Justin Catley - My Redan Story
Where did you grow up and what are some of your memories and highlights of your junior career?
I grew up in western Sydney then moved to Derrinallum when I was about eleven and lived in Derri until I was sixteen. I played some footy as a kid at Derri but was focused on athletics.
Did you play any senior football before coming to Redan and who or what attracted you to the club?
Yes after giving athletics away I played one year at Wendouree. I came to Redan because a mate asked me to fill in as they were short in 1995.
I then moved back to Ballarat in 1996 and was looking for a game. I was chatting to a bloke at an AFL game in Ballarat who remembered me playing a couple of games the year before at Redan and he suggested I come to training (Carl Eddy), the rest is history!
What were your initial impressions of the club?
It was a club with a great history and pride and I remember not too many egos!
Which coaches had the biggest impact on you during your playing days with Redan?
Jason Mewett was fantastic, a real motivator.
Matt Jones was ahead of his time, he was talking about running in waves and spreading way back in 1997.
Marty Cusack was a gun footballer who would get a game in the best Redan sides. I coached the Reserves with Marty at the helm and he remained so positive through really tough times.
I actually liked Barry Hills as a coach although we had a rather large disagreement which cost me a spot in the winning side against Daylesford in 1999. First lesson in life, never argue with the boss!
The week before the Daylesford game we played Darley and I was coming back from a bout of tonsillitis. Hillsy asked me to play in the twos on the ball all day against Darley to be fit for Daylesford. The senior team rule was that there was no drinking from Thursday night which I always stuck to.
The night before the Darley game, North Melbourne played Richmond so a couple of mates and I went to the game as I am a passionate North supporter. As I was playing reserves I thought stupidly that it would be OK to have a couple of drinks!
I recall having two mid strength beers at the footy and one more at another venue. Anyway against Darley in the twos I played OK and was told by Hillsy I'd be right for next week. Then the rumour mill started that I was out on the town all night which was just not true, yes I had a couple but I recall being the first to the game on Saturday and doing my job.
The Thursday night before selection I was called into a room at the Bunch of Grapes and was told that I was not going to be playing in the ones because I was out on the town the Friday night before. I didn’t handle the situation well at all, in fact I went off as I felt I didn’t have any chance at all of pleading my case.
In hindsight I should not have had those couple of drinks and put myself in that situation I was a senior player and should have set the right example for the younger boys. Still to this day I feel I handled this situation poorly and it cost me the one thing I had been wanting and waiting five years for.
Again I thought Hillsy was a fantastic coach and was what our group at that point needed. He was a shining light and we followed him, we were a better team and club because of Hillsy.
Brett Quinlan was the best coach I ever saw, a motivator, strategic ability, passion, leadership, communicator at all levels. He was the package, forget that bloke running around for the Bulldogs now!
I still remember his 'we have the young legs' three quarter time address with the big win against Sunbury in 2000.
Who was the best player you played with at Redan and the toughest opponent?
That's a tough one. I was lucky to play with a really young Justin Rumble, he was a young gun. Also Ricky Cummins and Ash Barker were young guns.
I also played with Luke Cooney who as a 17 year old took Alister Ford apart in the ruck along with Sam Giblett who was a silky smooth player.
I remember playing with a really young Nathan Blomeley at Newlyn (I think he was 16) and thinking this kid is going to be good, well I was right about that!
My toughest opponent was Craig Allender from East. I think I kept him to seven goals one match, I was really happy with that as he was getting it lace out. He was a beautiful lead and mark for his size.
Yourself and Carl Eddy coached the reserves side in 1998. Describe the challenges faced during that season and how hard did you find it simply getting enough players on the field?
Yep it was hard. I remember I was working at Kmart and asking my work mates if they would come down and fill in just so we could field a side.
We were asking blokes to play two games, we were asking our Under 18s to play two games. Whatever it took to get a couple of teams out on the paddock.
How did you keep yourself and your side motivated off the back of so many heavy losses?
We just made it as fun as possible and celebrated the small wins. If we kept a Sunbury to ten goals in a quarter, that was a win for us.
