Hi Justin, lets start with a bit about yourself....
I’m 32 years old (apparently the oldest on the list), grew up on a dairy farm just outside of a little town called Heywood in South-West Victoria. To pay the bills I work as a Physical Education Teacher at Caulfield Grammar School. I live with my partner Brigid and my border collie dog Nelson.
Excellent, You recently competed in your first Ironman, tell us a bit about that and have you seen / felt any changes to your football after that type of training?
To complete a full Ironman has been a bucket list item of mine for a few years now, as I believe it is the single hardest thing a person can undertake in a day, and I definitely wasn't wrong. The final 42km run home was by far the toughest part of the day and clearly the most I’ve ever had to battle my with own demons, but the feeling when crossing that finish line at the end was well worth it. I definitely feel that my ability to run out games was strong during the first couple of games, however the shift of intensity between the ironman and football has taken a little to get used too.
Congratulations and Well done... Ok, tell us a bit about your football career thus far
Footy has been pretty good to me over the years and provided me with some great opportunities. I started out playing junior football back home in Heywood when I was 14. From there I was fortunate enough to play a few years of TAC Football with the North Ballarat Rebels, before moving into the senior ranks where I have been lucky enough to play in the VFL, WAFL, SANFL and AFL (North Melbourne) systems. Before arriving here at The Blues in 2015, I have spent the past 2 seasons playing with a number of my close mates at Newton/Chilwell in the Geelong Football League.
You came to Waverley as Fitness coach as well as player, tell us your thoughts on what sort of condition the boys were when you got here vs now.
The boys certainly put in a big effort when it came to improving the overall fitness of the group throughout the summer. I had seen video footage of a couple of the games last season and felt that when the boys got to the contest they would more often than not win the ball, however in certain phases of the game we were just not getting enough numbers to the contests. Therefore, this was a big focus area of our pre-season running and I think the efforts over the first 3 rounds have shown that this so far has been a reasonably successful approach. What impressed me the most over the summer was the willingness of each and every player to push themselves as hard as they could during the running sessions, regardless of the level of fitness they were at. Not once did I hear one player whinge about how hard they were being worked, despite the obvious discomfort I could see they were in.
As fitness coach, do you and the other coaches have a plan going forward on the work load for the boys.
The focus shifts now on to getting the boys quickly recovered and ready to train throughout the week. We still have plenty of areas in our game we need to improve and if we want to challenge the better teams in the competition, we need to have as many numbers as possible on the track on both Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Agreed.... Who has impressed you most on the track so far and why?
The entire group. Like I mentioned earlier, the effort the entire group put in over the summer was first class and I really hope the boys can continue to maintain this effort to ensure they get the rewards at the end of the season they are worthy of.
not naming names!!! oh well... So How have you find your time in general at the club so far?
I have really enjoyed my transition into the club. There is no doubt it has taken me awhile to get to know each and every name, but I have definitely felt at home since the first night I arrived at training. I think the club has a good balance of age groups, which will hopefully hold us in good shape throughout the duration of the season.
You came across knowing our senior coach Ben Carboni, tell us the link there and how are you finding playing under him as coach?
I first met Carbs when I arrived to play at Caulfield Grammarians in the VAFA back in 2010. The following year we were fortunate enough to win a flag together and there is no doubt that is what has made us the great mates we are today. I would challenge anyone to find a bloke who gives more of his heart and soul to something than what he does to this club. He lives and breathes it and after living with him throughout 2014 I have an even greater appreciation for just how professional he is in his approach. There is no doubt that at times he likes to think he is big and tough, but deep down he is just a good guy with a big heart.
Ben will love that Air time...! What are your thoughts on the clubs start to the year on field and also going forward
Its been a good start to the season and if someone said I’ll give you 2 and 1 by round 3 we wouldn't have hesitated to take it. Personally, I was shattered to miss the Doncaster East game through injury. Even though we went down in the last minute of the game, the effort put in by the 22 that took the field that day was enormous. If the boys can continue to display that kind of approach every time they take the field this year then we will definitely win a lot more games than we will lose.
Thanks for your time Justin, good luck for the rest of the year and its great to have you on board!!
Cheers... Go Blues!