Jordan Russell’s immeasurable impact on Footscray

25/09/2016. WEST. Hobsons Bay/Maribyrnong Star Weekly. Vflfoocas. Issue Date 28/09. VFL Grand Final Casey v Footscray. Footscrays Jordan Russell.Picture Shawn Smits.

Two-time Footscray VFL premiership captain Jordan Russell was so physically spent after Sunday’s grand final win over Casey Scorpions that he politely requested to sit on a rubdown table for his interview to dissect the game.

Considering the manic way the Bulldogs harassed the opposition ball carriers and their unwavering attack and hard running, it’s no surprise 29-year-old Russell felt the pinch after trying to keep up with the energetic young pups.

Russell took great satisfaction in walking away a premiership winner, not only for the personal glory but also from seeing the fruits of his labour as a playing development coach at the club.

“They keep me young, their enthusiasm, the 18, 19 and 20 year olds,” Russell told Star Weekly.

“To work with them during the week and know that you’ve got a small part into why they’re playing some good footy is great.

“I feed off them and I reckon they feed off me … it’s a really good balance.”

Russell was a consistent performer over 125 games in the AFL. He played 116 games with Carlton before rounding out his top-flight career with nine games at Collingwood.

At VFL level, Russell is one of the best in his position.

The hours of work that Russell has put into refining the skills and nous of the younger players in the Footscray team has allowed him to grow an extra leg in his own game.

“I’m a lot slower and not as fit as I used to be,” he said. “But watching seven hours of footage each week, when you edit the game and code the game for the other boys, you watch hours of vision that you wouldn’t have watched when you were playing the game. It gives me a good read of what’s happening.”

Footscray has ridden the wave of energy generated by the Western Bulldogs’ run to the AFL grand final.

Each time the AFL team has recorded an against-the-odds win, the VFL side has backed it up to keep the good vibes rolling.

Of course, there will be some Footscray players disappointed they have not made the AFL side, but the returning Bulldogs have gelled tremendously with the VFL-listed Bulldogs to create perfect team chemistry.

“It’s a credit to the footy club,” Russell said. “The last three games we’ve played, the AFL boys have played the night before or a couple of nights before and they really set the scene.

“All the VFL boys spoke about how much spirit they play with and that filters down at our club.

“We’ve tried to set that culture the last couple of years – when you play for Footscray Bulldogs, you’ve got to come with 100 per cent heart and be a really good teammate, that’s really showed.”