REECE McNally’s move to the Southern Mallee Giants in 2018 was his first move away from hometown club Imperials Football and Netball Club.
McNally, 27, played his entire career for the Imperials in the Sunraysia league, starting from a junior and into seniors.
He said it wasn’t a hard decision to move to the Southern Mallee Giants.
Coach Coleman Schache and the evergreen Clint Burdett are McNally’s cousins.
“My mothers side of the family grew up in Hopetoun and I still have a lot of family in Hopetoun and Horsham,” he said.
“I contacted Coleman and said I wouldn’t have minded playing for him.”
McNally said he played alongside his brother, Jarrod, throughout his career at Imperials and said his brother had a year off playing football in 2018 – which made the move to the Giants a little easier.
“I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to play with cousins,” he said.
McNally said the Sunraysia league and the Wimmera league have differences.
“The Wimmera is a lot more free flowing, a faster paced game and a bit more running,” he said.
“Whereas, the Sunraysia league’s a little bit more contested and kicking to packs.”
The Sunraysia league were touched up by the Wimmera league in the interleague clash in 2016.
The Wimmera league won 17.11 (113) to 8.13 (61), McNally said he didn’t get to play in the contest.
“Teams in Sunraysia are a bit taller whereas the Wimmera is just quicker, they are similar in terms of standards,” he said.
“The Wimmera is the same, if not better.”
McNally said it has taken himself and the Giants some time to adjust to the new league.
“It’s been an interesting and good learning experience,” he said.
McNally hails from Mildura, meaning a trip to play the Ararat Rats is four hours, McNally said he didn’t mind.
“Because I have family in Hopetoun and Horsham I come up Friday night and stay the night, and travel back Saturday or Sunday,” he said.
“The travelling is actually a lot better than what I anticipated at the start of the year. I thought the travelling would be tiring.”
McNally said the Giants club is incredible, he said all the players and club members are inclusive and have a strong bond.
“Footy is the main event on the weekend here, they just love the football,” he said.
“Imperials have a good following up here as well but it’s nothing like country footy, which is what Beulah and Hopetoun are.”
McNally said he has played in two premierships with the Imperials and his best year was 2011.