K rock Football

Jak’s back in action

Winchelsea recruit Jak Kennedy Hunt and Blues’ coach Brendan Forssman. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

A FRIENDSHIP forged during the GDFL’s 2018 interleague campaign has helped Winchelsea coach Brendan Forssman land former Inverleigh forward Jak Kennedy Hunt.

The 2017 Whitley medallist and GDFL leading goalkicker, who hasn’t played since late last year after suffering a range of injuries including a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, was unveiled by the Blues on Wednesday night.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him, and I think he’s one of the most respected coaches in Geelong,” Kennedy Hunt said of Forssman.

“I think he’s on a very good page regarding football and his football club, and he’s got a great list.

“Plus, with my Dad suffering motor neurone disease, with the fundraising, ‘Foss’ and ‘Macca’ (former Inverleigh coach Mark McDowell) were the first two blokes who got behind that and supported it.

“Even when I got injured and was in hospital for surgery, Brendan was messaging me.

“I think people’s true colours show through when you’re in a spot.”

Kennedy Hunt, 30, who played one game for Winchelsea in 2011, also had to recover from fractures to femur and tibia.

“My surgeon, Ben Miller, did a really good job,” Kennedy Hunt said. “I needed surgery pretty much straight away.

“I got in and got it done as quick as I could. About three months after surgery, I went back to work, and being on the tools and walking around on job sites has helped my muscle hold a bit of strength.

“I haven’t lost too much.”

In each of Forssman’s two years in charge, Winchelsea has made a flying start to the season.

At the halfway mark last year, the Blues were second on the ladder with an 8-1 win-loss record, while this year they were fourth having posted six wins, two losses and a draw.

However, on both occasions, they have fallen short of playing finals.

It’s a record Kennedy Hunt is keen to help Winchelsea change.

“At their best, and with the coach and strategy-wise, I think they can take it up to anyone,” he said.

“I think with a couple of more mature heads around the club, and a little bit of composure, it will make a big difference.”

Forssman says he and Kennedy Hunt have been in discussions about linking up for 12 months.

He admits expectations will grow with the signing.

“But our expectations are high after where we finished the last two years,” Forssman said.

“I think last year (2018) when we finished sixth, the boys were kind of happy to almost make finals.

“Whereas this year, they were really disappointed not to make finals.

“There’s a change in mindset already from the previous year. I’m expecting us to really improve next year.

“I think that this year, some of the young boys thought on talent alone that improvement would come and we’d jump a couple of places on the ladder.

“It didn’t happen, so now they understand it takes a bit more than talent and there’s got to be a bit of hard work attached to it.”

With Kennedy Hunt to play at full-forward, Forssman says it will result in a change of roles for some players.

“That allows us to move Will Ford up the ground a little bit and present him with some more midfield time as well,” he said.

“And with ‘Fordy’ being that bigger body, that’s not going to hurt us in the midfield; it was probably an area we need to get better at.”

Forssman also confirmed the Blues are on the hunt for a ruckman following the retirement of 2009 Geelong premiership big Mark Blake.

Twitter: @tom_king79
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