Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mellington rapt to pull on Saints jumper again

Josh Mellington was delighted to return home at the weekend and help his old club Benalla post a win against Shepparton United in Goulburn Valley Football League.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 10, 2014 3:10am

Ex-Fremantle small forward Josh Mellington booted five goals on his return to Benalla.

Ex-Fremantle forward Josh Mellington relished pulling on the boots for his old club Benalla on Saturday.

In a rare appearance for the Saints, Mellington, 21, booted five goals in the tense 19-point Goulburn Valley Football League win against Shepparton United at Deakin Reserve.

VFL side Essendon had a bye at the weekend, leaving Mellington free to play for Benalla and it may not be the last the unbeaten GVFL ladder-leader sees of him this season.

‘‘I haven’t played at the footy club for five-odd years, so it’s good to be back around the grassroots and all the boys I sort of grew up with playing,’’ Mellington said.

‘‘When I was back playing we were getting hidings by 100 points, so now it’s good to be back on top and actually getting four points.

‘‘Hopefully with a few more (VFL) byes later in the year I should be able to get back and maybe qualify for finals.’’

The way Essendon’s season is going, he could well be free in September — the Bombers are 12th on the ladder, with three wins from eight games.

Mellington grew up playing for Violet Town and spent his two TAC Cup seasons at Benalla when he wasn’t playing for Murray Bushrangers.

He joined the Dockers via the 2010 National Draft and made six AFL appearances, but requested a trade back to Victoria and was delisted at the end of last season.

He nominated for last year’s draft, but later withdrew after only Fremantle expressed interest in reselecting him and joined Essendon’s VFL side.

‘‘It was all about coming back home, being around family and friends and that sort of thing,’’ he said.

‘‘I enjoyed my three years (at Fremantle) and learned a lot under some quality coaches, Rossy Lyon and these sort of guys, and I can’t speak highly enough of how good a club they are and how they developed me.’’

The hard-at-it small forward-midfielder still harbours ambitions of an AFL return, but wasn’t thinking too far ahead.

‘‘It’s all about the process really and if you worry about the end result too much you let it get out of sight a bit, so you’ve just got to worry about playing good footy and enjoying your footy as I am at the minute and let that do the talking,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re struggling a bit at Essendon and personally I’m struggling being a forward and not winning many games it’s hard to get involved as much, but it’s good to come back (to Benalla) and be part of the guys and freshen up and go and play some good footy back in the VFL.’’

It’s clear Mellington enjoys the opportunity to get home when he can.

A keen cricketer, Mellington played for Benalla and represented Benalla District Cricket Association at Melbourne Country Week last season.

His younger brother Nick captains the Bushrangers and was an emergency for Victoria Country’s AFL Under-18 Championships clash with Victoria Metro on Sunday.

Mellington was hopeful of finally playing a senior game with his brother this year.

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