K rock Football

Character above talent for Grove

Darcy McDowell flies for a mark for Bell Park. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

OCEAN Grove has prioritised character over talent as it looks to ensure its 2021 season wasn’t a flash in the plan.

The Grubbers defied the pre-season predictions of many so-called experts to snatch a finals berth and steamroll Anglesea in the elimination final in what proved to be the final match of local football in the region for the year.

Football boss Cam McGregor has confirmed the signing of eight players, including four with GFL senior experience.

Dylan Moroney returns from Leopold and has brought Josh Horton with him, while Hamish Cunningham and Darcy McDowell arrive from Bell Park and Tyson Ruck from South Barwon.

The Grubbers have also landed a quartet of youngsters from Ovens and Murray League club Wangaratta Rovers – Lachie Bedendo, Bryn D’Arcy, Ed Dayman and Jacob Talarico.

Dayman seems the most likely of that group to impact Bellarine level, having 28 senior matches to his name.

And late on Monday night, Ocean Grove landed the signature of NT product Jonty Patrick.

Patrick, who spent time with SANFL club Norwood and NAB League team Calder Cannons, is playing at Palmerston with young Grubbers Kobe Annand and Max Sutton.

“We’ve been very selective on finding the right character of person first,” McGregor said. “Age demographic’s probably second, then football ability third.

“A couple of guys have come that have been involved in the club before.

“Dylan Moroney’s back, and he’s brought Josh Horton from Leopold. Hamish Cunningham has family at the club already with cousin Noah, and he’s brought a mate in Darcy McDowell.

“Tyson Ruck’s girlfriend is playing netball (at Ocean Grove).

“And the four boys from Wangaratta Rovers, one of them knows Will Brohm from representative basketball up bush.

“We’ve done our homework, we know they’re going to fit into the age demographic, and we know they’re going to fit in character-wise.”


Ocean Grove has farewelled three players, with veteran Jake Ward retiring, 2021 recruit Tom Waters travelling around Australia next year, and youngster Sam Donegan joining GFL club St Albans.

“Jake’s shoulder towards the end of the year, he was battling a bit and battling a bit of motivation as well.

“So he’s decided to give the game away, but if he gets keen (to play again), he’s committed to Ocean Grove.”

McGregor says Donegan goes with the Grubbers’ blessings.

“We’re big believers, being a Bellarine club, to promote the good kids and give them opportunities if they’re ready to go,” he said.

“We say, ‘good luck. We hope you go well. But when you come back, do what Dylan Moroney’s done, and come back with a mate.”

In other local football recruiting news, Anglesea has landed 198cm ruckman Jamesa Moverley from VAFA Division 1 club Brunswick.

Moverley finished runner-up in the club’s best-and-fairest this year.

And GDFL club Thomson has added Steve Salajan and Sam Green from Colac and District league club Birregurra.

Twitter: @tom_king79