Tom to play 100th game

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Tom Cochrane is set to become the second Blighty fourths player to reach the 100 club games mark this season.

Jack Charlton played his milestone match earlier this year, while Tom will do likewise when the Redeyes host Yarroweyah tomorrow.

Like Jack, Tom has been playing Under 14s footy at the club since debuting as a six year-old.

The talented utility player has racked up 89 fourths games and 10 games filling in for the thirds.

‘‘I usually play in either the midfield or the back line, but I have snuck forward for some goals,’’ Tom said.

‘‘I go to school at Scotch College in Melbourne now so I’ve only been able to come back and play games during the school holidays.

‘‘I really enjoy playing at Blighty because it’s just such a great club.’’

Tom had a great introduction to fourths footy, kicking two goals in his first match for Blighty and being named as one of the best players despite being one of the smallest on the ground.

He has collected two club awards over his time, earning the Captain’s Award in 2015 and the Most Consistent award last year.

Throughout the majority of his young footy career Tom has played under his father Andrew ‘Banjo’ Cochrane, who coached the fourths from 2012-2016.

‘‘It was good and bad playing under dad,’’ he said with a laugh.

‘‘There was definitely two different modes where he was coach on the footy field and dad away from it.

‘‘I didn’t get many weekly awards probably because I was his son but he did teach me a lot.’’

Tom took on a new role at the club last year, being named as captain by his peers, but had to hand over captaincy this year due to being away at school.

Blighty fourths coach Jim Sibraa, who took over the role last year, said Tom is a genuinely good clubman on and off the field.

‘‘Tom’s just a great kid and he’s a great leader with the younger players, always making sure the younger kids are involved,’’ Sibraa said.

‘‘I still remember when I was coaching his old man and his uncle (Andrew and Mick) and he was always around the club.

‘‘He’d always have a footy in his hand and always wanted to have a kick with whoever he could find.

‘‘He can play anywhere on the field and he’s just so determined.

‘‘Hopefully we can celebrate the right way and cap off Tom’s 100th game with a good win.’’

The club will be holding a barbecue after the game to celebrate Tom’s achievement.

The fourths game will have a later start than usual, with the first bounce at 11am tomorrow.