Door open for Blake

Mark Blake. (Glenn Bailey - JAG Imaging)

By Mark Heenan

The door is open for Geelong AFL premiership player Mark Blake to make a shock debut for Ocean Grove if he chooses to according to coach Paul Lynch.

Lynch confirmed Blake, who played 99 AFL games for Geelong from 2005 to 2010 and a member of the Cats 2009 AFL flag, had been training with Ocean Grove’s playing group.

If Blake elects to play against last season’s BFL premiers Torquay in Round 5 on Saturday – Ocean Grove would have the luxury of playing Blake as a one-point player under league rules.

The Grubbers were forced to leave out star recruit Karl Staudt (4 points) in their loss to Barwon Heads on 14 April after the inclusion of gun Ocean Grove captain James Linton (3 points) – which meant the club did not exceed the 40 point cap enforced by AFL Barwon.

Ocean Grove played at the maximum 40 points during its victory over Geelong Amateur in Round 2.

“Mark hasn’t decided whether he is playing footy yet,” Lynch told the Voice on Saturday night.

“He is just training with us at the moment – and he will make a decision and he is not available I think until next week.

“He is (a) one pointer.”

Blake has close family ties to the Ocean Grove Football Netball Club and attended several Grubber matches this season and in previous years.

Since his AFL playing days ended, Blake won the RS Reynolds Medal after being crowned Essendon District Football League best and fairest winner in 2014 where he played at Melbourne-based suburban EDFL premier division club Aberfeldie.

Blake would not be the first Cats AFL premiership star to play for the Grubbers – Max Rooke played in Geelong’s 2007 and 2009 AFL flags last lined up for Ocean Grove in 2014.

MEANWHILE OGFNC president Tony Potter said the home twilight match against Newcomb on Saturday night had become a significant fixture on its season calendar.

It was the club’s third successive match played under lights at Ray Menzies Memorial Oval held prior to Anzac Day.

The senior match started at an earlier time of 5.10pm – with local Bellarine football fans heading to Shell Road to watch Ocean Grove’s first game under lights in 2018.

“It is a great opportunity for both clubs to get together to respect the Anzacs,” Potter said.

A special ceremony was organised before the match where senior players lined up for a moment’s silence to commemorate Anzac Day with a video shown on the big screen.

“We met with the (Ocean Grove local) RSL during the week to run through the program to make sure they were happy,” he said.