with Jeremy Gleeson at Hawkesdale Macarthur.

Brad Sholl was the senior coach. We lost the preliminary final to Penshurst.

Did you stay with Hawkesdale Macarthur for very long?

No, I joined Learmonth in 2013  as assistant coach to John Northey.

I thought he was a great coach. Northey used all his VFL-AFL experience in his role as coach.

He was the best motivational coach that I’ve played under. He would get really emotional in his speeches.

We missed the finals. I got the chance to go up and play with Nightcliff in Darwin in the summer of 2014.

There were 20  country Victoria players trying to get into three spots with the premier Nightcliff side.

I ended up with the division 1 side.

We lost the grand final but I really loved playing up there. The heat got pretty bad but I coped with it. I finished 2014 with Noosa.

James Gellie was the coach. We lost the grand final, so I had two grand final losses in the one year.

I played for Donald in 2016 before getting the chance to coach Old Collegians in 2016.

Josh, we all know that Old Collegians went into last year's Warrnambool and District Football Netball League grand final as the hot favourite after not losing a game, but they came up short against Nirranda. This season you're undefeated after three games. What's the difference from last year's side to this season?

It was pretty gut wrenching we lost the 2016 grand final to Nirranda.

They were just too good for us on the day.

The off-season was a long six months, but it gave us time to lick our wounds.

We've kept 95 per cent of our list from last year.

We only trained once a week before Christmas but got stuck into it after the holiday break.

We're all hurting after losing the grand final last year. It was good we beat Nirranda in the opening game of 2017.

We've won the first three, but we are not getting carried away. It's going to be a tough season because the competition is so equal.

I would say the top four sides wIll be very strong.

We've got very good numbers coming through our ranks.

I've got to give a lot of credit to the administration at the club. They do a wonderful job at all levels.

Blokes like Anthony Wright and Jim Ryan put in countless hours chasing up recruits. I know I'm fortunate to be coaching a very professional footy club.

Josh, are you signed up as coach for next season?

I'm in the second year of a two-year contract.

I have not spoken to the club about going forward.

But I would like to think that we may have something worked out halfway through the year.