Collingullie has always been the little club that could.
Punching above their weight for years, the Demons of Glenfield Park (nee Ashmont-Kapooka) would claim premiership after premiership, regardless of the league.
Memories of dominant Demon sides still ring true for coach Brett Somerville, who’s ready to add to the club’s fabled legacy, all the while living out a childhood dream.
“I’m a Collingullie boy,” Somerville proudly exclaimed.
“Mum and Dad’s farm overlooks the footy ground. I grew up out there so it’s a dream for me to come back and coach..
To do it with such a young list is probably more exciting for me than if I did it with a full list of superstars and gun recruits because I get to have a positive influence on the whole next generation.”
While it may be the dream job, it’s hardly the dream scenario for the new Demons coach.
Prior to the COVID impacted season of 2020, Collingullie was poised to make one last premiership push and but has since been forced to changed tact all together.
A transition Somerville admits has growing pains of its own.
“We’re a very young side and slip ups are going to happen from time to time,” he said.
“We’re learning more and more about what we can and can’t do and how we all play together as a team.
Save a few issues, like the Narrandera week, we’ve probably accounted for ourselves quite well without reaching any great heights.”
Thankfully, the changing of the guard has been made easier thanks to the growing influence of a handful of Demons young guns.
Ed Perryman is living up to the family name, Chad Fuller has been a surprise packed in the midfield and the likes of Joe Schultz, James Pope and Harry Radley have had an impact in key positions at different stages of the season.
The fast tracking of the club’s young players is why the club currently sits in fifth spot on the ladder, well and truly in finals contentions despite initial expectations.
“Naturally, you don’t have the same level of expectations as you would with a team with five or six more 28-to-32-year old’s.
But in saying that it’s also good to put the pressure on the young guys and so far, they’ve stood up to the challenge.
A few more senior boys would have helped the development of the younger boys but this year was always about being consistent and finding that 3-4 quarters of good footy to keep games close.”
While the team may be young, the few older heads that remain are making an impact felt both on and off the field.
Nick Perryman and Daniel Frawley have seamlessly transitioned into assistance coaching ranks.
Somerville also heaped praised on Jayden Klemke.
The two-time Quinn medalist had his SANFL stint with West Adelaide cut short due to an ACL before sitting out last season, but it’s hard to tell given the form he’s in.
“He hasn’t missed a beat.
We may have lost blokes around him but he’s been that really consistent voice and drive going forward. Our goal is to surround him with some more senior bodies to give him a bit of a rest but he’s been immense in the past few weeks.”
And if Collingullie can find those senior bodies sooner rather than later, the Demons absence from September footy looks to be short lived.