The New #12
Hugh Vickers-Willis was announced the Captain of the Uni Blues in advance of Round 1. In Hugh’s low key manner, the announcement was understated and un-assuming. We took some time post match to sit down with the new #12 to find out some more about the Clubs appointed on field leader for 2015.
Congratulations on your appointment. Can you tell us what this means to you?
Being selected as the captain of the club obviously comes as a great honour. The significance of wearing the number 12 has always been something I have respected and looked up to ever since joining the club and given the calibre of players to have been captain in the past, I definitely have an increased drive to perform on and off the field. I feel that it comes with a lot more responsibility than just leading the boys out onto the field on a Saturday. Along with the leadership group, we feel it is our responsibility to uphold the values of the Blues, for which it is well known, and to ensure that as a club, we strive to reach our full potential in season 2015.
Are you able to give a bit of background on your career thus far at the Blues? When did you start? What got you down to the Club? And some of you favourite memories.
Having watched my brother play numerous games at Uni oval and experienced the electric post-match atmosphere in the pavvy whilst still at school, the decision to head down to blues in as an U19 in 2009 was a no-brainer.
In what I believe to only be the beginning of a great collection of memories down at Blues, there are definitely a few that stand out. Beating blacks by a kick after the siren inn an Unders Derby and winning our prelim final against Scotch in U19s still gets the heart racing. More recently, playing a few games alongside my older brother was definitely something to remember as well as having the upper-hand over my old school team at the Junction Oval “ something that is hard to not enjoy.
No doubt though, the premiership in 2014 is hard to top thus far. To bounce back last year and develop alongside each other as footballers and mates was an amazing experience and I think I it clear that the club is a lot better off for it.
Has there been a Captain that you have played under at the Blues or elsewhere whose style has impressed you? And what was it that made an impression?
Having played under 3 very different leaders whilst at the club, it is a tough ask to single one out. That said, having been led by Jack Watts to a premiership last year in what was a defining year for the club, was by no small amount due to Jack’s on-field leadership. Also lucky enough to play in the backline with Jack all year, his ability to lead by example and to step-up, be it with a big grab or a selfless 1%er at critical times, is definitely something that I admire and something that I hope to replicate in 2015.
The Club obviously had some success last season but I think it would be fair to say that you had your best season so far in 2014. Is there something that you personally did differently last year? And how would you compare the preparation for 2015?
The pre-season of 2014 was definitely my most complete since arriving at the club and something that I feel definitely helped me come match-day. I think that a combination of being fitter and stronger, playing alongside close mates and buying into a game plan that suited the way I like to play contributed to 2014 being my best season yet. The start to 2015 has been exception however there are always areas that you would like to improve on, therefore it just comes down to managing workload week to week and getting in the extra running or gym session where I can. I must make mention also that Gleeson has done a great job of building a well-balanced, capable coaching team “ something that the boys will take great confidence from when running onto the field on Saturdays.
What are you expecting from the Blues in 2015?
The level of commitment from the boys to date has been really impressive and there is definitely a level of excitement around the club. Whilst welcoming back a number of players, we are lucky that the list is not too dissimilar to last year, thus we will be looking to further develop our game plan from 2014 and take that momentum into this season. The most positive sign however is that everyone has and will need to earn their spots each week. The talent from U19 through to senior level is really encouraging and is hopefully a sign that the Pavvy will be hearing many more victory chuckles in 2015.