Adam Pease - My Redan Story
Tell us about your junior footy career and some of the highlights?
Well I grew up in a small country town in South Gippsland in the 70's and 80's so it was well before Auskick. You kind of just played kick to kick at school. We had midgets footy in late primary school but I guess I started out in the Thirds at Leongatha as a rover forward pocket.
Loved every minute of it despite my size. We had a pretty good side playing against the might of Traralgon, Morwell and Sale. It was a pretty tough league. So you can Imagine a lippy blonde kid in long sleeves got a few whacks to the head.
How did you find your way to Redan and what were some of your first impressions?
I was out one night with Brian Lovison he convinced me to come and play that Saturday because they were short in the twos. I played about three games that year and then came back two years later as I was still travelling to Leongatha to play. It was Brendan O'Brien who officially recruited me to the Club.
I knew the history and I was fully aware of the situation the club was in financially but I couldn't keep travelling back to Leongatha it was just too far. The club needed some help, some fun and some love and I must say we gave it a shake off the field. Just couldn't get the results on field ha ha.
Who were some of the coaches and players who had the biggest influence on your while at the club?
Matt Jones was my first coach, was eager to impress but we had such a young side and we were very undersized. No real key position players. No offence to anyone reading this who considered themselves as that.
Marty Cusack coached after that. What we lacked in experience and size we sure made up for with characters. Names that come to mind were the irrepressible Jay Dineen, afore mentioned Bobby O'Brien, Ian "follow the rainbow" Morelli, Anthony "Freaky" Freeman, Marty "must have been 50" Cusack, and Geoff Norman were names that spring to mind.
For some reason a name comes to mind Johnny Greengrass. I never really got to know him but part of me was scared witless by him, not physically but because he just never spoke. But characters they were.
How many years were you at the club and how many wins did you play in?
I think history will show I played two and half seasons but it felt like ten. In a good way of course. No wins to show for my time on the field but plenty off it. Good times.
What was is like being part of a side that never or rarely won games? How did you keep motivated?
You know it was a very weird feeling. Coming from a fairly successful club previous it didn't take long to start ignoring the scoreboard and concentrate on just trying to beat my man and contribute in some way to the team's improvement.
I was really only a kid myself but had a fair bit of experience and tried to make things off the field light hearted and protect some of the inexperienced guys from what we were going through. We needed some laughs.
But in some ways it made us closer as a team away from Saturday afternoons and looking back it took these years for the club to fully understand the dire situation it found itself in. I will never forget the line in the sand meeting we had in the Pleasant Street rooms where the board met with a whole lot of keen supporters and notable backers to help dig the club out of the mire.
We as the playing group were wholeheartedly supported and applauded which was very surreal. It's hard to comprehend unless you have ever been on a proud team on the brink of folding.
Not only did you give it your all week in week out, you also were one of the characters who helped lighten the atmosphere. Tell us about some of your favourite training outfits for instance.
Well as mentioned earlier I thought we needed to lighten things up so I decided to wear some interesting items to training. There were occasions that I trained in a full steamer wetsuit and other times where I wore a Robin Hood type get up.
What were some of your best memories of your time at Redan?
Ok so the game down at Melton South I think it was, in the freezing cold and wet. We came out after halftime singing "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens as we were running out onto the ground. That certainly raised a few eyebrows.
We played out of skins that day and only just fell short. We celebrated that night as if we'd won a premiership.
Another memory for probably very different reasons was when we had to forfeit a game because we just could not field a side. This affected me in such a way I could never have imagined. I spent the Friday night before crying my eyes out in a dark room. It was horrible.
But every Saturday playing with a bunch of mates who fronted up week after week already knowing the result was going to be a bad one was a highlight. I can't thank all involved in those very tough years enough and I'm so glad they stuck around to see the club flourish.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
Once I got to Phillip Island, I put some muscle on and was playing in the centre kind of in and under. Before I got to Redan at Leongatha, I was a quick running rover. But at Redan it was hard to say as we all kind played wherever we could to help out.
Who were some of the toughest opponents you played on?
Bloody hell every opponent was tough in those years. Bigger and stronger but I do remember I had some interesting words with big Alister Ford from East one day.
Did you manage to see any of the Senior Premierships the club has since won?
Well you're not going to believe this but I went to one grand final and we lost to Sunbury after winning two in a row so I laid low after that.
Tell us about your footy career post Redan, did you head back to Leongathata and were you fortunate enough to play in a Premiership side?
Believe it or not I played another ten seasons after my time at Redan. Yeah I headed back to Leongatha after and went straight back to a winning team, we made the finals for the next two years.
I then went to Phillip Island Football club while travelling from Melbourne until I finished at 32 years of age. No premierships but finals every season.
What would you say is the biggest similarity between the two clubs?
The sense of "Club". It doesn't matter whether you are winning or losing its the mateship and the characters in and outside of the playing group, the volunteers and the supporters who are there through thick and thin that make a football club.
The endless hours of sacrifice that these people make to get a team on the field each week. It's an amazing thing to watch to be honest.
Tell us about Beau Vernon and how much of an impact he has had at the club.
It's an interesting one. His father Daryl coached me at Leongatha way back in 1991 when I first came into senior footy. I was reunited with Daryl at the Phillip Island footy club in 2000 his two sons Beau and Zac were coming up through the juniors and were lighting up the field.
By the time I retired in 2006, Beau was a jet. He ended up at Leongatha and then was dealt that horrible blow. I must say I have been watching from a far but have been involved in both clubs and I can tell you that small communities rally around people.
The widespread support the Vernon family received was a testament to the family but also country sprit. That's why despite living in the city, I always played my footy in the country, I love this sense of community, it makes people's day.
Beau's unwavering belief and commitment to become a senior coach as a quadriplegic is one of life's rare and special stories. And the club is to be commended for picking Beau on his merits.
What are you up to these days and do you still have an involvement at club level?
I work for a company called Sampford IXL and have two kids. My oldest is seven and I am enjoying watching him start his football adventure.
What advice would have for the kids starting out in the Junior ranks at Redan?
Look I somehow forged out 16 years playing football with limited ability but enjoyed every minute of it. Work on your skills but learn how to tackle, smother and talk. It's amazing how many kicks you get just by doing those things and it's amazing how much it helps the team out by the end of four quarters.
Enjoy, Embrace and Ensconce yourself in footy it's a bloody great game.