Fun & Games

Harbs Rant Returns

Harbs Rant – June 2019

Writer’s Block. Failed attempts to become the next J.K Rowling. Calls for a comeback. Lack of information from players. Whatever you want to call it, I am back behind the keyboard to dish out some information about various aspects down at ‘The Kennel’.

I will break this rant down into sub-headings because once I started writing, I found it hard to stop with some emotion spilling into what I am about to say.


You do not have to be Nostradamus to work out that our performance at League level has been riddled with inconsistency. Our players and coaching staff accept full responsibility for this. It is a frustrating time. Don’t for one second think that we just turn up to training and mull around feeling sorry for ourselves, hoping that a bit of luck will go our way… it is the complete opposite.  I will go into greater detail as to how we are endeavouring to turn our season around later on.

On the other hand, the consistent performance of our Reserves side has been a shining light. With plenty of improvement left, the boys are in a great position at 7W–3L on top of the table. Special mention to guys like Stevie ‘Slug’ Burton, Ari ‘Minya’ Rigney, Matthew ’70 year old knee’ White and Michael ‘Tizalenko’ Ortiz who are putting together great seasons. Guys like Mitchell ‘Strawbs’ Payne, Ryan ‘Spoons’ Falkenberg and Jarrod ‘Cotts’ Cotgrove are youngsters that have listened to feedback and developed a high training intensity that is spilling into games. As an older player, you draw inspiration from the enthusiasm of younger players. It is infectious.

It was great to see Payne, Falkenberg and Burton all rewarded with senior debut selection on the weekend. Thoroughly deserved and reward for effort over a long period of time.

The other positive mention is to Cooper ‘Boyo’ Dahms and Ben ‘Moogy’ Walter on their positive returns to football after ACL injuries. Their dedication and commitment in the darkest of times is something that does not go unnoticed and I am so happy to have them back training and playing.


The first thing I will say, and this is my mindset and the way I operate, is that there is no such thing as hope when you have control of a situation. If you are relying on hope in situations you can control, you are already starting a long way behind. Three quotes I operate from are:

  • ‘Don’t get bitter, get better’
  • ‘When you get knocked down, get back up’
  • ‘There is always someone close to you that is doing it tougher than you, choose to help them first, because it will contribute to two people improving’

The first two both relate heavily to resilience. The other one relates to simply making your team-mate the best player and having a selfless attitude. This mentality is used in life and football.

Improvement comes down to learning from the situation you are in, showing resilience and then working on finding ways to rectify the situation by practicing through hard work (both physically and mentally). Our current situation requires us to have control of what happens moving forward – it is up to all of us as a collective to improve ourselves, each other and our Club.

New Players – 2019 Season

Troy ‘No right foot’ MenzelAbsolute gun of a player. Very knowledgeable and can seriously play. A very funny man. When he gets together with Justin ‘Pest’ Hoskin, which is on a regularly basis, the amount of trash talk that comes out of their mouth would fill a Cleanaway Rubbish Truck.

Darcy ‘Flynn’s Bruz’ PisaniA quality young person who we have recruited from Norwood FC. Darcy is the type of young player that every club wants/needs. He has a thirst for improving and trying to improve others. Extremely professional the way he goes about his footy. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

Tim ‘Orc’ AucklandBig unit from Tasmania that is finding his feet at SANFL level. A very positive, happy young fella who has a thirst to improve. Keeps Kwik Stix at Parafield in profit every Monday night, ordering 3 bowls of Salt n Pepper Squid on a regular basis! Another pre-season under the belt of big Orc and he will be a serious player.

Jono ‘Rodney’ MarshI am still trying to get the nickname off the ground! Marshy is an extremely smart individual that has not played many years of footy. He is extremely keen to learn and develop his craft and like Timmy Auckland, the more he plays, the better he will become.

Flynn ‘Whip’ PisaniI love this kid. Little fella that tries his guts out every game and training session. A tackling machine that just loves the game of footy. Would have easily been able to beat up his big brother in a blue as kids.

Michael ‘Tizalenko’ OrtizLove him as well. Love the enthusiasm he has not only on the field but off it. He is the type of bloke that when you walk in the door and see him, you just smile or laugh because he is so enthusiastic and positive. His jam-packed energy runs into the way he plays which is a credit to him.

Damon ‘Robbo’ RobinsonRecruited from Glenelg FC and the big fella has had a horrid run with injury in 2019. A fantastic lad who is working hard in his rehabilitation to get back for the second half of the year.

Matthew ‘Joffrey’ NeagleVery quiet on arrival but has fast become a larrikin and lovable pest around the club. Very funny lad with tons of ability. Suffered a horrific arm injury mid-way through 2018 with Wodonga Raiders and had to endure multiple surgeries and set-backs. Would look identical to Joffrey (off Game of Thrones) if he had blonde hair… and sometimes acts like him too!

Jydon ‘Puss’ NeagleThe big brother of the Neagle gang. Extremely good footballer who is fast becoming one of our better players. Keeps his younger brothers in check with a good clip over the ears when needed. Matt and Jaxon come running to me when Jydon needs a clip…!

Jaxon ‘Fat’ NeagleThe youngest Neagle has an abundance of ability on the playing field but sadly is about as good as a rock in a washing machine when it comes to his media skills (check the ‘Quick Hands’ segment with Kyle Presbury to make your own judgement).

Mitchell ‘Squeak’ McKelvieAnother Riverina product from Coolamon, NSW (Murray Stephenson country). Squeak is young lad who has the attitude, resilience, desire and work ethic to make it at SANFL level. Keep an eye on the #40 throughout the next few years.

Josh ‘Shep’ SheppardLocal lad who gives great effort and great commitment. Always willing to learn and a true, selfless team player.

Theo ‘Alphabet’ TheodorakopoulosAnother youngster who gives his all but has endured injury after injury. A change of luck is needed with injury to see the full potential of Theo’s fitness and game awareness on show.


It has been said before and I can’t re-emphasise enough that our great Club relies on our passionate members and supporters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and many would be frustrated with results, we are endeavouring to improve and that comes on the back of giving 100% effort and working together to improve as a collective.

The shame on society these days is that for some unknown reason, people can become ‘experts’ and keyboard warriors. The upside to this is that you can quickly work out who the true supporters are, who stick by their Club, and the ones who will say one thing behind a keyboard and something totally different to your face.

If anyone wants to come and have a yarn with how we are going about things or wanting to know more information simply come down to training or have a beer at the club after a game. I am more than happy to have a chat, so would a lot of others.

I won’t name names but it is a credit and a privilege for me to be able to have discussions with loyal supporters on weeknights after training, pasta night on Thursdays and after games.


Signing off

A big thanks to all of the members, sponsors, supporters, families and partners that share the ups and downs in our careers. Through passion, sacrifice and commitment in what is a frustrating time, your efforts and support do not go unnoticed.

The sun is going to rise tomorrow. What an opportunity that is to get together and improve again.