Around the Clubs

Bats, Dingoes and the tussle for top dog in men’s 2nd Division

August 29th, 2021

As the aptly named masked lapwing (plover) flies, Bellingen and Orara football clubs are neighbours – and they’re pushing one another all the way in the men’s 2nd Division South competition.
They sit on top of the perch in joint first – with 36 points after 14 matches. Bellingen Bats have knocked 56 into the strings, Orara Valley Dingoes 52. Only the slightly more miserly defence of Bello has them ahead on goal difference.
Bellingen Bats rising star Rowan Juodvalkis said there’s a buzz around the squad.
“Everyone’s super pleased! It’s not a straightforward competition by any means and to be there at the top after three whole rounds has got everyone stoked,” he said.
“Orara have been great competition all season. We’ve pushed them and they’ve pushed us. They’re a solid team so it’s going to be a good fight. They motivate all the boys to perform at their best and everyone is keen and ready.”
The COVID interruption has been a bane for all in North Coast Football, but the mindset is resolute.
“There’s such a good energy in the squad at the moment and although the lockdown was unavoidable it definitely came at a bad time. I’m so keen to get back on the pitch and get that energy going,” Rowan said.
Like everyone in lockdown, trying to stay fit and game-sharp is a challenge. For Rowan, there’s been an additional climb.
“Juggling the HSC and training is super difficult. But I’ve been going on lots of runs to keep fit. Connell Park is only a couple of minutes away so being able to go down for a kick around has been a blessing,” he said.
“I’m always in the backyard doing various ball work as well to keep my touch and give myself a much needed reprieve from the stresses of online learning.”
Despite the near imperious seasons of both Orara and Bellingen – each dropping just two matches – Rowan said the Bats have room to fly higher.
“As a team I think everyone is on the same page that there is always things to improve on, and that there’s no room for complacency, which we’ve learned the hard way through our couple of losses this season,” he said.
“We all have big aspirations for the future of this squad so everyone is always pushing each other to perform at their best during both training and games.”

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