Blues reap rewards from college connections

April 21, 2022 BY

Ten new recruits made their club debut for Winchelsea in round one this season, as the club remains a destination for Geelong-based tertiary students. Photo: SUPPLIED

COUNTRY boys moving to the big smoke for study has proved a bountiful recruiting ground for Winchelsea, which has welcomed 10 footballers on the eve of the season.

A host of new players arrived at the club from Waurn Ponds’ Marcus Oldham College and Deakin University ahead of the opening bounce of 2022, continuing a well-trodden pathway from the institutions to Winch.

The club has strengthened its relationships with the schools and its students in recent years to ensure a steady influx of players to Eastern Reserve to boost player numbers, as regional clubs faced increasing difficulty to field two senior sides each weekend.

Players from interstate as far as Western Australia and elsewhere in Victoria have made the shift to the Blues for a kick after moving to Geelong for their studies.

Winchelsea president Daniel Greskie said the club’s connection with the school had only become more important this year, after a number of local footballers decided to step away from the sport following two years of COVID disruptions.

“We’ve had a connection with Marcus Oldham for a few years where the boys come across,” he said.

“It’s been happening for five or six years. The guys come to school and the closest country club is Winch.

“(The players) are a perfect fit for us. Most of them come from country footy clubs and country towns, so they mix in with our boys that are like-minded.

“They fit in really well and match our age demographic.”

Greskie said the club was in a strong position for player numbers early in the season, with a surplus of players to pick from on its current list.

He said the Blues would continue working to retain and boost numbers, especially during holidays later in the year when students return to their home towns.

New recruits have brought a mixed bag of results to start the 2022 season; the Blues earned a round one win against Anakie but suffered a heavy defeat to Geelong West under lights in round two.

Winchelsea’s footballers return to the field this weekend away to Corio, against a Devils side seeking its first win of the season.

Inverleigh and Bannockburn face off in a clash of league heavyweights on Anzac Day to headline round three of the season.

In Saturday’s GDFL fixtures, East Geelong will aim to continue its hot start against North Geelong, Thomson hosts Belmont, Bell Post Hill plays Werribee, while Geelong West welcomes Anakie for a twilight fixture.