Nick Pleming’s return to Coolamon this season has not been an easy one but it’s still a move he is enjoying.
Pleming and the Hoppers will be out to keep their finals hopes alive when they host Narrandera at Kindra Park on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has been one of Coolamon’s most consistent during a season that has proved tougher than most expected.
The Hoppers six in seventh position with just four wins from their opening 10 games. Finals is still a possibility however, as they sit just one win plus considerable percentage behind the fourth and fifth-placed teams.
“Obviously we would like to be up there a bit further,” Pleming said.
“There’s been a few games that we were right on the verge of winning but lost so those things have been disappointing.
“Even though we lost on the weekend, the last few games we have started to play a good style of footy and if we can keep that going we will go close to making finals.
“But I think everyone expected to be going a bit better than we are so it has been a little bit disappointing.”
Pleming spent the last five seasons in Canberra, where he remains, but decided this year to travel each week to play with his junior club.
It is a decision he does not regret.
“It’s good just to get home, being around everyone I grew up with and catching up with family,” he said.
“It’s something that I haven’t been around for the last few years so it’s been good in that sense.”
He said the sense of community is one thing he has missed in Canberra.
“When you win, or play good footy as a team, it’s important for a lot of people outside of the team,” Pleming explained.
“The supporters and the community, they’re ecstatic if you have a win, so it’s good like that.”
Pleming said not being at training was the most difficult aspect of travelling.
“Not being able to train during the week,” he said.
“If there’s a few things you need to work on after a game, not being able to be there during the week to work on it is hard.”
Pleming believes it took some time for this year’s team to work out it’s identity and build on that.
“We’ve been cruelled throughout the year with injury but that hasn’t changed,” he said.
“Our style of footy, you didn’t really know how Coolamon played their footy. Were we a running team, a contested team?
“We’ve started to gel as the season’s gone on. We’ve started to switch the ball, things like that and everyone’s got an idea of what’s going to happen.”
Pleming does not believe it’s too late.
“I still think we can make finals,” he said.
“There’s still six games left, I think we can still make it.”
It starts with a win over Narrandera on Saturday.
“We’re playing better footy now than we were earlier in the year when we beat them over there so I think we should be able to beat them.”