The latest Magpie to take a stroll down media street is fearless Co-Captain, Callum Carseldine
The Western Magpies were as comprehensive as they have been all year in their win over Palm Beach on Saturday, and they were led from the front superbly by skipper Callum Carseldine, the round 15 Syd Guildford nominee.
Like in a few other games this year, Carseldine had his own footy on Saturday, but his best on ground performance wasn’t handed to him on a platter; he really had to work for this one.
“I copped a tag in the first half. I’m not used to being tagged so it was a new experience, but fortunately I thought the likes of Drew Mitchell and the other mids were getting dangerous, so we were getting the job done without me being too influential early,” Carseldine said.
“I guess I worked my way into it through the contested footy rather than free footy.”
After missing last year due to an ACL tear, managing his load this year was always going to be a tricky one.
If you include the State Representative Carnival, it’s been 12 weeks without a break, but resting the knee may not be the best option.
“It’s a unique thing because you think you need rest, but what the knee actually needs is for you to strengthen the quad and hamstrings. The more you rest the worse it gets,” he said.
He believes his ability to consistently be out on the park this year has been helped by one man in particular.
“James Nightingale, has been huge for us in terms of being quite structured and deliberate in how we recover, I feel really good going into the last part of the year,” Carseldine said.
While Carseldine has been a star this year, the Magpies biggest strength in 2015 has been their ability to spread the load.
The have adopted the affectionate title of ‘a bunch of role players’ both internally, and externally.
“There is always banter in the sheds in terms of who is the best, Matt Davis rates himself pretty high,” he joked.
“The best thing about this year, it seems like there is different guys each week standing out. Early on in the year when Luke Scott went down with his ankle, we thought we would really struggle to be a potent team.
“We have learned not to rely on the individual, we have learned to rely on our disciplines and our processes, but we are very understanding of the fact that Labrador are still the bench mark and for us to beat them, we are all going to have to play our best.”
When we spoke earlier in the year, Carseldine’s goals were a top four finish. Even though that has been well and truly eclipsed, there are still some areas that need to be addressed.
“We haven’t got as close to Labrador as we would like, but we have certainly gone better and stayed at a higher level for longer than I would have thought of, and that’s largely because of Hump and the coaching staff,” he said.
With finals just three weeks away, I asked Carseldine if he could dare to dream just yet.
“I think it’s healthy to dream. July and August are tough months. Rocking up to training you are still enthusiastic, but I think it’s healthy to think about the possibilities of winning a grand final, provided you don’t go away from the things that have got you to this point,” he said.
“That’s the best thing about the Magpies. I’ve never sensed there are egos or people who think they are better than what they are. It’s good to think a little bit about what we could achieve, that creates motivation and energy amongst the group, but we are definitely not looking past Mt Gravatt this weekend.
“They are always a really hard and physical side, and their last month has been excellent, so there is no chance we are going to take the last three weeks lightly.”
The Magpies are in the position they are in 2015 for two reasons, the cattle, and the leadership. Carseldine is at the front of them both.
The Magpies travel to Dittmer Park this Saturday to take on Mt Gravatt.
Credit: Andrew Wiles (AFLQ)