Jarrett Giampaolo - My Redan Story
Where did you grow up and take us through some of your earliest footy memories and highlights?
I was born in Ballarat, then moved to Charlton for a few years as Mum and Dad owned the pub there and finally landed in Horsham where my football career started. Most of my early memories are around going to training with Dad when he was coaching.
As far as my own footy, I started Auskick in the early days but I wasn’t really interested in it to be honest, not until I was older. I played with Horsham Demons in the Under 14’s but I wasn’t very good and didn’t get much of a game. Most my mates were at the other Horsham side, the Saints. I was probably enjoying basketball and tennis more at the time. It wasn’t until joining my mates at the Horsham Saints that I started to really get stuck into it. I played juniors there and really started to enjoy playing footy.
As I progressed through to Under 17’s I also used to play games in the reserves as well to fill in when they needed numbers. I ended up being vice-captain in my last year in under 17’s and remember kicking a big bag of eleven goals in one game which is probably more than I’ve kicked in my whole career at Redan.
In my last year of school I was lucky enough to play senior footy for the Saints which was a great experience as a young player. We were pretty successful and I played in the grand final that year but we lost to Horsham Demons who went on to win ten premierships in a row.
What brought you to Ballarat and who or what was it that attracted you to Redan in 2006?
In 2005 I had a GAP year and just worked in Horsham as I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go to university or not. I continued playing footy for Horsham Saints and was enjoying that but I realised that university was what I wanted to do and once I had decided on that some coaches from Ballarat must have caught wind and I started getting a few phone calls.
The most annoying of those was Kieran Murrihy. He has family ties with the Horsham Saints through the Wards so probably got a hold of me through them. At the time I kept thinking I just want this bloke to leave me alone and I’ll pick a club when I get to Ballarat but he just continued to hassle me.
I came down to Ballarat a few times with some other guys and trained at clubs like Lake Wendouree and Ballarat Swans, and probably was pretty close to choosing the Swans. Once I got to Ballarat I started living on campus at the university with Matty Dwyer, Marcus ‘Boodz’ Cummins, Matt Harkin and Ben Hinton just to name a few who were all at Redan so it seemed the logical choice.
They were all great blokes and as soon as I stepped foot in the Den I knew it was where I wanted to be. The atmosphere at the club and the people that were there made it an easy sell.
You missed most of that initial season through injury which was a premiership year for the club. Just how difficult was it establishing yourself in that powerful side the following season?
Looking back now that is probably something that annoys me a bit, I did my ankle quite bad against the Swans and I probably didn’t really look after it very well and I missed a huge chunk of the year. I was playing in the seniors and I’d like to think would have held my spot and potentially won another premiership. But in the end I got back towards the end of the year and could only manage a few reserves games before finals and I was never going to break back into that side which was very strong.
As far as getting back into the side the year after, I think Muzz knew what I was capable of and had a lot of faith in me which I am grateful for. I think I played every game in the seniors that year and we won the premiership.
What are your recollections of the 2007 Grand Final and what was your role that day?
I remember Sunbury starting really well and looked in control early, Luke Nunn was under the pump and had a fair few goals kicked on him early. To his credit though he really turned it around and was probably the difference in the end. He was able to mark everything that came down back and was super important. Dwyer and Fieldy were class through the midfield as always.
To be honest I don’t remember heaps from the game but I played a bit of midfield and back throughout the day and was ok. It was just a surreal feeling to win a premiership as I had never won one, not even at junior level.
The side again took out the flag in 2009, what are your memories of your second premiership with Redan?
I remember the game pretty much being over at quarter time. We were dominant in the first quarter and kicked 7 goals to none. Pitty and Jezza were everywhere in that first quarter and would have had 15+ possessions each. Damien Horbury was unstoppable up forward and kicked his four goals in the opening term to really set us up.
The rest of the game was just a bit of an arm wrestle but once the weather turned bad towards the end there was no chance East were ever going to come back from that. Stephen ‘Stiffy’ Kane was awesome on Dan Jordan and still talks about his 14 spoils for the game that he had.
Take us through the final moments of the thrilling 2011 win over Sunbury.
The last few moments of this game were pretty intense, especially because we came back from about 22 points down. Damo Horbury kicks a few great goals in the last quarter and sending Waighty forward paid off as he kicked two goals back to back to get us in front.
