By Justin Flynn
Glenn Campbell capped off a consistent season in defence by winning Ocean Grove’s senior best and fairest award.
Campbell claimed the Damian Clark Medal from runner-up Joe McDonald, who enjoyed a stellar year in the midfield.
Campbell won the award after a close count with McDonald, forward James Paterson and Mitch Taylor all hot on his heels.
“It was a bit of a surprise and a bit of a different way to be presented the award all virtually,” Campbell said.
“I was thinking I’d do okay but wasn’t expecting to come out with the win.
“It was very even across the whole team and we didn’t have any standout player – everyone played their role.”
Ocean Grove’s young side made it the second week of finals before the pandemic ended the season prematurely.
Campbell, a 35-year-old veteran and one of the few older players in the team, said marshalling the side’s defence had been one of his main tasks this season.
“We had a new structure with a young defence, so it’s been good to have a learning year,” he said.
“It’s been good to go in there and help out with the whole structure of the team.
“It was one of those things we spoke about was team defence. It’s about how we structure behind the ball and help each other out.”
Campbell said it was disappointing to have the season cut short before a bumper Battle of the Bridge first-semi final against Barwon Heads, particularly after the two sides played out an epic home and away game earlier in the season in which the Grubbers prevailed.
“I’ve played in a number of finals but that would be one of the best games I’ve played in from an atmosphere point of view,” he said.
“The atmosphere on the ground – you could hear the Barwon Heads crowd going nuts and the Ocean Grove crowd going nuts.
“It would have been huge to play in that final. We had the privilege to play that first final against Anglesea and win that. And to have the Battle of the Bridge with a chance to make a prelim would have been an outstanding game to be involved in.
“The ups and downs of COVID and what it meant for us guys to train and keep fit without knowing what was happening – it felt like what could have been.”
Campbell said while the group was looking forward to an uninterrupted 2022, the goals remained the same – improvement.
“Our main goal is to continue to improve from this year,” he said.
“The guys know they can do it now so the expectations are higher. We just want to play the footy that we’ve been known to play.
“We know that if we play our best footy we can take it up to, and beat, the best sides.”
Campbell will play on next year, but will also take on an assistant coaching role, something he said he is keen to explore further once he calls it a day on the field.
Nick Chapman took out the reserves best and fairest from Tom Hobbs while Bryce Dunell won the Under 19s award from Kirby Reilly.
Under-17 Boys Division 1: Jet Kneebone.
Under-17 Boys Division 4: Jobe Lange
Under-15 Boys Division 1: Sonni Walter
Under-15 Boys Division 3: Will Cunningham
Under-15 Boys Division 6: Max McGuane
Under-15 Girls Division 1: Stephanie O’Kane
Under-15 Girls Division 2: Grace McLean