Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ellis relishes his big challenges

Young Congupna footballer Harry Ellis has quickly made an impression this season playing superb games against three ex-AFL players.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 1, 2014 3:15am

Harry Ellis has played three senior games since joining Congupna and matched up on an ex-AFL player in each of them.

What do Brad Dick, Troy Taylor and Tim Hargreaves have in common?

As well as being ex-AFL players, they have all had their colours lowered by one of Murray Football League’s most exciting young defenders.

After making two senior appearances in the past seasons at Goulburn Valley Football League club Benalla, Harry Ellis already has three under his belt at new club Congupna and three major scalps to show for it.

Ellis, 19, moved onto Rumbalara star Dick midway through the round one clash at Memorial Park and kept the former Collingwood and West Coast forward in check.

He got the job on one-time Richmond forward Taylor against Mulwala the following week, before going toe-to-toe with ex-Geelong and Hawthorn forward Tim Hargreaves in last Saturday’s upset win against Barooga.

Talk about being thrown in the deep end.

‘‘It’s been a bit of a big step,’’ Ellis said.

‘‘It’s been great fun though and a good experience, I’ve learned a bit off them. The way they handle the ball and get to the ball, just game smarts.

‘‘I just try and watch where the other bloke is going to kick it to and cut them off before they can get to it.’’

Ellis said Taylor was the toughest opponent he had come up against and the beauty of country footy was the competitive, but social nature of the game.

‘‘I’m a mad Collingwood supporter, so I had a bit of a chat to (Brad) ... during the game while the ball was up the other end of the ground, he was telling me what it was like at Collingwood and stuff, he was a great bloke,’’ he said.

‘‘(Troy) was a bit taller than the other two, so I struggled to reach over him a bit and he was pretty quick too.’’

Ellis’ arrival at The Road was seen as a bonus as he followed older and more decorated brother Jack to the club, but Congupna coach Kevin O’Donoghue has been delighted with the young player’s progression.

‘‘He’s come straight out of under-18s from the GVFL and he’s been in our best every week,’’ O’Donoghue said.

‘‘He’s so acrobatic, he does some things and you think ‘gosh, how did he do that?’

‘‘He’s young and fit and strong, he’s just got a lot of inexperience about his game he needs to work on and we’ve been working on those areas, particularly his decision making, but he makes up with it with some of his efforts, he’s a pleasure to watch.’’

This week’s opponent Finley doesn’t boast any AFL experience in its ranks — non-playing coach Damian Sexton aside — but the Cats aren’t short on players Ellis could match up on, with silky forward-on-baller Reid Crowe a distinct possibility.

Ellis said he was enjoying his time at Congupna and the chance to play senior football and was looking forward to the challenges ahead.

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