It’s back to the future for Melton Centrals, with Ray Martin again taking on the coaching role at the AFL Goldfields Women’s club.
Having coached the side for three years, including its inaugural season, Martin remained involved around the club even after he stopped coaching.
When asked whether he was interested in coaching the side again this year, he jumped at the opportunity.
He said a lot had changed since last time he coached.
“I loved it back in those days, but you would only get four or five people at training, so you couldn’t do much,” he said. “The first time we had a full team in 2007 was in the grand final.
“Now we’re getting 21 at training. It’s really exciting.
“The girls are keen and we’ve got some youth coming through.
“There’s plenty of mothers getting involved, too.”
Martin said the club had 28 players on its list, including about 10 new faces – but more were welcome.
“We held a practice match and there was some players pulling out, so I thought we would have about 14 or 15,” he said. “We ended up having 21 players. It’s really good.
“We start training at 6.30 every night, but everyone is getting there early to work on their skills.”
Martin said the vibe at the club had been good with the players enjoying learning to work together.
He said there was a number of mums in the side, with their children coming down to training as well, which made them feel more included.
Martin said he was excited about what the Centrals could achieve this season.
“We have a lot of new girls in the side,” he said. “It’s more about teaching them a little bit more. With so many good numbers in the team, it helps the newer players. Watching the practice match, we put plans in place and they were executed.”
Centrals finished their pre-season on a high in the form of a big win against Bacchus Marsh in their second practice match.
Centrals start their season this weekend on the road against Lake Wendouree.
The competition will again be one division with 10 teams.
Melton Centrals will have a cross-town rivalry, with Melton fielding a senior women’s team for the first time.
Martin said it was encouraging to see that there was another team in Melton and it was a match to which his players looking forward.
In other first-round matches, Bacchus Marsh will host Darley in a derby, while Melton will make its debut against Gisborne