‘JOSH NEGOTIATES THE OBSTACLES ON HIS FOOTY JOURNEY…….’

Lennie Greskie was a granite-like, seemingly indestructible small man, who wore the number 3 guernsey for Wangaratta Rovers through the late fifties/ early sixties.

Starting out as a livewire on-baller in the great Hawk sides of the Bob Rose era, he morphed into a no-holds-barred back pocket player who could make life hell for resting rovers.

Four premierships, 236 games and Hall of Fame Induction was the legacy of Greskie’s 12 years at the Findlay Oval.

The fascinating aspect of his career was that those 236 games were all played consecutively.

Ironically, in his first appearance with North Wangaratta, after taking over as captain-coach in 1970, Lennie broke his leg. He recovered in due course , and eventually led the long-suffering Northerners to their first O & K flag in 1973…..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

If you thought that the durable Greskie provided the template for the ideal Ovens and Murray career, spare a thought for a fellah who, after 10 years, is still making his way in the game…….

Josh Newton’s family has been part and parcel of the Whorouly Football Club for a good portion of its 130 years.

His Grandfather Bill and great-uncle Alan, both long-serving players, were members of the Maroon’s 1952 Premiership side.

Two other great-uncles – Stuart and Brian ‘Barney’ Elkington- played for decades. ‘Stuey’ coached the Club and won the Baker Medal In 1970; ‘Barney’ also included a B & F among his CV.

Josh’s uncle Rod and dad Wayne, also champions of the Club, played key roles in flags, and performed just about every chore on the agenda at Memorial Park. Rod ( now better known as Magpie goal-kicker ‘Juice’s’ old man ) had a brief, highly-promising 50-game flirtation with the Rovers, but returned home to resume a stellar career.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Josh and his twin Andy were recruited to the Rovers Thirds in 2011. The word among the scouts who had pushed them in the Hawks’ direction was that they were lads of considerable potential. Those who’d locked horns with their dad were certain that they’d have inherited the competitive Newton genes.

The boys were just 16 – ‘bottom-age’ kids who were expected to spend a developmental year with the Thirds before making an impact the following season.

Josh, however, produced a few slashing performances, which prompted Hawk coach Mick Caruso to blood him in the struggling senior side.

His introduction to senior footy came in Round 13 , against Corowa-Rutherglen. After showing promise in three games he returned to the Thirds, to help them into the Grand Final.

The following year he was one of a number of youngsters, such as Marcus Panozzo, Ash Pollard, Sam Caruso, Toby Ryan and Ryan Cobain, who were part of a revitalised Hawk line-up. They’d risen from irrelevance to be labelled premiership threats, but Josh Newton wouldn’t be there, as they embarked on the Barry Hall-inspired push for finals.

A dislocated shoulder against Lavington, in his sixth senior match for the season, sent him back to square-one. He returned, after a lengthy absence, to play a handful of games in the Thirds.

What followed was a continuing litany of disaster……..and would certainly test any youngster’s resolve.

Two weeks into 2013 Josh ‘did’ a Posterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee. After a five week recovery he was set to return when his shoulder ‘popped’ at training. The result ?….. Season over…….

The Shoulder ‘Reco’ was carried out in early 2014, which put him on the sidelines for the rest of that season.

Up and firing again, he approached 2015 with renewed endeavour…….Three weeks prior to the kick-off, though, he went down with another serious knee injury – an ACL.

That put paid to another season…… by the time he’d recovered from the resultant ‘Reco’, there was time for 10 senior games in the back half of 2016.

But there was sunlight on the horizon….2017 proved to be a breakout year.

Fully fit and firing, he missed just the one game , collected the Peter McGuire Memorial Award, as the Club’s Most Consistent Player, and finished fourth in the Club B & F.

Surely, those around the Findlay Oval surmised, the injury Gods are now looking kindly upon young Josh……

No way !

After playing seven games in 2018, he did his left knee against Albury. The result?………..Another ‘Reco’.

Of course, he lost 2019 with an extensive recovery period, then the Pandemic naturally ruled him out last season………..

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Josh hadn’t played a senior game in three years……….until last Saturday……..

The impact of his low-key recall for the important clash at the Albury Sportsground was probably lost among the nine changes ( the majority of them big names ) which were made to a winning line-up.

Confusion reigned amongst the commentators, in particular, as the bloke in the Number 29 guernsey, who was bobbing up in attack, and impressing with his assault on the pill, was indeed Josh Newton, and not Cam Nottle.

He was up and about, had a couple of snaps on goal, a few telling possessions, and, as coach Daryn Cresswell complimented him later, ‘had a crack’….

Who wouldn’t, after four comebacks and 44 games in 10 years……………..

# Thanks to ‘SWITCHED ON SPORTS’ for the photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s