I just remember getting tackled on the boundary in the last few minutes thinking that’s definitely holding the ball but the umpires put their whistle away for the last five minutes. Every time the ball hit the deck Jezza and Chippy just dived on it and held it in. When the siren went people came from everywhere, it was an amazing win and a great feeling. One I’ll never forget.
What attributes did those sides possess that led to the multiple premierships over a short period of time?
One of the main things that I think helped us be successful is that everyone was playing for the right reasons. I hear so much about players coming to clubs on huge amounts of money, or how some clubs are spending ridiculous amounts to put a side on the park each week but in the end are those guys there for the right reason? Do they actually care about the club?
Redan has never been able to pay the big bucks but it hasn’t stopped us from being successful, and I think that is because people come to the club because they know it is a great place with a great culture.
The other thing is on field leadership, guys like Brendan Peace, Nathan Blomeley and Julian Field were great leaders out on the field and had the ability to lift everyone else around them. They were able to bring the best out of players like myself and other younger guys which took us to that next level.
How would you describe yourself as a footballer?
When I was younger and in my first few years in senior football I spent a lot of time on the wing. I had a bit of pace and ability to run but what let me down was my kicking, I never spent hours and hours when I was young kicking a football so it’s taken a while to work on those things and I’m still not great.
Kieran identified that I was pretty good defensively and that I wasn’t scared to put my head over the footy so he started using me as a run with player at times, or playing defensive midfield roles. Then I started playing down back and taking the small quick forwards and have had some good battles against some really good forwards.
I like to think that I’ve always been reliable and someone that the team can count on to do my job and not get beaten too often.
Who are the best five footballers you’ve played alongside at Redan and your toughest opponent?
Hard picking five as there are so many good players that I’ve had the pleasure of lining up with but in no order:
I had front row seats to the Jarrod Edwards show for a few seasons when I was playing midfield, I was mostly a defensive midfielder and just made way for Jezza. He is the best contested ball winner / clearance player that I’ve played with or against.
Fieldy was a champion, he was a player that you loved to follow into battle as he led by example. You could never question his effort and I can’t remember him ever playing a bad game.
An accumulator of the football, cops a hard tag most weeks but still finds the ball and has elite skills. Over the last few years he’s also become a great contested footy winner, absolute superstar.
Jezza and Fieldy were the bulls but Dwyer was the cream on top. Silky skills and could break games apart. He could rack up possessions and was very damaging.
There have been plenty of good backmen but I’ve played with Britty for a long time now and I don’t think there have been many forwards that have got a hold of him. Just seems to always get a fist in when needed. Very underrated in the BFL, highly respected and admired at Redan.
My toughest opponent is hard because I’ve had to tag a lot of good midfielders, Jay Cheep was very good (just ask Jas Leonard) and very dangerous if you gave him any space at all. In more recent times we had some good battles with North City’s midfield in Jason McNamara and Simon McCartin.
Which player stands out as the most dedicated footballer in terms of training/preparation and getting the most out of themselves during this time?
Ryan Waight did a lot of work outside of the club and looked after himself pretty well. He was always a bit strange with his preparation and he used to drink weird green drinks to try and balance his alkaline levels. He loved getting the powerbands out and working with them, not to mention the hours and hours of stretching he did.
Unfortunately he kept getting injured, maybe there’s something in that. Don’t train too hard.
You captained the side from 2014 to 2016, describe that honour and what did you most enjoy about that role?
I was extremely honoured to captain the Redan Football Club. It’s not something that you expect to happen and I suppose over time you start to become a senior player at the club and the younger guys start to look to you for leadership and I was humbled that they thought I was the one to lead them.
I enjoyed having the opportunity to address the group before games and to start trying to help the younger players develop and ultimately trying to lead by example. That’s what the captains before me have done so I hope I was able to do the same.
The run of Preliminary Finals losses no doubt were extremely disappointing. Can any lessons be drawn in a situation like that or does a playing group simply move on to the next season?
Disappointing is an understatement, I look back now and can’t help but wonder what we could have done better. Not the obvious things like play better, but did we train hard enough or did we recover well enough? Maybe just a few small things that would have tipped the scales in our favour.
