By Lance Jenkinson
Speed machine Connor Menadue is ready to rev up his engines for Werribee in the Victorian Football League.
One of the prized recruits of the VFL off-season, Menadue is an exciting addition to the already strong Werribee squad that has designs of going all the way in 2020.
Taking the step back from the AFL, where he was a part of a glorious period with Richmond for the past five years, Menadue has found it to be a welcoming environment at Werribee, which has helped with his transition.
The 23-year-old former Spotswood and Western Jets junior is back to where it all began playing football in the western suburbs.
Even in his short time with Werribee, Menadue can see some parallels between his new club and Richmond.
One of the strengths of Richmond was its camaraderie from top to bottom and Menadue can sense a similar togetherness among the Werribee team. “My whole five years at Richmond were just unreal,” he said.
“I got to live my dream and I’ve got some mates for life.
“Just to be involved with two AFL premierships and last year with the VFL premiership, it was an unreal experience and I’ll never forget my time over there.
“There were no groups, everyone just got along and played for each other. That’s actually what I’ve seen a lot of at Werribee, which is really exciting, the same sort of strong culture and playing for each other.”
Menadue is highly rated for his breakneck speed and skill. A versatile player, he can be used in a number of positions, but has mainly played as a half back flanker or wingman. He is champing at the bit for the VFL practice matches to begin to see where he will fit into the mix.
“We haven’t really done any real match simulation yet, so it’s hard to know the positioning of all the players,” Menadue said.
“I’d say I’ll be a half back and hopefully go through the middle, but Choco [Werribee coach Mark Williams] might have other ideas, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
One of the main attractions for Menadue was reuniting with Williams, who was an assistant coach during his time at Richmond.
Menadue felt comfortable under the tutelage of Williams and believes the AFL premiership coach can help him improve to the point where he can make a return to the AFL system.
“He’s a great coach,” Menadue said. “He just wants to get the most out of you and whatever is best for you, he’ll do for you.”
Above all, Menadue can see a Werribee team that is going places.
He wants to be part of a successful VFL side and believes Werribee is on the right trajectory.
“They had a really strong year last year,” Menadue said.
“I want to be playing finals in a really good team and they’re showing in their training and with their results last year that that’s what they are.”
Menadue will also be targeting the AFL mid-season draft for a quick return to the professional ranks.
He cited Marlion Pickett’s incredible rise from state league player to Richmond AFL premiership star last year as an example of a successful transition.
“I want to have a good strong start to the season and see what happens with the mid-season draft,” Menadue said.
“I got to see it first hand with Marlion Pickett, going from not expecting to play at all during the year to VFL and not just playing but dominating and getting his crack at AFL level.
“It shows there’s different chances now, which is good.”