Cats eager for season restart

Macedon forward Jason Cooke in action. (Shawn Smits)

Oliver Lees

Macedon are holding on hope that footy will be back soon as they attempt to secure their first premiership since 2017 in the Riddell District Football League.

The Cats had played themselves into form with five consecutive wins before the season was put on hold in July due to COVID-19 restrictions.

They now sit in second place on the ladder with seven wins, one draw and one loss, just two points behind Wallan but with a game in hand.

Despite being based in regional Victoria where restrictions eased last week, the RDFL has not restarted matches due to the number of teams and players living in metropolitan areas.

Cats coach Al Meldrum said it had been difficult keeping the team’s spirits up as only half the team has been able to train.

“Even though we’re regionally based, a large percentage of our players come from metro areas so they don’t have access to the club or the ability to train,” he said.

“It’s hard to keep the drive, motivation and accountability up amongst the players.

“Our regional boys can train, so as a coach at the moment the most important thing is trying to make it enjoyable.

“It’s not just the physical aspect, but above the shoulder as well. We know how important it is for some guys to get down to the club and see some different faces.”

The RDFL is still deliberating on how it will schedule the rest of the season and finals.

When play does resume, Meldrum said he’s confident his side has what it takes to go all the way, given their strong performances against the league’s best side.

The Cats are the only side in the competition to topple Wallan this season, as they held the scoring juggernauts to just 62 points in a four point win.

They also got the best of third place Diggers and Romsey who sit in fifth position.

Macedon’s one loss of the year came against Woodend Hesket in round five, but they were able to turn it around when they faced them later in the season with a 98 point drubbing in round 10.

Jason Cooke was lively for the Cats in front of goal that day, slotting eight majors to take his season total to 29.

But Meldrum said it had been their defensive efforts that had been their focus as the season progressed.

“All we want is to be super competitive, by setting up well in the back end,” he said.

“Wallan is extremely powerful on offence, but we matched them in contested ball, and although there were limited opportunities, were able to take them when they were there.”

If the season is able to go ahead, Meldrum said, the off-field difficulties of this season would give added significance to a premiership run.

“All the stopping and starting, you realise how important it is to have community sport,” he said.

“I think whatever comes of this season, if there is a premiership up for grabs, it’ll be a pretty proud moment for whoever wins it.”