BEN COX’S shift to South Colac was the move he needed to rejuvenate his football career.
The 22-year-old spearhead is starring in his first season at Joiner Reserve.
His efforts earned him a call-up to train for a spot in the VCFL Two squad for tomorrow’s clash with the VAFA – although Cox, team-mate Clay Brewer and Irrewarra-Beeac coach Khan Beckett all fell short of the final cut.
“I was glad to get a call up and have a train, it was a great standard of footy and there were some good blokes up there,” Cox told the Colac Herald.
“But I guess you’re always fighting against other blokes for that one position, it was just unfortunate I didn’t make the side,” he said.
The invitation was no surprise to Colac district football followers.
Cox has knuckled down since making the switch from Alvie back in November to play under Stephen “Trunk” Hammond, and taken his game to new heights.
The result has been an impressive start to season 2011 – he has booted 43 goals at an average of just under six per game as the Roos’ go-to man up forward and leads the league’s goal-kicking tally.
Stints in the midfield have added versatility to Cox’s game and proved vital in close matches like South Colac’s one-point victory against Forrest.
“As soon as I signed, I was really excited, I was doing extra sessions at the gym by myself to keep my fitness up,” Cox said.
“I’m not really sure why, I guess it was because I was at a new club, I wanted to set goals for myself so I could rock up and be ready to go,” he said.
“I’m really liking South – Trunk has definitely got the experience behind him, he knows what he’s on about and he lets people know if they do things wrong.
“He’s made a huge difference at South Colac.”
Missing VCFL Two selection was not all bad news for Cox and Brewer – the pair are now available for the Roos’ blockbuster clash against Birregurra.
It’s a highly anticipated game for Cox having missed the teams’ undermanned round two encounter through suspension, when South Colac upset the flag favourite by five points.
“We want to finish top and be that number one team, we deserve to be there, we’ve put in the hard yards and we’re doing everything right so I reckon we can get up,” Cox said.
Big names in for rematch
LADDER-LEADERS Birregurra and South Colac will meet at full strength for the first time this season in tomorrow’s blockbuster clash.
The Roos took the honours in round two in a five-point thriller but both coaches – Saints’ Paul Lynch and South Colac’s Stephen Hammond – admitted they could take little from the result.
South Colac’s defence, led by Luke Mahoney and Josh Goonan, restricted Birregurra to 7.3 (45) – its lowest score of the season – to get their team over the line.
Roos Ben Cox, Rhys Tillack and Nick Dent and Saints Mick Davis, Sam Green, Mark Whelan and Luke Phillips are just a few big names who missed last time but are available for tomorrow’s clash at Joiner Reserve, while midfield recruit Jace Kelly will make a timely debut in the red, white and black.
Both clubs know the stakes with top place up for grabs for the winner.
“There’s been no bigger game since I’ve been at the club, the award for the winner is massive,” Lynch said.
“We’ve looked at the draw, we’ve both got one or two hard games so if we can get the win we’ll be a game clear and percentage on top, which is a massive advantage,” he said.
Hammond, who watched the Saints defeat Lorne during the Roos’ bye last round, said his team was more than capable of getting the job done.
But Hammond will miss the clash with VCFL One representative commitments leaving duties to assistant coaches Clay Brewer and Ash Cole.
“It’s the same as when we played them in round two, they’re top of the ladder and we’re ready to step up against the best,” he said.
“We’ve beat them once already, I didn’t go on about what injuries we had, I was just rapt we had a win.”
South Colac’s Mick Baker and Zac Hammond will return to the senior team following injury, while Birregurra big man Tom Grayling, Phillips and Tom Kininmonth will rejoin the Saints.