Q1. Tell us about your early days growing up and playing cricket.
A2. I grew up in Colac playing cricket from as early as I can remember. As I got older I played for Colac Cricket Club and then was lucky enough to move to Geelong Grammar at the age of 14 where I would have a number of battles with Hosko, Wink Simpson, Barry and Silky Bingham (Geelong Grammar 3 wins – Geelong College 0 wins).
Q2. How did you find Newtown and Chilwell Cricket Club?
A2. Damian Shanahan was at the club in a playing/coaching role with Marc Carson in the 2014/15 season, so I played the back half of that season before moving to Melbourne following that summer.
Q3. You’ve been playing Premier cricket with Camberwell, what brings you back to the GCA?
A3. I loved my time at Newtown in 2014/15 and always thought that when the time was right, I would find myself back at the club. With family moving to Ocean Grove I wanted to be back in Geelong more often and when I looked closely at the list, I could see that it was full of great blokes and a squad capable of winning premierships in the near future. I loved my time at Camberwell Cricket Club and learnt a lot which I will hopefully bring to the Two-Blues this year.
Q4. You’ve obviously played against some pretty good cricketers in recent years, who are the best you’ve come up against.
A4. Will Pucovski comes straight to mind from Melbourne CC, his discipline and timing are a class above. Trent Lawford from Fitzroy and Evan Gulbis from Carlton hit the ball as hard as I’ve seen … unfortunately I’ve been on the wrong end of a few of their big scores.
Q5. Who has had the most influence on you in your cricket so far?
A5. Damian Shanahan has been huge for me both on and off the cricket field. I was lucky enough to play under him at Geelong Grammar and with him at Newtown. His ability to analyse a situation in a game or at training and communicate it so clearly makes him a great coach and mentor.
Q6. What makes a good leader in sport, and particularly in cricket?
A6. What I said about Shannas being able to analyse a situation and then know how to communicate to each individual is huge. Not everyone responds to the same type of communication, so it is figuring out what makes each individual tick. In saying that, successful teams require multiple leaders, not just one.
Q7. What are your ambitions and goals in your time as captain of the NCCC First XI?
A7. Create a culture and brand of cricket that will win Premierships. That requires the first picked player in the First XI and the last picked player in the juniors to be working together. No one individual is bigger than another.
Q8. Is there a brand of cricket we can expect the First XI to be playing this summer?
A8. A brand that is disciplined and adaptable. It sounds boring but not every game is going to be about blasting teams out and scoring 300 with the bat. Sometimes the best wins can be the ugly ones where you defend 150.
Q9. How do the facilities at Queens Park and KFC Oval compare with those in Premier cricket?
A9. The outfield and social rooms are just as good if not better than Premier cricket facilities. The new change rooms with ice-baths are something that we are extremely lucky to have. I haven’t been able to see the turf wicket yet. Obviously, some Premier Grounds like the Junction and Albert hold state matches so they are in elite condition. As I said in the last questions though: If the conditions don’t suit you need to be able to adapt and find a way.
Q10. You’ve already played a season with the club, so we’d expect you’d already have at least one Russell Mitchell story already.
A10. Seeing his car get hit at deep square leg in a 20/20 and him somehow blame his son Sam for it still makes me laugh now. Surely, he still doesn’t sit up on the balcony and tell the square leg when his decisions are wrong or not?