WILL Rowbottom says playing under a third senior coach in one of the country's most unique football leagues will lift his footy nous.
The Camperdown ruckman has flown north to ply his trade at Northern Territory Football League outfit Palmerston Magpies in the Hampden league's off-season.
If his first taste of Territory footy is anything to go by, Rowbottom is in for a season of new experiences.
The rapid, high-octane style of play, aided by mud-free playing surfaces, is a world away from south-west Victoria's water-soaked grounds and emphasis on winning contested ball.
Rowbottom said he'd study opposition ruckman in order to learn best practice for footy in the tropics but had already identified key learnings from Palmerston's opening-round loss to Waratah on Friday night.
Half these decks up here you'd like to play cricket on, but we're playing footy on them.- Will Rowbottom
"It was just freaky some of things players were doing," he said.
"They pop up and in one step, they're taking marks on (an opponent's) shoulders.
"You look at how hard they hit too. I went to watch the grand final rematch on Saturday night, Nightcliffe and St Mary's, and gee there were some good footballers."
He said there were marked differences in tactics to those employed in the Hampden league.
"The first thing I probably noticed is how players just run in waves," Rowbottom said.
"Players just come off half-back and more times than not, it probably favoured them, to just back themselves in when they're moving the ball.
"The times we did manage to stop them and get it over the top, we scored. If you back yourself in up here, particularly on the Gardens Oval where we play, you're only one kick away from being inside 50 as it's a small ground.
"Half these decks up here you'd like to play cricket on, but we're playing footy on them."
The carpenter, who has so far played under Phil Carse and Neville Swayn at Leura Oval, said the chance to get another perspective from Palmerston mentor Russell Jeffrey was exciting.
"I'm probably just keen to improve my football all round to be honest," Rowbottom said.
"Coming in, meeting new people, playing under different coaching, learning a whole different scenario of football really.
"I've played under the two in my senior career and to get a taste of playing under another coach, it's a whole different experience."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Rowbottom said he and his brother flew to Darwin this past week, narrowly avoiding the need to quarantine for two weeks. The Northern Territory government re-added regional Victoria was as a COVID-19 hotspot on September 24.
He said he simply had to return a negative test for coronavirus. His brother - a teacher in Geelong - was sent to the Howard Springs quarantine facility for an evening and was on the cusp of joining 20 people being sent back to Melbourne. He was eventually able to join Rowbottom without needing to quarantine.
Rowbottom said his ute and tools were being trucked north and he'd seek building work. "But if that doesn't work out I'm open to doing something different for the short-term," he said.
"I love my footy and it's just good to be here testing myself in what is a pretty strong league."
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