Sport

Squeaky keen for coaching role

By Riverine Herald

CAMERON Farrer had been waiting for this moment to come for weeks.

Having found out a few days ago he had passed his first football coaching accreditation test, he was fiddling impatiently, as he had been for hours, at Echuca South Recreation Reserve.

It’s a Tuesday, which usually means just one thing — Echuca United is training and he would be helping wherever he could to ensure the team was successful.

And he still would do that later on, but this Tuesday was a bit different.

This Tuesday will see the Riv photographer Cath Grey turn up to take his photo, along with his coach at the Echuca Moama Rockets, Mark McGann.

Squeak, as Farrer is affectionately known around the twin towns, has an intellectual disability which makes his first step along the long coaching road all the more special.

By the time Cath and McGann get to the ground for the photo shoot, Squeak has been there for two and a half hours.

As soon as the car lurches to a halt he’s straight up to Cath — ‘‘I’m ready,’’ he said.

His bubbly, energetic personality has made him a favourite at both United and the Rockets alike.

When McGann found out Squeak had passed the football coaching test, he ensured it would be celebrated like it should.

And is there a better feeling than the support and appreciation of your teammates and friends? Doubt it.

After 11 hours working to attain the coaching accreditation with the help of McGann, Squeak passed his football coaching accreditation test.

Squeak dedicates huge amounts of his own time to helping out at Echuca United and the Echuca Moama Rockets training sessions and games.

The Rockets player was presented his new title in front of mates and coaches at Echuca United’s training session recently, which was met with rapturous applause and pats on the back.

Squeak expressed his desire to become a mentor to McGann around Christmas time, and the pair got to the task quickly.

‘‘We were talking at the end of the year and had a conversation about coaching,’’ McGann said.

‘‘We got talking about how everyone who coaches has to be accredited now and he sounded interested so I asked if he wanted to do it.

‘‘I said if he was keen I could give him a hand.

‘‘He was keen to get into it because he’s not only involved with the Rockets and Echuca United, but he helps out (AFL Goulburn Murray football development officer) Trevor Mellington with some of the junior academies he runs, so I suggested I could give him a hand.’’

McGann sat down with Squeak over a period of five sessions, totalling about 11 hours, to complete the online AFL Coach website application and test.

When he found out Squeak had passed the test, McGann presented him the news at the end of a United training. ‘‘It’s an online course these days, and there’s still a bit of a workshop which we’ll do but he is qualified now,’’ McGann said.

‘‘Because of his intellectual disability, instead of it being a two-and-a-half hour course, we did five sessions over about 11 hours.

‘‘I ran through the accreditation and tried to translate it to something he could relate to. We put it in his terms and although it was a bit of a longer process he was keen to get it done.’’

With the big one checked off his list, Squeak’s next goal could be to get involved with a team he used to play for.

‘‘Another passion of his is, three years ago he played for Victoria Country and, he’s thinking he may be able to put his hand up for an assistant coaching role when the next carnival rolls around,’’ McGann said.

‘‘It was good to see someone go through the process of giving back to the club and — who knows — he may end up with an assistant role with the Rockets this season.

‘‘I imagine he’ll be a playing assistant coach role. I don’t know how many folks with an intellectual disability have actually done this so what he has done it is pretty special.’’

Needless to say, Squeak was beaming from ear to ear when he found out he had passed. He was also beaming from ear to ear the entire time Cath and McGann were completing the photoshoot.

Congratulations, Squeak.