In the first of this interview series called Switch the Play, Michael Hazell recently sat down with Sean Randall, senior player at St Bedes Mentone Tigers for a discussion about life, footy, and a few other things. As the year progresses we will try and interview a few players and even a coach or two.

Today we focus on Sean’s football. In the second half to be aired next week we learn more about Sean’s life outside football.

Before we get started, the attached short video clip from last year really neatly demonstrates what Sean is about. The first clip shows Sean spreading from the forward line out wide to the wing and linking in with Damon Schultz for an end to end play which was just outstanding. The second clip shows Sean taking on one of the opposition’s biggest players with a tackle. The tackle was not only a great tackle, but was at a critical part of the game. We held on that day for a close win, keeping alive our finals hopes.

Here is the first half of the discussion with Sean.

Haze – Welcome Sean. Great that you have given me some time to learn a bit more about you and so others at the club can learn a bit more about you.

Sean – No worries Hazell.

Haze – Back to last season, from memory, you didn’t get picked for the first couple of rounds so didn’t play until round 3 against Uni Blacks. Early on we worked out that Uni Blacks were a very good team so it was a baptism of fire of sorts.  To get your first game against them and do so well was just so pleasing for any coach – you had 16 possessions, 7 tackles and it was pretty clear from then that you were going to fit into senior footy pretty well. Was that your first ever senior game at the club Sean?

Sean – Yeah and I think it was a rainy windy day, very contested so it was a bit of a shock. I sort of enjoyed it because it was kind of the way I have always played. It’s a really big jump from reserves. Seniors was a whole new level of physicality which was actually really enjoyable.

Haze – Yes.  I know what you mean being a very physical and tough player myself.

Sean – Yep, sure mate.

Haze – You came up against one of the best teams that day  – in fact them and Caulfield were two of the best 2 of the best B grade teams I think I’ve ever seen and have been involved in amateur footy for almost 25 years. Their on ballers were strong and very hard to stop. You were off and running though in your first game so certainly as coaches, we remember one of the big positives that game was your game which was great.

Sean  – It was very intense, I kept throwing a quick handball without thinking to nobody, stuff like that.

Haze – I don’t remember handballs to nobody, better check the video.   Next game was then Round 4 against Fitzroy, I have no idea how you went because I threw away or deleted everything after that game including stats, video, notes. I was so annoyed. Then we had Scotch the week after. Against Scotch you had a lowish possession count, but had 8 tackles. Just on this  and looking at all your stats for every game, Sean the description I use to sum you up and certainly for those 19’s blokes coming up and new players and even the guys that were there last year – the best phrase for you is Mr Consistent and Mr Reliable. I think except for one or two weeks, you consistently had 10 to 15 possessions every week and between 4 to 8 tackles.

Sean – I felt like really comfortable in the 5/6 role. I would always try to get like 20 touches and like 10 tackles – that was the target. Also the game against Fitzroy and what not, where I felt like I disappeared I think that was probably just a first year thing. Apart from that I felt comfortable in that role all year to have a consistent sort of thing going.

Haze – Agree.  For a lot of the older more senior guys, it really helps for kids coming up to know what a role is and to fit into that. You did that so well. In the olden days, half forward flank was one of the hardest positions to play and it was one where you struggled to get many touches, but you really nailed that role well.

Sean – Thanks Haze.

Haze – Another thing a lot of people who didn’t come down and watch many games wouldn’t know about you is your overhead marking for your size. Pretty good. Where’d you learn that?

Sean – I reckon I learnt that from going away from footy for a while and then coming back and then realising that I might put some work into marking. I just don’t think I ever put any work into marking and I came back one year and was able to mark so I don’t know what happened. Maybe a bit of development or a bit of luck.

Haze – Well the marking does really round you out nicely in terms of footballing. My little thing for footballers is to develop a trick or a quirky thing or something that is very hard for someone to match up on. Your marking is very hard to match up on. The other thing that I noticed last year about you marking is you used to put yourself in a dangerous position in that hole, right sort of in the middle of the ground where it was pretty contested and you’re likely to get 8 blokes putting their knees into your back. Like we asked, you’d never stay there long, you’d always duck in and out, but you were always happy to go into that spot and take a short pass and take an overhead mark and there was always pressure behind you and you were able to hold those marks really well. It takes a bit of courage to do that.

Sean – Well if you don’t get in there, you’ll probably cop a spray or something. I guess it’s a good trick as you say. I sort of surprise myself sometimes when I take those marks cos I’m not very tall.

Haze – very Jimmy Bartel like.

Sean – Not sure about that but being a Geelong supporter I loved Bartel as a player.


Stay tuned as we hear the second part of our interview with Sean in a few days’ time.