The crisis meeting that year at the Western Oval and Save the Lions movement saved the club. What are your recollections of those days and thoughts on the passion of those people behind it?
I remember the night we decided to forfeit vividly. Marty, Carl and I were sitting at a table at The Western selecting the sides. I remember having 12 or 14 players available for both teams.
We asked Flogga (Peter Loughnan) what should we do. A devastated Flogga turned to us and simply said we need to forfeit and maybe that will get some people to realise how much trouble we are in and maybe they will help us.
The ironic thing was that our Under 18 lads went to Darley and pumped them that weekend. We just knew we had to keep this club going for those boys.
That following Tuesday night the crisis meeting was unbelievable. The Western Oval was packed with past players and supporters and I remember a passionate plea from ex player Tony Quinney to keep the club going and let's do whatever I took to get the club back on track. Flogga (Peter Loughnan) was right we got that help!
How many games would have played for Redan and how many of those were wins?
Around 100 give or take, we really didn’t keep records for a few years. I added that up in my head one night when my son Sam asked how many I played.
In my last year at the club I had the honour of captaining the magoos under big Owey (Paul O'Neil) and that year we won five or six games so that brought the quota to ten or eleven all up.
You moved on from Redan in 2001 to play with Newlyn in the CHFL. Tell us about your time there and what was it that drew you back to Redan?
I moved to Newlyn to play under Justin Abrams to have one more year of senior footy and Carl was coaching the twos as well. Newlyn were really good, I just didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t have the passion to play there and I just wanted to play back where I belonged.
I played seven or eight very average games and pulled the pin. I felt really ashamed that I left Redan and struggled for a few years going to watch Redan as I felt I had let the club down.
You’ve seen the senior side win a number of premierships since you finished playing. How much of a thrill was it to see a club on its knees only five years earlier lift the cup?
I missed the first one due to work commitments and was devastated that I missed it, but at the same time I was literally in tears in my hotel room when a rather intoxicated Mark Verberne rang me after the game. I was very proud of the that young group of men.
Who are some of the recent Redan premiership players you would have loved to played alongside?
As previously stated I was Captain of the Reserves in my last year at the club (yes I am proud of that) so I didn’t get the opportunity to play with Simon 'Puppy' Markham and Joffa (Dru) Quinlan. They were hard and tough and they made our young blokes stand tall. Both fantastic footballers and quality blokes.
In recent years you have joined the Redan’s junior coaching ranks. In addition to developing skills, what are some of the key messages you try to instil in your players?
As you know Remo I'm coaching the Under 10s with you and we talk all the time about respect for our great club, respect for each other, respect for the coaches, respect for the umpires and respect for the opposition so I guess the key word is respect!
As a coach of a young side your role is to develop skills and place a major focus on enjoyment. What on the other hand do your players teach you?
Well I love watching those kids develop so I enjoy it as well. Also coaching 60 nine and ten year olds you do learn how control your emotions.
I have a bit to do with the Under 14s under Lappo (Jason Lappin) as well so I get to take some of my emotions out on them!
What are you up to these days and what do you do for a living?
Well happily married to Nikki who was my girlfriend when I was playing at Redan. We have three boys Sam, Jacob and Lucas who all play at Redan and Bella who will play netball at Redan! I am lucky enough to have a great role leading the team at Bunnings at Ballarat.
Through your leadership roles at work, what in particular do you find are the areas of greatest similarity with coaching a football team?
Passion, team first, right culture, leadership at all levels, development of people, trust, they are so similar.
What is it that makes Redan so special?
The passionate people and memories. Flogga, Ted, Kappe, Boey, Pymy, Fred and Bob Carpenter, John Lawless, my old mates Carlos (Carl Eddy), Murf (Paul Murfett) and Dazza (Darrell Williams) just to name but a few.
The history, the pride around the place and for me now the most important thing is watching my boys play and enjoy their footy as much as I did.
What is the best piece of advice you were given as a junior player?
I remember Des Gellie at Derrinallum telling us to harass the opposition. I was a good talker so I think I was good at harassment on the ground.