ISAAC Wareham hopes learnings from his first foray into cricket leadership hold the rest of his sporting career in good stead.
The Mortlake-based teenager was appointed understudy to new skipper Todd Robertson ahead of the upcoming South West Cricket Association campaign.
Wareham, who was an overage player at NAB League outfit Greater Western Victoria Rebels this past season, is determined to play football at the highest level possible.
His commitment to Australian rules meant summer sport - including cricket - has come second in recent years.
But after a winter with minimal football due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread restrictions on sport, Wareham is hoping to help Mortlake to success.
I really enjoy the both of them. Cricket is always an option for me if footy doesn't pan out the way I'd like it to.Isaac Wareham
"I'm pretty excited to take on the role," Wareham said.
"It was a bit of a surprise (when I was asked). We have some good older, more experienced guys who I thought could get it.
"I think we're at the stage where we can start trusting some of the younger guys."
Wareham said while football had been a priority in recent years, he enjoyed both sports equally.
"I really enjoy the both of them. Cricket is always an option for me if footy doesn't pan out the way I'd like it to," he said.
"I haven't been playing as much junior cricket because of footy but in having a leadership role for cricket, hopefully that might help me for footy in the future as well."
The vice-captaincy would be a strong learning opportunity, Wareham said.
The 18-year-old told The Standard he hoped to gather insights from Robertson and other leaders in the role.
"I've been playing with Todd for six years now," Wareham said.
"It'll be a way to learn, more than anything. I probably won't do as much this year but learn off the more experienced guys."
Wareham expected the Cats - a perennial South West Cricket Association finalist - to press for the top four.
"I think we'll be even more competitive than last year, even though we had a pretty good side in," he said.
"I just think we've been putting a bit more work in this year. We've had a bit more fitness, a bit more on our skills."
Robertson said Wareham's training standards and attitude was impressive.
"We just wanted to see how he'd thrive with a leadership role," he said.
"He's that perfect age to step up and take the next step. We're hoping that he flourishes with that vice captaincy."
Mortlake will face Cobden on Saturday.
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