WARM weather, good footy and a relaxed environment.
Those are just some of the factors which have seen four Echuca footballers temporarily move north in the search of game time in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of competitions in Victoria.
Angus Byrne, Cooper Barber, Ned Lanyon (who had signed for Yarraville-Seddon in the Western Region Football League) and Will Monahan are all set to pull on the boots in the Northern Territory Football League which starts later this year.
The boys are currently serving a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Howard Springs, a former mining town, before getting stuck into their new lifestyle.
“We thought it was a good opportunity to try something different especially with everything that is happening,” Barber said.
“It’s certainly going to be a different experience but we’re all looking forward to it.
“You don’t always get to play footy in another state so we will definitely be making the most of our opportunity up here.
“We would like to stay for as long as possible, but we all do want to come home for Christmas.
“It could all come down to whether we would have to do another quarantine period.”
The Murray Bombers, past and present, follow in the footsteps of senior coach Andrew Walker, Cam Valentine and Kane Morris who played in the NT for Pint last year.
But the big difference there will be teammates on different sides.
Barber, Lanyon and Monahan will all play for Waratah.
Meanwhile Byrne is set for a stint in red and black with the Tiwi Bombers.
“Gus has a few kilos on me so I’m not exactly looking forward to playing against him,” Barber said.
“The boys who went up last year said they had a great experience so that certainly helped us to make the decision.
“We’re all living together at the moment so it will definitely be a good bonding experience as well.”
In the Premier League (the top division) last year, the Tiwi Bombers finished third on the ladder, while Waratah ended the year in sixth.
Several former AFL footballers played games across the competition, including four-time premiership Hawk Cyril Rioli.
“We’ve heard the standard is pretty good so it will be good to get into it,” Barber said.
“Hopefully we can play in the top side a few times and get the chance to play against some really experienced footballers.
“It’s just nice to have the chance to play after the season back home was cancelled.”
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