WORTH THE WAIT!
It’s often been said ‘a week is a long time in footy’.
But for Jordan Hedington, the 78 week wait to lead Narrandera feels like an eternity.
The new Eagles coach was unveiled in early October 2019, but is still yet to take the reins in a match for premiership points.
Hedington’s opportunity finally comes against Ganmain in round one, and the occasion has the reliable defender feeling less comfortable than he’d like to admit.
“I’m pretty nervous to be honest,” Hedington revealed.
As the weeks get closer, I’m getting a bit jumpy but having a few trial games I’ve definitely learnt a lot in those two games”
But the 2019 team of the year defender is more than confident in his ability to overcome any initial nerves, and hopes an aggressive approach on gameday will help his young Eagles take flight.
“Being a young side, we’re quick and we’re going to take the game on,” he said.
“I’ve said that from the get go, I couldn’t care less if we get pinged holding the ball, as long as we’re out there having a crack and trying to win games of footy, I’m happy.”
Happiness is a recurring theme when speaking with the former Queanbeyan Tiger.
In fact, that most desirable of emotions has been a constant since linking with Narrandera, and the main factor in his decision to return after last year’s pandemic induced hiatus.
“I love the place, can’t speak highly enough of the town,” he said.
“They welcomed me straight away and I felt like I was a local from the start. I didn’t hesitate when they asked me to come back and I thought I owed it to them to put some good footy on the paddock.”
While the Eagles will undoubtedly go into the season as one of the younger teams in the competition, the additions of Canberra recruits Rob Tuohey and Luke McKay should provide an experienced base to stabilize the lineup.
But Hedington maintains the club’s youth is the priority, as was showcased by last week’s senior trial and junior gala day.
“One of our big goals has been to get the juniors involved as much as possible around the club this year.
Getting a good bond is important because in five-ten years’ time they’re going to be the senior players getting around the club, so it’d be good to know them early and get them thinking about senior footy as early as possible.”
But it isn’t just the juniors providing reason for optimism.
The Eagles claimed their first win in the AFL Southern NSW women’s competition earlier this year and the senior coach believes it all helps contribute to a winning culture around the club.
“I heard they carried on quite a bit (after the win) but that’s understandable,” he laughed.
“You only win your first game once and it’s a pretty big occasion for the girls. Hopefully we can continue their good work and it can be the start of more success around the club this year.”