In 2014 and 2015 we were jumped in the first quarter and the game was almost over then. It makes you wonder as a leader if you did enough to get the team in the right mindset for the game.
What was it like playing alongside your brother Chris in recent seasons?
I haven’t had the chance to play a lot of football with Chris, we played for different clubs in Horsham and he was with Rebels/Roosters before Redan. So when he finally came to Redan it was great to be able to play together and I think it was great for Dad to be able to come and watch us both play. I wish he would have been able to play in a premiership for Redan - that would have been pretty special.
Do you see yourself getting into coaching once your playing days come to an end?
I think I still have a few years of decent football in me and maybe I’ll look into being a playing coach at some stage but I definitely have the desire to coach. Being a teacher I think I have a lot of the qualities already that a coach requires so I look forward to seeing how that translates into footy.
In what ways have each of your Redan coaches had positive influence on your football?
Muzz was a great coach, I never really thought I was that good of a player but I think he got the best out of me and realised what my strengths were. He was a pretty intense character and as a young bloke could be intimidating at times but as I got to know him he became a good friend and someone I really look up to.
I have a lot of respect for what Peacy was able to do as a young coach. I think about what I was like when I was 23 and I would never have been able to do what he did. Peacy has a great ability to stay calm and is a great teacher of the game. This year even though we have struggled I think Peacy has done a great job in keeping the players motivated and developing some of the younger players who I think will be very good in years to come.
Gilly was meticulous with his planning and put countless hours of time into his coaching. From watching hours of footage and presenting that back to the players to all the small things that a lot of players probably don’t see. Whilst I was captain Gilly spent a lot of time discussing with me certain aspects of the side and it was great to see how much time and effort he put into each week and that selection wasn’t as simple as ‘one in one out’.
I wish we could have delivered him another premiership in there somewhere as he deserved it. Despite his grumpy side he did some interesting things, he once brought marshmallows into the rooms before the game and threw them all over the ground, he then likened the opposition to marshmallows. Mitch Phelps picked them up and ate them all.
Not to mention the time in Sunbury where he had a bowl of fruit in the middle of the rooms, he then went on to explain each player and what type of fruit they were. I think the older blokes were all bananas because you just knew what you were going to get. He gave Matt Colbert the pink lady apple and then gave an animated speech about why he was so good and deserving of the best apple variety. Strange, but compelling stuff.
How would you describe Redan’s culture and the role it has played in the club’s success over the past two decades?
When I first came to the club as a 20 year old there were some really big personalities and people at the club that were already legends but they were all so welcoming and you felt part of the club straight away. After having one ‘den session’ you just knew it was the right place to be, everyone talks about how good the club is off field and how much we all enjoy each other’s company but I think that friendship and camaraderie helped with our success on field.
Can you describe just how bad the surface at the City Oval was over the last few years and how much of a game changer the new oval is for Redan?
City Oval used to be shithouse. There is no real other way to explain it, it was just a complete mud bog for most of the year. I know a lot of other clubs around Ballarat were in similar condition but City Oval was obviously last to be upgraded. Clubs hated coming to play footy at City Oval, the teams from up the highway would have dreaded coming to miserable Ballarat to play footy.
We loved to grind out a hard fought win on the oval though as we used to play so well in the mud. I had to take my footy gear around to Nanna each week to try and get all the mud out.
With the new surface it will arguably be the premier venue for footy in Ballarat. With some upgrades to the rooms I would love to hope one day there is a BFL grand final played on there. Hopefully it’s also a drawcard for players to come to the club.
Apart from the Premierships, what are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
The people I have met, some of the friends I have made at Redan are now my closest life-long friends. The fact that I’ve been able to play 200 senior games gives me great pleasure. The social side has also been very enjoyable, Mad Monday after a premiership win is something to behold.
2018 win over Sunbury
2018 first night game at City Oval v Lake Wendouree
2017 player voted Redan MVP
2007 Grand Final
2007 Grand Final
2007 Grand Final with Chris Mathews, Sam Giblett, Justin Rumble, Nathan Blomeley & Brendan Clohesy
2009 Grand Final
2007 Grand Final with Matt Pitt and Matt Dwyer
2009 Grand Final
2011 Grand Final
2009 Grand Final
2011 Grand Final
The City Oval mud