Ocean Grove, seen here in action against Barwon Heads last year.

Grubbers get back on the training track

June 5, 2020 BY

OCEAN Grove coach Pete Davey admits the shutdown of the Bellarine Football League season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard for him to build relationships with players and staff at his new club. Davey, who was appointed to the top job at Ray Menzies Oval last September, was less than three weeks away from guiding the Grubbers into battle for the first time when matches were called off.
“It’s been really difficult,” he said. “We had a great (pre-season) camp, and we shared a lot of information about myself and about the players in front of each other, and set the tone for what the next period of time would look like.
“The last couple of months, we had regular Zoom meetings at the start, and you could see the motivation of the guys start to drop off a little bit.
“The first night, we had 40 people tuning in, and you see the numbers start to dwindle.
“You do what you can by text message and phone and social media.
“But, there’s nothing like sitting down (and) having a coffee with someone or putting your arm around them when you’re at training and having a chat and asking them how they’re going.”
Ocean Grove was one of a handful of BFL clubs to take advantage of the easing of restrictions and returned to training last week.
Davey labelled the first night “one of the more bizarre training sessions” he’d been involved in.
“(It had) a funny feel around it,” Davey said. “But (it was) just great to catch up with everyone.
“And once the footy starts spinning around and the banter picks up again, and guys get to see each other, that’s what it was all about.
“It wasn’t about skills or fitness or anything like that; it was about getting the guys back together again.”
A decision from AFL Barwon on the BFL and Geelong Football League getting underway was yet to be made at the time of going to print.
A scheduled meeting of the AFL Barwon Commission on June 9 has been set as the deadline for the final call.
Davey is leaning towards the season not going ahead.
“It’s doing everyone’s heads in at the moment not knowing what’s going to happen,” he said.
“I would love to say there will be senior footy, but I’m probably 20 per cent ‘yes’ and 80 per cent ‘no’.”

Tom King is the editor of krockfootball.com.au. Visit the site for more regional football coverage.