Selwood eyes QEO return
From Bendigo Advertiser
Reported by Luke West
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WHEN the 2012 VFL fixture was released in December last year, Geelong captain Troy Selwood was quick to put an asterisk next to the Cats’ April 27 clash against Bendigo at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
As a Bendigo boy who played all his junior football in the city, Selwood labels tonight’s game against the Bendigo Gold at the QEO as the one he has been most looking forward to this season.
Selwood is in his second season with Geelong’s VFL team and tonight returns to Bendigo for his first game at the QEO since he was a Bendigo Pioneer in 2002.
“It has been a long time since I had a run on the QEO, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Friday night,” Selwood said yesterday.
“I had a kick on it at Christmas time, which was good to have a bit of a familiarisation with the ground because it has changed a fair bit since I last played a game there.
“It’s going to be a strange feeling lining up against the Bendigo colours, but it’s the game that I’ve been looking forward to the most out of any game this year.
“I’m really keen to get back and be part of Bendigo footy again.”
The 27-year-old joined Geelong’s VFL team last year after his eight-year career with the Brisbane Lions, in which he played 75 AFL games and was renowned for his uncompromising hard-at-it attack on the ball that is very much the Selwood trademark in the AFL.
He was co-captain last year of the Cats with Matthew Firman, but is skippering the team on his own this season.
With Selwood captain, it means Geelong’s AFL and VFL teams are both skippered by Selwoods, with Troy’s younger brother, Joel, in his first season leading the AFL team.
“The only advice I gave to Joel was to just keep doing what he has been doing,” Selwood said.
“It was a unanimous vote to get him in as captain by the board and players, but it hasn’t changed him at all.
“There’s obviously a few more media and club commitments, but he has always said that he’s lucky in that he’s got guys who could be AFL captains around him as part of the leadership group who help to lessen the load for him.
“That allows him to be able to concentrate on his footy and really lead by example.”
As well as playing with the Cats, Selwood is also working for the club, mixing both administration and development coaching.
“I’m really enjoying my time at Geelong and still being involved in the AFL system at the same club as my brother,” Selwood said.
Also making a return to Bendigo tonight will be Geelong’s coach, Matthew Knights.
Knights previously coached the Bendigo Bombers for three years between 2005 and 2007 – guiding the club to the finals twice – before taking over from the legendary Kevin Sheedy as Essendon coach in 2008.
Knights spent three seasons with Essendon – leading the Bombers to the finals in 2009 – but he was sacked at the end of the 2010 season and replaced by James Hird.
After spending last year as the coaching director of Xavier College, Knights joined the Cats as their VFL coach last October, and Selwood couldn’t be more impressed with his new mentor.
“We’re extremely lucky to have Knighter,” Selwood said.
“It got to the stage last year where we were trying hard to find a new VFL coach and luckily Neil Balme (Geelong football manager) lived over the back fence of Knighter.
“He knew he had been doing some work with Xavier, and thought to at least engage in some chat to see if he was interested.
“As a lot of the Bendigo Bombers players he coached could attest to, he’s just a great developer of young players and really understands young player. “He has been a perfect fit for what we’re after. He’s a great guy to work with and we have a lot of fun.
“It’s a really relaxed professionalism with Knighter. He loves working hard, but at the same time he loves to keep it fresh and really fun for the players.
“And he has brought into the gameplan of Chris Scott (Geelong senior coach) and really delivers on what Scotty is after.
“It has been really good so far.”