No shortcuts: Farrell

Nick Bourke had his first win in the red and white. (Justin Flynn) 397856_11

Ocean Grove coach Dave Farrell has reiterated that the club will not deviate from its long-term plan to return to premiership contention.

The Grubbers snapped a nine-game losing streak to notch their first win of the season on Saturday, a 12-point triumph against Portarlington.

Ocean Grove has fielded 36 players at senior level this season, 12 of them debutants and seven that were part of the 2023 underage program.

While the heady days of the 1990s and early 2000s when Ocean Grove won eight flags in 10 years are a distant memory, Farrell insists the club would play the long game.

“Strategy around long-term success and player development are both going to draw some very different opinions,” he said.

“Internally we are confident we are best informed to plan for, and affect, both. Our netball successes and connection with the community support our belief that the culture is strong within the club and by extension our senior footy program.

“Our junior program continues to be a shining light with some great leadership and outstanding coaching that is pivotal to the long-term success of the club. We have worked to strengthen our relationship with the Geelong Falcons this year to best support our young players that have been recognised through their talent ID process, but to also educate our coaches around focus areas for those still developing with ambition to play at a higher level.”

Kye Annand played for Geelong West in the Geelong Football League last season, but returned to Ocean Grove for the 2024 campaign.

Farrell said Annand has been “playing some unbelievable footy this year”.

Annand is contracted to Geelong’s VFL program and played for the Cats against Greater Western Sydney two games ago.

“It is reflective of the improved standard of Bellarine football, but also our program and club being able to support players wanting to reach their potential without needing to leave their home club,” Farrell said.

Meanwhile co-coach and player Nick Bourke got to experience his first win in the red and white and it was a memorable 50-game milestone for Ollie Monteith and Max Sutton.

“Was a great feeling amongst the group after the game, certainly some relief but it was reward for effort from the playing group and everyone around the club,” he said.

“Ollie and Max were sensational for us on Saturday both in game 50. It’s always nice to come away with the win especially for those two boys who are so respected amongst the group.”

Bourke said debutant Jack Connolly “did not look out of place”.

“Great to see another Ocean Grove junior come through the program and reap the rewards for his senior debut,” he said.