Joe Medew-Ewen reflects on his two years in South Australia fondly, proud of living out a dream but hungrier to keep pushing ahead.
The 24-year-old Port Fairy spinner understands the work is ahead of him to add to his sole Sheffield Shield appearance - which came for South Australia in 2021 - as he gears up for a return to Victorian cricket this season.
In the match against New South Wales, the emerging tweaker snared 2-105 and 1-60, picking up wickets of Australian great David Warner, all-rounder Sean Abbott and two-time Test batter Kurtis Patterson.
"Playing that sole Shield game at 23 really motivates me - I feel like there's a lot of good cricket ahead of me," he told The Standard.
"I don't want to have that high point of my career at 23 when I've got so many good years to go. Those four days were incredibly fun, even if you take one wicket or none, it was just a great experience for me.
"It's keeping me hungry and motivated that's for sure."
He said his time in Adelaide - which also included 87 wickets for Port Adelaide and seven second XI wickets for South Australia - was a blessing for his career.
"Without COVID I wouldn't have left Victoria, but in terms of my cricket it's probably the two seasons I needed to be a better cricketer to be honest," he said.
"Being in a high performance environment was great and to train with professional cricketers, play state cricket and second XI, I needed it to get better.
"I feel pretty fortunate."
The Warrnambool and District export is clearly in the sights of Victorian selectors this season after being named in the Cricket Victoria Emerging Performers Squad this week, which will train at the CitiPower Centre in the lead up to the season.
"It's a good opportunity - we started last week with training, it's a really good intensity, you get a lot out of the sessions with batting, bowling, fielding and into gym," he said.
He said getting back to basics with his Premier club Northcote, playing with his mates and pushing for finals success was the goal, acknowledging those factors go hand-in-hand with potential Victorian selection.
He snared 33 wickets from 15 matches in his last season in Victoria for the Dragons and looms as a vital addition for the club with the return of two-day cricket.
"They (Northcote) had two similar seasons where with COVID they were flying and just fell away," he said. "Going forward with what I want, my main goal is to help get Northcote back to finals.
"Last time I was there we were about to play in a prelim and COVID hit - that's my main focus this season. I want to get back to that."
Medew-Ewen - who is studying sports psychology outside of cricket - said the writing was on the wall last season in Adelaide and knew the time had come to return home.
"I was definitely ready to return home - based around what South Australia was doing, who they were playing (in Shield), I wasn't really part of their plans," he said.
"Once i knew I was on the outer I decided it was better to go back to Northcote which feels like a home for me.
"There wasn't a certain moment or a particular discussions but in the build-up to the second half of last season it was obvious I wasn't really in the frame - I just knew I was on the outer.
"I was then really excited to come back home and get back to playing with my friends at Northcote. I know I'll play a lot better when I know I'm enjoying it."
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