Latest News Captain Mark McGough looking to a new era of success
Captain Mark McGough looking to a new era of success
Posted on 20/09/2012
By Chris Pike
MARK McGough had heard all about the history of East Fremantle when he arrived in 2010, but now the skipper is looking to lead his team into Sunday's grand final against Claremont and start creating a whole new era of success with the Sharks.
For a decade now, McGough has been best known for his Anzac Day Medal he won playing for Collingwood against Essendon back in 2002, but now after three full seasons of outstanding performances for East Fremantle, he has the chance to become a premiership captain.
McGough played 37 games with Collingwood and then another 12 with St Kilda before his AFL career came to a close at the end of 2006.
After spending time playing with Montmorency in Victoria's Northern Football League, he was lured to join former Collingwood teammate Shane Woewodin at East Fremantle in 2010 and has been an outstanding leader in the midfield ever since.
He was made captain in 2011 after the retirement of Kasey Green and his 2012 campaign could very well be the best, and most consistent, of his entire career.
The 28-year-old averaged almost 26 possessions a game throughout the season and the last two weeks has led from the front tremendously against East Perth and Swan Districts as the Sharks have won their first two finals since the preliminary final of 2000.
Sunday is East Fremantle's first grand final appearance since 2000 with the Sharks looking to end their longest ever premiership drought that dates back to 1998. Sunday at Patersons Stadium will be massive for the Sharks with the colts and reserves also in grand finals.
While McGough is proud of the chance his team has earned to make the grand final, he knows that reigning premiers Claremont are a huge stumbling block in the way of a successful day.
"It's tremendous for the whole club getting all three grades into the grand final and I'm proud and humbled of the group of players we've got and now I can't wait until Sunday to run out there," McGough said.
"It is going to be a huge week for the club and there is a lot of excitement around the place. We hadn't won a final for 12 years before the last couple of weeks so now to win two and get into a grand final is just great. It's a bonus that we have all three grades in as well.
"It is going to be a big challenge obviously. We have two hours of footy that will decide who wins the grand final so we are really looking forward to it. The boys are playing good passionate, team footy and everyone is doing their job. If we can keep that up, who knows what can happen."
When McGough signed with East Fremantle the rich history of the club was obvious to see, but so was the fact that the club was perhaps stuck in the past of living off those glory days.
That's why the club as a whole, from the board right down to the playing group, turned their focus to being successful going forward and now the results are paying off.
"You hear about the history of the club and I was humbled and honoured when I was given the opportunity to be named captain, but one of the big reasons we have turned around on and off the field is because of the strong board and our CEO Adam Kelly coming in," McGough said.
"The motto used to be 'A club with great tradition', but now we've changed that to 'Onward to victory' so we are looking forward. While it's great having that success in the past, we really want to do something now with this playing group."
The biggest concern out of last Sunday's preliminary final win over Swan Districts was a big knock copped by key forward, and McGough and Andrew Stephen's housemate, Jack Perham.
While he is still battling to prove he is right to play in the grand final, with Fremantle's Jonathon Griffin and West Coast's Jacob Brennan to come in, coach Steve Malaxos is set to have some difficult selection decisions to make.
"It's tough with Jack to tell whether he or not he has been dulled down by the blow or not. He is a pretty laid back, casual sort of a guy anyway but that inspired us too," he said.
"It was a courageous act going into that contest and he put his body on the line for the team so that was a fantastic, and inspiring act. We will just have to see how he pulls up as the week goes on, but if he doesn’t get up someone else will get a chance."
While East Fremantle has been well served by senior players this season like McGough, Rory O'Brien, Steven Dodd, Richard Hadley, Rob Young, Luke Weller and Leith Teakle, some youngsters have stepped up to make an impact as well.
Sean Henson has been outstanding on the wing ever since breaking into the team in Round 5 and Brad Cooper has cemented his spot in defence since Round 21 also with his best game of his career coming against Swans on Sunday.
"Heno has just kept going all year and his form from the start of the year when he came into the team right up until now has been amazing for a young guy," McGough said.
"Brad Cooper did a great job as well on Newman. All of our back-line was tremendous again, but him along with Mitch Brown on Hansen and Steven Dodd on Tim Geappen really stood out.
"Coops actually played at Brigades last year up in Geraldton and wasn’t sure if he was going to play this year or not because of his commitments with his physiotherapy studies. He's come in and done the job for us. His desperation and commitment is outstanding."
At the other end of the scale, the grand final will be the last games in the careers of Leith Teakle and Luke Weller. McGough has enjoyed playing with both the last three years and was glad to reacquaint himself with Teakle after the pair spent a year together at Collingwood in 2002.
While McGough would be happy to send off the pair with a premiership, he knows that in a grand final there is already enough motivation to win.
"Those two guys have been long, loyal servants for the club and they will be sorely missed next year just from the leadership and personalities they bring," he said.
"While it is important for those two guys to try and give them the dream send off, it's bigger than that and it's about the whole club being back to a grand final. We just have to go into Sunday's game making sure that we have 22 guys who do their job to the best of their ability."
One area that East Fremantle was able to get on top of Swan Districts in the preliminary finals was at the stoppages led by McGough, Hadley and Koby Stevens.
The skipper knows they will need to win there again on Sunday up against Claremont and the likes of Luke Blackwell, Kane Mitchell, Jake Murphy, Tom Swift and Byron Schammer.
"One of the key areas we identified that we needed to get on top was in close in the midfield and I think it was 14-12 in our favour from centre bounces and 48-40 overall from stoppages," he said.
"That was an area we focused on and it's going to be something we need to do well again on Sunday against arguably the best midfield in the competition."
McGough did get reported for a clash with Tony Notte against Swans in the preliminary final, but he never had anything to worry about and was quick to call his parents after the game to assure them they still should make the trip to Perth.
"I had to call my folks straight after the game to assure them I was going to get off. They had already booked their tickets, so that was lucky I got off."
Jun. 02, 2013
The first weekend in June means only one thing in WA footy. It's the Foundation Derby: East Fremantle vs South Fremantle, and this year it's at East Fremantle Oval on SUNDAY 2nd June. We've moved from our usual Monday slot to avoid clashing with the Dockers/West Coast game, so now you have the next day off to recover.
It will be a festival atmosphere at East Fremantle Oval, with plenty of fun for the whole family including jumping castles, face painting and match day giveaways. Join the party after the game in the main social hall.
It's $15 for Adults and kids are free, so you'll struggle to find a better value day out anywhere in Perth. You can bring your own food and picnic blanket, or take advantage of our additional food and drink facilities. Just remember there's no BYO alcohol.
To experience the Foundation Derby in style, book a ticket for our President's Function, or VIP marquees.
The East Fremantle Football Club President invites you to join us for the President's Lunch on Sunday 2nd June. Following the function you will have the best seat in the house to watch East Fremantle play South Fremantle in the Foundation Derby. This is always a highlight of the WAFL calendar, so be sure to get your ticket early to avoid disappointment.
Your ticket includes
- Sit down lunch.
- Beer, Wine and Soft Drinks, including for 45 minutes after the final siren.
- Ground Entry.
- Legend's Lounge Access, including VIP seating to watch the match.
- Afternoon tea.
- Entertainment, including post match band.
- Football Budget.
Our VIP Marquees are suitable for large groups: groups of 20+ will receive their own private marquee.
Your ticket includes:
- 4 hours drinks package, including beer, wine & soft drinks, from a VIP bar
- Exclusive marquee access
- Ground entry
- Entertainment, including post match band
- Football Budget
*Catering options are available at additional cost
There are 3 ways to book:
Click here for all upcoming events.