Young duo make their mark

Jesse Clark. Picture Belinda Vitacca Photography

Tara Murray

Jesse Clark and Lucas Rocci both knew that Werribee Football Club was the place for them after coming out of under age football.

Two stars of the NAB League competition in 2019, both turned their attention to playing in the Victorian Football League after missing out on being drafted.

In just five games, both have already secured their spots in the Werribee line up, which has won its last three games.

After missing out on playing with the side in 2020 when the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two believe they are starting to find their feet this season.

Clark was among the hundreds of Victorians who played in the Northern Territory last season.

He said that season helped him in getting ready for his first VFL season.

“I’ve absolutely loved it,” Clark said about being at Werribee. “Being able to join the group and meet a lot of new faces.

“I’m from Geelong and I was doing a bit of training with Geelong VFL,as well as Werribee, early last year.

“Werribee were so warm and welcoming right from the get-go, which made it a really easy decision.

“Obviously being a semi-professional environment you get to learn a lot from other players and coaches.

“It’s been a really big step up I’ve found, going from junior under-18 footy to senior footy, playing against men, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”

For Rocci, a Werribee local, joining Werribee was a no-brainer. The 2019 Morrish Medal winner is starting to look at home in the backline having not played any football for more than 18 months.

Rocci said skipper Michael Sodomaco had played a key role in his development so far with the pair working closely together, both on and off the field.

“It was pretty much an easy decision for me to make,” he said. “I haven’t really looked back.

“I felt welcomed the first time I trained.

“I started off a bit slow, but I’m trying to adjust to men’s footy a higher level having come from NAB League.

“I played in round one and didn’t feel like I was moving well and I didn’t read the ball how I would normally.

“I got sent back in round two to play against men [at local level] and I was back in for round three and I felt a lot better, a lot more comfortable at the level.”

Both players still have their eyes on a possible AFL career in the future, but for now their focus is clearly on helping Werribee this season.

The two and along with the rest of their teammates have had to train by themselves in recent days due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

With the side starting to click, the timing isn’t ideal.

“The first two games didn’t reflect how we were going,” Clark said. “We lost our first two games and easily could have won both games.

“It was just little patches in each game we failed to make inroads on the scoreboard, but ever since then, we have hit our straps a bit and things have fallen our way a bit, shown out there what we are capable of and we’ve hit a bit of form now.

“I think the boys are looking forward to tackling the next part of the season.”

Rocci added: “We have won three in a row and just started to build into the season and everyone is starting to click.

“Hopefully we keep building on our season and take it round by round, and the end goal is that premiership and hopefully we get there.”