The Standard | NEWLY-appointed Terang Mortlake co-captain Jarryd Hay is adamant his side can again be in the thick of the action come finals in 2017.
The Bloods slipped to second-last on the Hampden senior football ladder last season as they struggled to recapture the form that saw them play in the preliminary final a year earlier.
But despite having just three wins to their name, the Bloods showed plenty of good signs – sealing results when they were in a position to win proved to be the sticking point.
“There were probably a lot of 50-50 games for us last year – there were three or four that, if we had’ve won, it would’ve been a completely different season,” Hay said.
“We lost a lot of games by less than a kick or two kicks. We had a bit of a talk about it and we put it down to more concentration (issues) than anything. That’s definitely a focus this year.”
Hay, 23, has returned to the Bloods’ leadership group this year and rocketed straight into the top job, which he will share with experienced utility Tyson Densley.
Bloods coach Michael Sargeant said with Densley based in Melbourne, Hay would provide the perfect balance for the role as a local.
“Tyson travels from Melbourne every week and we probably needed a local bloke to back him up,” Sargeant said.
“Jarryd is right in that age group, he’s got time to develop in that role.
“Tyson will be pretty close to 200 games played for the club now. He speaks really well and he’s got the backing of all the players.”
Sargeant said Hay, who won the club’s senior best and fairest award last season, already led by example on the field.
“He’s probably in the top two fittest at the club. His workrate and training – his training probably sets an example for some of the young blokes and some of the older blokes too,” the coach said.
For Hay, on a personal performance front, he is keen to ensure he picks up where he left off in 2016.
“I definitely don’t want to drop away,” he said.
“You look at the guys that have won the best and fairest at the club and you think they’re a cut above. I’m a little bit embarrassed about winning it (in that company), but I want to go out there this year and want to be able to perform as well as last year.”
Hay said he was excited to step into the co-captaincy and noted there was a “bit of a buzz” around the club as it looked to re-established itself in the echelon of finals contenders.
“We’re probably not renowned for our skill level as a club, but the thing about Terang Mortlake is everyone loves playing there,” he said.
Chris Baxter was named vice-captain, while Gus Bourke, Ryan O’Connor, Tom McKenzie and Tom Arundell round out the leadership group.