Syddall set for Seagulls debut

March 27, 2024 10:55 am in by
James Syddall in action for South Barwon (Marcel Berens/Sports Media)

James Syddall will make his long-awaited debut for Barwon Heads in Saturday’s Easter Saturday matchup with fellow 2023 finalist Anglesea at Howard Harmer Oval.

After a knee injury in the pre-season forced the former South Barwon star to watch on last year, Seagulls co-coach Sam Schaller is excited by the prospect of adding the talented Syddall to the lineup.

He can play in every part of the field, having kicked 74 goals in 103 games for the Swans.

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“It’s been a bit of a focus over the whole pre-season with a lot of guys to try and get some dual positions into some guys,” Schaller said.

“If things happen on matchday, we don’t want to sit on our hands; we want to be pretty proactive.

“He’ll probably start across halfback, and if we look like we need something different through the middle or the front half of the ground, he could definitely go up there.

“But, missing 12 months of footy, let’s get the footy in his hands a bit, and we’ll go from there throughout the year.”


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Syddall will be among several first-timers for last year’s preliminary finalists.

Former St Joseph’s star Reid Adams’ one-season retirement will end, and he’s likely to see himself battling former teammate and current ‘Seas coach Jordan Keras.

Fellow recruits Matt Ogle (Latrobe Uni) and Marley Cornell (Ocean Grove) are also in the mix to wear royal blue for the first time.

However, a back issue will keep Sam Witherden, who has returned home from stints with GFNL club North Shore and VFL club Werribee.

Schaller says he was pleased with Barwon Heads’ performance during its practice matches.

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“The skills probably weren’t there the whole time, but we were ferocious,” he said.

“Guys are hungry, which, as a coaching group, is what we wanted to see. We came through pretty healthy as well.

“I think the hunger’s back there to give ourselves a chance at the start of September.”

After playing a starring role in Barwon Heads’ A-grade grand final win over Anglesea in the Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association, Schaller hopes the momentum will carry into Saturday.

“It was a pretty successful weekend for the town with the cricket,” he said.

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“And we’ll roll on, like community sport does, straight into Round 1 down at Barwon Heads for Easter.

“It was nice to knock off Anglesea on the weekend, and hopefully, we can do the double come 5 p.m. Saturday.”

Bellarine action will be broadcast on on Saturday with coverage of the Torquay-Drysdale clash from McCartney Oval.