After going through some testing times during the past few years Shepparton captain Rhys O'Sullivan finally had something to celebrate on Friday night when the Bears broke a long losing streak.DAMEN FRANCIS April 29, 2014 3:10am
Rhys O’Sullivan has been tested more than most footballers in the past three years.
The no-nonsense defender captained Shepparton throughout one of the darkest periods in the club’s proud history and finally had cause to celebrate in the wake of Friday night’s drought-breaking Goulburn Valley Football League win against Mooroopna.
‘‘It’s been a long time coming and it’s certainly a great relief for the group to have that first win,’’ O’Sullivan said.
‘‘We’ve been working really hard over summer and it’s good reward for the players, coaching staff and supporters.
‘‘To see the look on players’ and supporters’ faces after the game was a really good feeling and something we haven’t felt for a while.’’
The barren run stretched back to round 16, 2012 and after a 134-point hiding at the hands of Shepparton Swans in round one it appeared the streak was unlikely to end anytime soon.
But the Bears took significant strides against Shepparton United the following week and carried that momentum into the Anzac Day clash with the Cats.
They were rewarded with a deserved win and O’Sullivan admitted a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of the club’s leaders.
‘‘It’s been a massive challenge, one of the hardest things I’ve faced in footy,’’ he said.
‘‘Being the captain of the club you want to be seen to be leading the way and doing the right things and you want to be contributing to the side personally as well, so it has been a bit of a juggling act.
‘‘I’ve learnt a lot not just last year, but the last three or four years I’ve been in the role. Not only knowing the right times to go and speak to your teammates who might be down, but you have to try and keep yourself up as well and that’s been a real challenge.
‘‘I’ve been fortunate enough to have Nick Allan as vice-captain. He’s certainly carried a fair bulk of the workload in the midfield the last three or four years and it’s been good to feed off him and the likes of Sean (Harrap) and Rowan (Hiscock) as well, because they’re also great leaders.’’
The return of players like Tom Thorsen and Will Patone has boosted the playing stocks, but the arrival of experienced coach Brad Campbell was the key acquisition..
O’Sullivan said the belief he had instilled in the young group was significant.
‘‘Brad’s been fantastic from the moment he set foot in the club,’’ he said.
‘‘He works really hard and puts a lot of time into us as individuals and as a team. He’s been really good not only for the younger players, but also for us older players that have been here the last four or five years.
‘‘If players got into any bad habits with training or anything like that he hit it on the head early and the environment has really changed.
‘‘We’ve certainly got a lot of hard work and a long way to go yet, but the players feel we are headed in the right direction and we certainly buy into the game plan that Brad’s got and we can see where we’re going.’’
The Bears meet winless Seymour on Saturday.
The redevelopment of Shepparton Library, which will feature accessible shelving, a teen-specific area, a Skype booth and internet-enabled work stations, will be completed in the next two months.
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
The Kiss Angels, 50 Shades of Hope team have come up with a creative way of fundraising for the Relay for Life, a purple potty.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
TRUCKtalk magazine all the rage with local truck drivers.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
An unknown sum of money was stolen from Benalla Golf Club this morning after thieves broke into its gaming room.
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