14 Jun Mayes runner salutes diverse forward line
Inverleigh speedster Nathan Mayes admits there’s an element of excitement ahead of tomorrow’s top of the table clash against Winchelsea.
“I think there’s actually a pretty big rivalry between us because we’re basically next door neighbours and we’re both on top of the ladder so it will be a pretty heated game,” Mayes said.
Usually the 24-year-old will attempt to hold off his Bell Post Hill (or Bannockburn) opponent when the spotlight is cast on his premiership contending line-up.
However the GDFL premiership race is now wide open in 2018 as the Blues hope to add to a club record eight game winning streak (having defeated Bannockburn, Thomson and BPH).
“Winchelsea were up the ladder the year I came (2014) but then they dropped away for a few years so it’s good that we’re not just playing Bell Post Hill at the top anymore,” he said.
Both sides could have entered the second half of the season undefeated if not for narrow defeats.
Nevertheless the Hawks should still enter tomorrow’s blockbuster as favourites given the absence of key Winchelsea defenders Sam Jackson, Dougal Morrison and Alexander Gubbins.
“We’re missing Jak (Kennedy Hunt) but our forward line has had more opportunities lately because he’s not there marking everything that comes our way,” Mayes playfully added.
“Honestly, our forward line has held up well the last few weeks and you only have to look at last week’s result where we didn’t have Jak (or Jason Bourke) and still won by 97 points.”
“No Jak, no Bourkey, no Casey Meehan, Justin DiBlasio, Mitch Elford or Toby Manganelli, Michael Grozdanovksi, Rob Logue; even Simon Seddon was missing but we still won.”
He continued, “These weren’t nine fringe players, they were key position players so our variability in our forward half with those guys unavailable has been key.”
Mayes may also be in contention for the GDFL team of the year after booting 28 goals from eight games.
Since returning from a shoulder injury which ruled him out of his side’s Round 6 win over Thomson, the former wingman has added 17 goals to his tally.
However when lining up on either Jonah McKenzie or Michael Bourdavalis tomorrow he will aim to rectify his recent conversion of 4.8 (against Geelong West).
“I just kept missing and had four behinds in the last quarter that day,” he recalled.
“Three of those were set shots and I just don’t know what happened, I must have just run out of legs.”
By Alex Tigani
GDFL Media (15/06/2018)