Morrish Medal: Josh Scott, the quiet observer

There’s a lot more to Josh Scott than meets the eye. On face value, the lanky forward from Lakes Entrance seems like your classic knockabout country bloke who loves to have a laugh and get out there and enjoys his football. Yet if you look deeper, Scott is a true student of the game, who soaks up all the knowledge he can from those who are willing to share their wisdom. Scott is the fourth Gippsland Power player to receive the award in six years, with Nick Graham, Dyson Heppell and Jarryd Blair being the other three.

Going into the ceremony, Scott knew he was going to be taking home the leading goal kicker award. Scott’s 47 goals were achieved on the back of some huge hauls, in particular, a bag of nine against the Bendigo Pioneers. Yet no leading goal kicker, or key forward, had ever won the Morrish Medal. Scott had no expectations at all, as he thought his team mates Alex Carr and Ed Morris were “the guys to beat”. After he was presented with the Morrish Medal, Scott was in total disbelief: “It hasn’t sunk in yet to tell you the truth.”

Towards the latter part of the season, the 19-year-old Scott was put up against seasoned AFL bodies, playing against Collingwood and Geelong in the VFL. Scott vividly recounted his first moments playing against a premiership player with a cheeky wide grin spread across his cheeks: “My first ball up was on (sic) Alan Didak and I was just sitting thinking ‘oh how is this going to go?’ He tried to fend me off first of all and I actually got him holding the ball which calmed the nerves a bit.” Scott chuckled when he said he pinged ‘Dids’, but immediately Scott’s maturity showed when he admitted he was far too scared of approaching an AFL star after the game. “They’ve definitely achieved a lot more than I have, so I just keep my mouth shut and hopefully get a kick.”

There seems to be more and more of those egotistical young players coming through the AFL ranks, believing their talent should automatically earn them respect. All three of Scott, Ben Cavarra and Jacob Chisari spoke like fine young men who understand their place in the world – a promising sign, and certainly a representation of the professionalism and understanding that the TAC Cup gives these young players.

Gippsland Power’s talent manager, Peter Francis, is a man who is well known around Gippsland for his abundance of football and fitness knowledge. Over the years he’s seen many talented players come through the ranks, and help guide some of the wayward ones back onto the right track. As a 14-year-old, I remember Francis coming down to my club, who had lost every single game by over 60 points that season. Regardless of who we were, Francis worked each player harder than we ever had before and taught me how to run. It might have just been common sense, but I’ll never forget Francis yelling “the faster you move your arms, the faster your legs will go” as we embarked on an intense sprints session. That Saturday I tagged Carlton’s Nick Graham. Despite Graham giving me an absolute hiding, Francis was still there to give me and the rest of the boys a pat on the back after the game.

Scott said that Francis was “unreal” and that he “lives and breathes” the Gippsland Power football club. “Both he and (Gippsland Power coach) Nick Stevens are just such genuine blokes”.

The Power lost in the first week of finals, as their squad barely scraped home, ravaged by injuries that was tearing their already small squad up. Scott found it difficult sitting on the sidelines during the finals, but the injury was progressing better than he thought. He’s training as hard as ever, with his personal trainer pushing him to the point where he had “a little spew” during a session last week.

Former team mate and fellow undersized key forward Tim Membrey, now at the Sydney Swans, was an interesting role model for Scott. After playing second fiddle to Membrey last year, Scott observed and learned efficient running patterns and took in how and where Membrey lead to. After carefully watching and learning, Scott put those into place to have one of the most incredible seasons in TAC Cup history. To a bloke who epitomises the cross-breed of country footballer and student of the game, well done on a terrific season and the achievements were thoroughly deserved.

Check out our interview with Scott here.

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