Year of the rookies as injury hits one of our best

Saturday, August 10

THERE'S no doubt we're going to miss Darren Milburn for the rest of the home and away season.

He's been a terrific player for us this year in our back-six.

And it was a pretty unhappy way for him to celebrate his 100th game for the club last week, going off in the second quarter with a busted shoulder.

Darren's one of those who goes about his football pretty quietly, never seeking the spotlight. But talk to any of his teammates or coaches and they will tell you he is one of the most valued players at our club.

One thing about footy though we all learn pretty quickly is that one person's injury is another person's opportunity.

This week it is Will Slade who has come up off the rookie list to replace Darren.

Will has done everything right since coming to the club and now he has got his reward for that whole-hearted sort of effort. It really has been a year for the younger players, and especially the rookies with three coming up on to the senior list Jarad Rooke, Paul Chambers and Sladie.

There are two other rookies who have been playing really good football in the VFL side.

Andrew Carrazzo is a very capable mid-fielder and has been rewarded with selection in the state VFL side this year.

Adam Chatfield is the other rookie at our club and he's played a prominent part in getting our VFL side to the top of the ladder after over-coming an ankle injury at the start of the year.

One of our club's strengths this year has been the togetherness of the group whether you're a veteran or a newcomer.

It was amazing to see how quickly some like David Johnson, who came from Essendon's rookie list, became a Geelong person. And the kids from the draft - it only took a couple of days and you felt they had been there for ages.

We all know what Mark Thompson wants - a unified group who play for each other.

It's much easier to achieve that when the blokes get on so well.

We all share in the good times and we feel it when a bloke like Darren Milburn gets hurt.

Or when we lose a teammate like Jason Snell.

Snellie had his operation on Wednesday night and all the reports are that it went well.

I know the VFL boys are calling in to seem him after their game in Moorabbin today.

And Jason can expect a visit from the rest of us pretty soon.