K rock Football

Joeys welcome top-six call

St Joseph’s coach Paul Carson. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

IT won’t come as a surprise to anyone that St Joseph’s is more than happy at AFL Barwon’s decision to implement a top-six finals series if the GFL season can resume in the coming weeks.

Joeys were sitting sixth on the ladder when the latest COVID-19 enforced halt to the season was announced last Friday.

At the time, they were preparing for a final-round meeting with the winless St Albans that would have seen them likely climb the loser of the South Barwon-Geelong West match-up into the top five.

“We’re happy it’s played out this way given – nothing against St Albans – we felt like it was four points there ready for us to take,” coach Paul Carson said.

“Not playing the last round of the season was really going to hurt us.

“And I reckon South Barwon and Geelong West will be pretty happy with the result also.”

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St Joseph’s has an impressive recent record against the Swans, winning 13 consecutive meetings since 2014.

That streak includes a 38-point win on Anzac Day this year.

However, Carson believes that will mean little if the two clubs renew acquaintances in the coming weeks.

“Given the circumstances, I feel like it counts for nothing,” he said.

“Given the layoff, whenever it happens to be that we do play them – it might two, three, four weeks – I think it really just evens the playing field with all games.

“I wouldn’t be looking too far into the archives to see what the record is.”

The clash with the Supersaints would have allowed Geelong VFL star Jackson McLachlan to qualify for any finals series.

However, he will fall one game short of the three-match threshold.

“That is a disappointing thing, for Jacko, and for us because all these young guys want to do is play footy,” Carson said.

“It’s not ideal, but we’re not the only club. I’m sure it probably affects a few others clubs as well.

“It would be great if they reduced the games (qualification).

Cal Mitchell and James Gow have qualified, while Nick Burke would become available if metro and country restrictions are eased at the same time.

MEANWHILE, Carson has confirmed assistant coach Garry Hocking won’t play any further part in St Joseph’s 2021 campaign.

Hocking was appointed coach of Leopold on August 20.

“That was a mutual decision between our footy club and ‘Buddha’ and myself,” Carson. “We had long chats around it.

“Given the layoff that we’ve had over the last few weeks and potentially continue to have, we thought it was good timing.

“He will be able to get stuck into Leopold and get things in motion out there.

“Buddha’s been fantastic for us, and for me, and we wish him all the best.”

Twitter: @tom_king79