Jordan Baker - My Redan Story
What are some of your earliest memories of playing football?
Some of the earliest memories I have would be getting coached by John Jess and how he made me play backline. It's funny because I still haven't been able to move out the back half since.
You started with the club in the Under 10s and have played your whole career with the maroon and gold. Tell us about your family connection to Redan and was this the only reason you came to the club?
My family connection to Redan is one of the things that I am most proud of and the major reason that I play here.
My Grandfather played all of his football at Redan and was a part of the 1952 and 1956 Reserves Premierships as their Vice Captain, his younger brother Syd Baker also played his football at Redan before he left and finished his career with Sebastopol.
Grandpa also had his two brother in-laws playing at the club as well back in the day. The first was Jack Ritchie who played in the Senior 1952 Premiership side and married my grandmother's twin sister, and the second being the late Dinny Murphy who also played in the 1952 Senior Premiership and he married Grandpa's sister Valma.
My dad Neil Baker also played some of his junior footy with Redan and a year in the seniors.
So growing up my father had seen his father and his three uncles play for Redan, when it was eventually my turn to pull on the boots there was no way he would let me play for anyone else.
Back in those days the juniors were based at Delacombe, do you think that initiative was successful looking back now?
I think back in the day it was pretty successful because most of the kids who played either lived in the Redan, Delacombe or Sebastopol area. Delacombe oval just happened to be sort of in the Middle and made it easier for people to get to I suppose.
Who are some of the junior coaches who had the biggest impact on your football?
I would have to say most of my junior coaches played a big part in my football development but three standout the most. John Jess, Peter Grigg and Andrew Madden.
Which of your teammates have you gone on to play Reserves/Senior football at Redan with?
Most of the teammates I played with haven't really gone on to play their football at Redan, but Jeromy Johnston, Joel Mathews, Dean Mathews, Jack Jess and Tom Jess are all still at the club either playing or coaching.
What were some of your highlights during your junior career and did you play in any Premierships?
Unfortunately we didn't play in any Premierships during my time with the Juniors but we made finals most years and just weren't lucky enough to win them. A couple of highlights for me were Captaining the Under 15s side and also winning the Under 18.5s Best and Fairest.
Tell us about your Grandfather Bill who passed away this year and his time with the club and influence on you.
My Grandfather was a pretty quiet man who didn't really talk too much, but one thing he loved to talk about was the Redan Football Club. He would always tell me about the 1952 season when the Seniors and Reserves both won the Premierships, and how proud he was to have played in both teams throughout the season.
He was also very proud to have been the Vice Captain of the 1952 winning side along with the side that won in 1956, and how so many great players were at the club in those days.
He would always tell me how he was a small in and under rover, and how he never liked swapping up the forward line so Norm Schiltz could have a run. His influence on me was huge, he would come and watch me play, and the little things like asking how I trained will always hold a special place with me.
Are there any stories of Redan back in the 1950s he shared with you that really give a good insight into the club in those days?
Pa would always tell of how players would have families and work all day then come to training, similar to today, but back then they all worked hard labouring jobs and money was scarce. He would talk about how tough certain players were, but he said after most games that the players would still hang around and have a beer. Sometimes the way he described the club is exactly how I see it today.
How would you describe yourself as a footballer?
I would say as the typical Back Pocket just trying to get a kick.
Describe the honour of being selected to the Senior side for the first time this season which doubled as your 100th game in the senior division.
It came as a bit of a shock really, after nine seasons playing in the Reserves I thought that I would never get a chance. It was probably one of the best feelings when my name was read out, and how all the boys responded was something I will remember for a long time.
Who would be the best five players you’ve seen during your time with Redan and your toughest opponent?
This is probably the hardest question in here but the best five players that I’ve seen in no order would have to be Julian Field, Dan Jordan, Jarrod Edwards, Heath Scotland and Isaac Smith. As for my toughest opponent that would go to Matt Cape from Darley back in the 2012 reserves Grand Final.
Take us through the strengths of the main senior coaches you’ve played under in Kieran Murrihy, Eammon Gill and Brendan Peace.
All three were good coaches in their own ways. Kieran was very good at demanding excellence from his players and trusting them, Gilly was a very strategic-type coach ,who would make players see what was the problem and how to fix it, and Peacey is the playing coach who lets his actions on the field do the talking and leading by example.
All three would help if you asked questions and needed feedback, but all three had their different ways to get the best results from the players.
How many reserves premierships have you played in with Redan and what do you think was the key to that sustained period of success?
Luckily for me I have played in five premierships with the reserves 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. I think the success we had was because our senior side was so strong, and playing and training together made players push for spots along with the group of under 18 players coming through trying to get into the side.
Is there a particular premiership that really stands out?
To me all of them stand out because they don't happen every year and some players never get to experience the thrill of winning one.
Are there any other memorable games that stand out during your time with the club?
It would probably be my first senior game and how exciting it was to run out onto the ground with some of the boys I have never played with before.
You have played a lot of football at full back and are often playing on taller opponents, what do you think is the key to a mid size defender being able to play tall?
I think the key to playing on taller opponents would have to be versatility, either playing one on one, or knowing when to stand off. Playing fullback certainly isn't the easiest position but you quickly work out what the forward wants to do, then you have to counter it and try make them play away from their structure. I still quiet haven't figured it out but I might one day.
What do you think is the key to Redan’s culture and the reason it was able to turn its fortunes around so dramatically over the past twenty years?
I think it’s because we have a lot of people behind the scenes that make it more appealing. Long gone are the days of just a male dominated sport, we have the netball and women's football as well which helps to bring members through the gates. Also, just recruiting the right people to help play good football people want to watch.
How exciting will it be for the players and club in general to have a brand new oval in 2018?
It’s been long overdue but it will hopefully help us keep up with all the other clubs around the league now and our football will benefit from it.
What do you still want to achieve in footy and do see yourself getting into coaching once you hang up the boots?
As good as a reserves premiership is, I'd love to be part of a senior premiership before my time's up. As for coaching, we will see what happens when my playing days are done I think.
What does the Redan FNC mean to you?
Redan to me is one big family and will always be a massive part of my life.
What advice do you have for the junior boys and girls starting their careers at Redan?
It would be to just have fun and enjoy yourselves.