Broadbent decision 'disappointing' : Valentine
Peel Thunder coach Geoff Valentine has expressed his disappointment at the loss of young ruckman Jackson Broadbent, who was allowed to join South Fremantle after a decision from the WAFL arbitrator.
The Thunder argued Broadbent, who won the Mel Whinnen Medal as the best player afield in the the colts grand final last year, was a protected player under WAFL rules, but mediation went the way of the 18 year old, who reportedly believed he would lack senior opportunity behind several big men from the club’s alignment partner Fremantle.
Valentine told Sports Breakfast he was confused by the decision.
“I thought he was not eligible for clearance. We certainly hadn’t done anything [wrong] in our conduct, South Fremantle had actually even approached him during the closed period, and I just thought ‘oh well, it’s sort of a case of black and white’”, Valentine said.
“The arbitrator saw it differently, and I guess the … concern is the potential precedent that it does set, it does leave a very open, very grey area now with what’s considered opportunity and what’s not.
“As any WAFL coach would tell you, you work with the volunteers and the boys that want to be there, so we’ve got a great group that have come through that are really committed to the Peel footy club and they’re the ones that will get our time and energy.”
Fremantle, where Valentine also works as a development coach, lost some depth through the offseason, with Griffin Logue, Blake Acres, Rory Lobb, and Lloyd Meek all leaving the club, but he was confident the Thunder would not be impacted.
“The list management here at Fremantle’s been first class, certainly in my short time but probably over the last three or four years building to where they’re at,” Valentine said.
“They bring in Josh Corbett, Corey Wagner, a few mature players like that who straight away you can see if they’re not playing AFL footy, they’re going to be playing some really good state league footy.
“We’ll have hopefully a really healthy squad to pick from, and then it’s a case of getting the right balance in the 22 and winning some games of footy. We’re mindful we didn’t start well last year as a footy club, I think halfway through the season we were 5-6, so we need to make sure we get off to a good start and get the season rolling early.”
Peel finished fifth on the ladder last season, defeating South Fremantle in an elimination final before having their season ended by Claremont, with Valentine saying expectations would be raised again this year.
“I think the depth is stronger than it was last year. People who’ve been around the place for a longer time than me tell me it’s the best depth we’ve had in a long time,” he said.
“A number of those graduating colts from last year, Scott Tuia, Taj Wyburd, Corey Tregenza-Cashell, they’ve had really strong preseasons, and then you can add a few of the senior boys, Benny Hancock missed a lot of footy last year with a hamstring tendon injury, he’s had a really good summer, Blair Bell presents in wonderful nick, and then the real emergence of some of the young leaders in Jack Sears and Tyler Nesbitt.
“We’re fortunate, I guess, to have the elite talent coming through the Peel system in Mitch Edwards, Clay Hall, Reece Torrent, and Ethan Logan, who were all really influential players at state level last year and really led that colts team to their premiership. Those four have all had big summers and been part of the senior program … it’s very exciting for the club.”
The WAFL season gets underway on Easter Weekend next month, with the Thunder’s first assignment coming in the form of East Fremantle at Lane Group Stadium on Good Friday.
IMAGE: The West Australian.