Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ryan keeps finger on pulse

Goulburn Valley interleague coach Travis Ryan doesn’t want to get too excited about the big guns returning to country Victoria’s No. 1 competition.

MARC MCGOWAN November 7, 2012 4:05am

Tyson Sidebottom will not only boost Shepparton Swans’ fortunes, but also those of Goulburn Valley.

Goulburn Valley interleague coach Travis Ryan doesn’t want to get too excited about the big guns returning to country Victoria’s No. 1 competition.

Ryan knows all too well how quickly it can all go wrong in the weeks leading up the VCFL Country Championships.

But the former Tatura great did concede, not even two months since the Bulldogs won the premiership, Goulburn Valley Football League clubs had made a great start to their recruiting campaign.

‘‘We had a fair turnover last year and we’ll probably turnover a few again this year, but there have been a few very good additions so far, especially so early,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘Usually, you wait until after Christmas to get confirmation on a few, but the (Shepparton) Swans have done really well, recruiting-wise, so far.

‘‘Dan Lovick is, obviously, a super player and so is Tyson (Sidebottom).’’

A raft of players withdrew in Ryan’s first stint in the job this year, but he still led Goulburn Valley to a 13-point win over Mornington Peninsula Nepean.

Goulburn Valley will aim to match arch-rival Ovens and Murray’s record of four straight VCFL Country Championships titles against Geelong next year.

Victoria Country representative Lovick already looms as Goulburn Valley’s trump card, having won Geelong Football League’s past two Mathieson medals.

The defender was also best afield in Geelong’s interleague triumph against Ballarat this year.

Among the stars set to return to GVFL ranks next season are midfielder Sidebottom (Swans), full-forward Jason Eagle and backman David Gillespie (Shepparton United) and on-baller Simon Seddon (Kyabram).

The league’s major losses so far are Victoria Country captain and Rochester’s 2010 Morrison medallist Guy Campbell (Echuca United) and tough Mooroopna midfielder Wayne Patak (Aberfeldie).

Kyabram key-position player Nathan Beck, a regular Goulburn Valley representative, has also signed with VFL club Bendigo Gold.

‘‘It’s, obviously, a big loss with Guy going back to Echuca United, but that was always going to happen at some stage,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘Guy’s always been terrific as far as interleague goes.

‘‘He’s a super player and a terrific fella, so he’s going to be a big loss, but it’s an opportunity for someone else to step into the breach.’’

Ryan has not given up hope of having Tatura veterans Linc Wellington and Paul Kirby at his disposal.

He also said he would again give opportunities to the league’s most promising young players.

‘‘Geelong will be very keen to take the (No.1) mantle,’’ he said.

‘‘They have been working on it for a few years, but, obviously, they’ve got to beat us to get there and we’re going to have a good side again.

‘‘It should be a cracking game of footy.’’

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