On the eve of season 2016 of the Victorian Football League, the Port Melbourne Football Club continues to solidify its long-standing relationship with TAC Cup side, the Oakleigh Chargers.
As of the start of the 2016 season, the Borough have been responsible for the recruitment of 142 ex-Oakleigh Charger players since the alignment officially commenced in 1999.
There have been several Borough players who have used their transition from the Chargers to become drafted to AFL clubs, or simply become some of the most legendary and iconic players to pull on a Port Melbourne jumper.
AFL draftees Adrian Deluca, Josh Gibson and Robin Nahas all commenced their football careers at the Chargers before plying their trade at the Borough and subsequently catching the eye of recruiters.
Some of the club’s biggest names of recent times also started their career via the Oakleigh/Port Melbourne pathway, including former captain Luke Cotchett (137 games), current captain Toby Pinwill (166), current vice-captain Chris Cain (156), Ryan McMahon (206), Adrian Bonaddio (138), Damian Mascitti (39), Nathan Batsanis (81) and Josh Scipione (56).
“This partnership has been a highly successful and rewarding alignment for both organisations,” General Manager Barry Kidd said.
“The Port Melbourne Football Club is committed to working closely with the Chargers to provide a career path for young footballers, as well as opportunities for listed Charger boys to play VFL Senior football throughout the season as part of the ‘23rd Man’ initiative,” he said.
The Oakleigh Chargers have been a dominant entity in the TAC Cup competition in recent times, having won three out of the last four Premierships.
The 23rd Man initiative was responsible for recent Collingwood draftees Ben Crocker (pick 65) and Tom Phillips (pick 58) playing impressive Senior games for the Borough in season 2015.
Season 2016 will see a total of eight more recently-listed Charger boys join the club, as the Borough welcomes Michael Wenn, Harvey Hooper, Pat Phillips, Fraser Pearce, Lachlan Sullivan, Daniel Beddison, Jayden Wilson and Andrew Walker.
The Port Melbourne Football Club is excited to continue developing this relationship in the coming years, and hopefully celebrating many more stories of success for two great clubs.