K rock Football

GFL chases redemption

GFL captain Jai Thompson in action during the 2017 AFL Victoria Community Championships win over Mornington Peninsula. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

JAI Thompson didn’t expect the GFL’s shot at redemption to come so soon.

Trudging off Etihad (Marvel) Stadium after losing its ranking as the No.1 community competition in Victoria to the Eastern league, Thompson and his teammates were resigned to playing in a 3v4 game this year.

However, with Eastern choosing to withdraw from the concept for this year, the GFL play Northern for the mantle at KFC Oval on Saturday.

Thompson, who has been named as captain for a second season, can still remember the disappointment at the GFL’s seven-game winning streak being halted.

“I spoke to the boys after the game and said we had to work hard to get it (the No.1 ranking) back now,” he recalled.

“I think we’ve trained pretty well the last few weeks … and I think we’ll put our best foot forward to get that title back.

“I thought it was going to be a tougher road back. Eastern pulling out, for us, was a good result.

“It gives a chance to get the title back this year rather than having to wait two years.

“It gives us a quicker (chance at) redemption.”

GFL: COMMUNITY CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM

For Thompson and a number of his GFL teammates, the match-up with Northern will be the first time many have experienced the vast expanses of KFC Oval.

“We trained here on Tuesday night, and playing some match sim(ulation) against BFL, we worked out how wide it was,” the Leopold star said.

“The boys are going to have to work hard, especially through the midfield, through the wings, half-backs and half-forwards.

“To try and get wide and bring the ball back through the middle’s going to be crucial, and to get it down to our forwards as quickly as possible.”

The GFL was forced into late additions to their squad on Thursday night, with Jackson McLachlan and Luke Smith required for VFL duty, and Jack Blood (concussion) and Zac Morison (knee) also withdrawing.

St Joseph’s forward Curtis McCarthy, who has played two games with Geelong’s VFL team as 23rd man, will play, while Newtown & Chilwell’s Jacob Sharp is the emergency.

Twitter: @tom_king79