Chris, many sportsmen would love to have the sporting highlights that you’ve mentioned. Your dad John was a top cricketer and footballer in his own rights for Panmure. Has he had much influence on your career in both sports?
Yes. John has been there to give me a few words of wisdom and advice over the journey when I’ve played cricket and football.
My first memories of sport as a child relate of me going to cricket and football to watch John play.
I never understood how good he was at both sports until I got older.
I keep on hearing stories from people that saw John play footy and cricket, and I’ve got a greater understanding that he was pretty good.
Let’s talk about your cricket career first. Eight senior premierships at Panmure. I take it your cricket career began at Panmure?
Yes. I was about 10 years old when I started playing in the under 12s at Panmure.
I then played in B grade when I was 14 years old.
I played in the same cricket side as John, which was great.
The eight premierships were wonderful achievements by a bunch of top blokes.
I suppose one of the players that stays in my mind is Nathan Shand.
He played a key part in some of those wins. He would get four or five wickets which would make it easier for us.
Chris, what’s your highest score of your career?
I made 149 runs against Mailors Flat one day out at Winslow.
I can still remember it was a real hot day, but I was just middling the ball from the start of my innings.
For the 2016-17 cricket season you decided to switch from playing cricket at Panmure to Allansford. Was that a tough decision?
It was a difficult decision.
I had thought about making the move for a couple years but kept on putting the decision off – in the end it all came about because I wanted to play cricket on turf wickets and I just thought the time was right to try out in a tougher competition.
I’ve enjoyed the challenges playing at Allansford.
We’ve got some very good young players coming through the ranks.
Our division two side won last year’s grand final.
The foundations are in place for us to be very competitive in the future, but in saying that it’s a tough competition.
I still keep a keen eye on how the boys are performing out at Panmure.
They’re still very strong, which is great to see.
The move to Allansford to play cricket was pretty easy because it’s not far from our dairy farm to Allansford.
I’ve been lucky that we’ve got great staff and good relief milkers; they have allowed me to juggle football and cricket commitments over the years.
Let’s talk about your footy career. I take it started at Panmure?
I was 10 years old when I started playing in the under 12s at Panmure.
I used to just tag along with John. I worked my way through the grades at Panmure before I decided to have a crack at Terang Mortlake.
I played with them for the 2011 season. It was a good experience. I went back to Panmure for the 2012 season and we won the flag.
We won the flag again in 2013. Both years Simon O’Keefe was our coach.
I thought he was an excellent coach, both on and off the field.
He led by example. He was tough but very good.
I was appointed Terang Mortlake assistant coach for the 2014 season and I played there until the end of this season.
For 2019, I will be the playing coach at Panmure.
Did you enjoy your time playing at Terang Mortlake?
Yes. They’re a great club. I’ve made some wonderful friendships with people in my time at Terang Mortlake, but I felt the time was right to go back to Panmure.
I thought with a bit of luck at Terang Mortlake we may have had more success on the field but that was not to be.
Terang Mortlake are not far away from being a very strong Hampden League side again.
They have blooded some good young players over the last few years and I think they will see the benefits of that in the future.
What do you think of the competition in the HFNL?
It’s pretty strong. I would go as far to say it’s stronger now than when I first played with Terang Mortlake.
I think the introduction of sides like Portland and Hamilton have taken a bit of time to find their feet in the competition.
But I can see in the future both clubs are only going to get better, which is great for the depth of footy in the HFNL.
Chris, did it take much work from Panmure to get you over the line as playing coach for 2019?
I suppose it really never took much. It was natural that I was always going to go home.
Panmure had rung me up for a couple of years asking if I was interested in coming back, but I put it off.
The coaching job was available for 2019, so I decided the time was right to make the move. We’ve already picked up some recruits for next season which is a great result, but we’re a long way off the pace.
We’re hoping to attract a few more players in the lead up to the 2019 season.
I watched a few of the finals games in the WDFNL.
The powerhouse sides like Nirranda, Old Collegians and the Power are very strong.
They are the benchmark sides in the competition and it’s up to the other sides to match them.
Are you going to base your coaching on anyone in particular?
I’ve been fortunate to have been coached by very good coaches at all levels.
I think I’ll take a bit out of each coach that I’ve played under during my career when I start my coaching career.