Morgan stays true to Centrals

Updated: December 14, 2015
Werribee Centrals best and fairest Stephen Morgan delivers his acceptance speech at this year's presentation night. Picture:
Werribee Centrals best and fairest Stephen Morgan delivers his acceptance speech at this year's presentation night. Picture:

Werribee Centrals best and fairest Stephen Morgan delivers his acceptance speech at this year’s presentation night.

WITH the departure of three pivotal on-field components from Galvin Park, Werribee Centrals coach Peter Mark would be breathing a sigh of relief that Stephen Morgan won’t be a fourth key name on the list come the opening of clearances on February 1.

With assistant coach, star forward Jason Butty (Port Melbourne Colts), highly-rated club captain Brayden Montebruno, and his brother, leading goal kicker Tyren Montebruno (both North Footscray), already flying the coop after a second straight year without seeing finals action, it was critical the Centurions retained the club’s No. 1 ruckman and midfield general.

“To be honest I never thought about leaving Centrals”, Morgan recently told K-Rock

This pledge by the reigning best and fairest winner to commit to his adopted club comes as a major boost to Werribee Centrals as the club licks its wounds after the exit of key personnel and begins the process of rejuvenating its playing list in what appears to be a transition period for the proud club.

At 29, the former Hoppers Crossing and North Coburg big man, now entering a fifth year at Centrals, now views himself and fellow club stalwarts Phil Jones and Chris Koutzamanis as taking over the mantle as the older generation of the team, who will essentially lead an inexperienced, yet exciting young group into battle in 2016 and beyond.

“Generally speaking, we are now a younger group,” Morgan said.

“Apart from Phil Jones, I don’t think there is anyone over the age of 30 so it looks like we will be going into next year quite young.

“It will be pretty exciting coming through with this younger group.”


Second year coach Mark has wasted little time in confirming a changing of the guard at Galvin Park.

He has replaced Brayden Montebruno with inspirational 23 year-old Blake Quarrier, who was announced as the new senior captain of the football club in the opening week of pre-season.

Morgan has backed the decision by his coach, and is adamant appointing a youngish captain with the qualities Quarrier will bring to the role will be a positive for the club moving forward.

“I can see why Blake was chosen for the job. He will be good,” Morgan said.

“He leads by example on the field, he is courageous and he has the respect of the players. It is the right move.”

Morgan, who personally had by far his most consistent and injury free season in 2015 – playing seventeen  of the eighteen games – believes the Mark’s philosophy is to attract younger players back to Werribee Centrals after an exodus of former juniors over the last five years.

This plan will hopefully build a stronger club so it can achieve sustained success.

“Bringing young bloke’s back who played junior footy at the club and keeping them here is definitely something ‘Skids’ (Mark) is keen on,” Morgan said.

“He says that in years gone past there has been too many kids who have played junior footy with Centrals but have then moved on to other clubs in the area.

“Skid realises it is very competitive around here, with so many clubs to choose from, but he understands for our list to grow we need to retain our players from junior ranks.

“If we can get young players to stick around together for a number of years – instead of a few – like the good sides do then the success will come.”

As far as on field is concerned, Morgan admits that finding suitable replacements for Tyren Montebruno and Butty will cause some headaches as the coaching staff reshuffle the deck chairs for an assault on the 2016 season.

“We are certainly going to have to find a couple of new avenues to goal as those two guys we pretty much relied on them to kick a lot of our score,” Morgan.

It’s going to be something that has to be sorted.”

Despite their loss, Morgan believes it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes forward options for next season.

He  does concede the players to fill the void left both Montebruno and Butty will most likely come from within the current ranks, rather than outside the club, however he didn’t rule out the club recruiting some readymade forwards if that’s the option the club wanted to take.

“At this stage we are probably looking internally,” Morgan said.

“A young player like Luke Cachia – who is a Centrals kid – got his opportunity at centre half forward late in the year, and impressed in a couple of games.

“If he has a good preseason then there is definitely a spot there for him.”

Although buoyed by the numbers on the track in the six week training block leading up to Christmas, and genuinely excited about what his young team can to bring to the table in 2016, Morgan is steadfast on what is required if Werribee Centrals are to improve on what was a below par 2015.

A record 189-point mauling at the hands of North Geelong in the final game of the home and away season is still fresh in the minds of those who remain, and a bitter reminder of the work still to be done.

“It all comes down to effort for us,” Morgan said.

“This year we basically didn’t start playing some decent footy until about Round 7 and that is just far too late.

“It’s such an even competition and it just shows if the effort is not there, and you don’t turn up to play, then anyone will beat you.”

Morgan was reluctant to put a cap on what Werribee Centrals could accomplish in 2016 but said another year without finals would be disappointing.

“We definitely want to play finals next year,” he said.

“Everyone around the club doesn’t want a repeat performance like this year.”

Twitter: @heath_buck

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