FRED Mellington has looked after the Horsham District league’s interleague squads for almost 20 years.
He said seeing players who every week come up against each other play on the same side once a year was something very special.
“You meet these other guys that maybe you’re not so pleased with on a weekly basis, but you find out they’re just like you,” he said.
“We are all human and we all like footy. We just wear different jumpers each week. You see the players make life long friends with guys a week ago they might not have thought very highly of.
“I really like the fact that you don’t have to be playing in the best team in the competition to be able to play interleague. You get that opportunity to play at a very high level in a very strong team.”
Mellington has held a variety of roles on the Horsham District league board. No matter what role he has had, he has always looked after interleague.
“I’ve been on the board for 18 years and this my 18th interleague – this is my baby, it’s what I like doing,” he said.
After doing 18 interleagues, one thing is for sure – the team picked on the Wednesday night is never the team that runs out on Saturday.Fred Mellington
“The board has always supported interleague because it gives us the chance to go up in the AFL Victoria rankings. The better ranking we have the more standing we have as a league. We want to be as good as we can be.”
Despite posing some logistical issues, Mellington said seeing the camaraderie after a win was always worth the organisation beforehand.
“Logistically it’s a huge nightmare with players coming from everywhere,” he said.
“We came well from behind against Maryborough-Castlemaine one year to beat them. We were five or six goals down at three-quarter-time and came back for a glorious win. That was fantastic and the boys had a great night coming home on the bus.
“We have had some one and two-point wins a few years ago. The boys last year had a fantastic win against Colac and the camaraderie after that was as good as I’ve seen.”
Mellington said he was excited to see what this year’s senior team led by Nick Pekin can achieve on Saturday.
“Nick’s record speaks for itself – he was captain of Victoria and is mad about interleague,” he said.
“You would think players would like to play under him. This weekend is all an unknown with playing on a neutral ground. It comes down to weather and temperature so we will just go down with our best team and hopefully come away with a win.”
With 18 Horsham District interleagues under his belt, Mellington said only one thing was for certain regarding the final team.
“After doing 18 interleagues, one thing is for sure – the team picked on the Wednesday night is never the team that runs out on Saturday,” he said.