Sport

Mitch Bright enjoying time at Tigerland

By Aydin Payne

It has been a homecoming season for Rochester’s Mitch Bright.

The 26-year-old spent a season away from his childhood club when he moved to Colbinabbin, the first move in his football career.

Bright said the year away at the Heathcote District Football League club helped him refresh as he stood back from the serious aspects of football.

‘‘That year away from Rochy really helped freshen me up a bit,’’ Bright said.

‘‘I went and played with some close mates at Colbo, but I kind of stepped right back from the seriousness of footy.

‘‘At Rochy I’d been involved with coaching thirds and helping out on the social committee.

‘‘And I just sat back from all that and just focused on footy for a year.’’

But the lure of Moon Oval was too great for Bright.

With his family so entrenched at Rochester — Bright’s father and grandfather played at the Tigers — the talented utility found his way back home.

Bright had his eyes set on representing the club for the 150th time halfway through the season in front of his father and grandfather.

But his grandfather died in December, six months before he ran out in the yellow and black for the 150th time.

‘‘Unfortunately, Pa passed away last year,’’ he said.

‘‘But I know he would have been proud to see me reach 150 games with the club.’’

His 150th match came in Rochester’s round 12 loss to Echuca.

That loss ended the Tigers’ four-game winning streak as they recovered from a 0-4 start.

‘‘I know we didn’t have the most ideal start to the season,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a lot of fresh faces and it took us a bit of time to find that cohesion.’’

After the disappointing start to the year, the Tigers won six of their next seven games, including that streak of four games.

‘‘It’s been a bit more exciting, there’s a really good vibe at the moment,’’ he said.

‘‘We have the talent in the side and the motivation.

‘‘Now it’s just making sure that we can build some form leading into the second half of the season.’’

Now he is back at Tigerland, he is enjoying being the elder to the young cubs coming through.

‘‘There is a really good feeling around having a few younger boys come through like Cal Doyle and Jacob Atley,’’ he said.

‘‘I just try and help the boys as much as I can.

‘‘I remember when I was their age, I had guys like Ash Watson and Heath Aitken giving us advice.

‘‘My advice is nowhere near those fellas.

‘‘But I just try help out as much as I can.’’