Love the Red Dog.
Should be VC.
Reminds me of the Goddard attitude
Somewhere, a lollybag just felt the cool breeze of fear and shivered.
Hird back at Essendon…DFO for must-see chocolate promotion
Steven Dank returns to Tullamarine…but is stopped by Customs officials
Bombers return to Grand Final…for show stopping half time flypast
Bart is dead … serious about going to Itchy and Scratchy Land.
Mason Redman was heavily courted by the Adelaide Crows in 2023, with the dashing defender heavily linked to a return back to South Australia. He tells JON RALPH about why he turned his back on the pitch of a ‘great club’.
Adelaide didn’t need a secret delegation flying across the border to woo free agent Mason Redman back home to South Australia.
They had an ace in the hole.
As Redman methodically weighed up his football future last year the reasons why he might return continued to pile up.
He and partner Emma were likely to move to the country post-football anyway and the Crows were making enough on field gains to impress the rebounding half back.
Then came the full court press from their captain Jordan Dawson.
History will show Redman recommitted at Essendon and yet to hear him describe the process is to realise how impressive his decision was to remain.
As Redman tells it, his thoroughness to explore the process and investigate Adelaide as a destination makes him realise he stayed for the right reasons.
“I actually really enjoyed the process,” he said of a free agency dilemma that only saw him re-signing in the last days of July.
“I wanted to make the best decision for me and my partner Emma. We are both from South Australia. The go-home factor was reported but we both grew up four-hours plus from Adelaide. You have to do your due diligence and when you get later on in football you think about where you will bring up a family.
“Adelaide is a great club and Nicksy (Matthew Nicks) is one of the best coaches in the comp. Me and Jordy Dawson did inter school aths in prep or grade one. He knocked me off in the 100m sprint … Having chats to him, he went through the same process (to return from Sydney) although in the trade period.
“He was someone who was very open and honest with me and I could go to him for advice. He wanted to get me across and he’s such a quality person it’s no surprise how well that club is going.
“But it wasn’t where I was meant to end up at the time. I am very comfortable with the decision given how thorough I was with the process. Deep down I always thought I would stay. I am a pretty loyal guy and Essendon has always given me the best opportunity to be the best player and person I could be and I am stoked to stay and hopefully achieve the ultimate at this club.”
ESSENDON’S NEW-LOOK BACKLINE
With that in mind, Redman doesn’t disguise how disappointing Essendon’s late fade out was in 2023 as an undermanned defence couldn’t hold up during a 2-5 finish to another barren season.
“It was very disappointing. We still had the cattle on the park to play much better than we did. It was a very disappointing end to the year, but it has to drive the group going forward,” he says.
Since late August so much has changed, with Jordan Ridley back from injury, much-hyped full back Zach Reid finally injury-free, Ben McKay a free agency arrival and Nic Martin training as a half back.
Top ten pick Nik Cox has also trained as an intercepting defender as Jake Kelly pushes to the wing.
Redman cannot help but contain his excitement with the new-look defensive unit, believing the Dons can play four talls in defence with Reid and McKay as the twin towers.
“Benny has been unreal. He came in with a lighter program but post Christmas he has joined in with the drills and to have gone from a widely reported smaller backline to him and Reid,” he said.
“Touch wood Reid has been really healthy and seeing those two go to work on the track has been cool. Hopefully those two can get in a lot of games for us. I have been pretty bullish on Reid since he got to the club. Potential is the key word but he has the potential to be one of the best players from that draft.”
He said there was room for all of McKay, Reid, Ridley and Cox down back.
“I definitely think we can,” Redman said.
“The best backlines in the comp have two key talls and the good thing about having Ridley there is he’s versatile and can play tall or small.”
CHANGES AT THE HANGAR
Essendon’s players have to come back to training healthy of body, but have also spent countless hours honing their minds over summer.
Redman reveals the club’s new-found focus under sports psychologist Ben Robbins has added a new edge in Brad Scott’s second pre-season.
“Ben Robbins has come on board, he was teammates with Scotty in Brisbane and there has been a big emphasis and massive buy-in from the group with his work,” Redman says.
Robbins works on the connection between mindfulness and performance with Redman confident the club’s problem-areas including team defence will be helped by his expertise.
It might seem an unusual solution to fixing a bottom-four team defence but he believes the work on attention to detail will help executing strategy and tactics.
“If you look at the best players across world sport they work on mindfulness and the mental game. In Australia on the whole we are behind the rest of the world but everyone has seen that improvement and the buy in has been unbelievable. It doesn’t guarantee results but I have put a lot of time and effort into it and hopefully it is something that comes out in my game,” he says.
RED DOG’S BIG GROOM
Redman’s charity fundraiser to shave his locks for cancer non-profit Challenge at Saturday’s upcoming Family Day has already gone gangbusters, another example of his new-found cult appeal.
He says he does not take for granted his relationship with fans who love his Hellboy goal celebrations and slashing style of play.
“Yeah, I really enjoy it. We went to Shepparton for the Community Camp and had a super-clinic there and the kids were kicking goals and doing the (horns) celebration. I didn’t necessarily think at the start of my career I could have that impact on people and I feel like I am pretty modest and humble. It started as a bit of fun with one of my mates back home and to see kids do it in the crowd… That’s what footy is about. You want to win and be the best team, but you also want to make people smile.”
Vice Captain all the way.
Even pushes himself out
He said there was room for all of McKay, Reid, Ridley and Cox down back.
By Blake Gaffiero - Essendon FC
Mason Redman isn’t one for leaving things to chance.
Heading into his ninth season with the Bombers, the defender is feeling confident in the prospects of the current squad as it continues to gel with new recruits under Senior Coach Brad Scott.
Entering their second season under Scott, a full year of familiarity has allowed the side to adapt to a new game plan and buy into their new look as an on-field unit.
Redman told 3AW last week that the club’s leadership has started a ripple effect within the playing group, who are keen to make the most of their chances in 2024 and beyond.
“If you take a look at the landscape of the footy club between those 12 months, it’s in a much different spot. I have a lot of confidence in (CEO) Craig Vozzo and Brad Scott especially, and more broadly the playing group,” Redman said.
“It definitely does have a different feel to it in Brad’s second year at the helm. We think it’s been an off-season of continual improvement, that’s what we’re aiming towards anyway. We’ve got some good bang for buck with a relatively healthy list over the pre-season, which is a bonus and something that we haven’t necessarily had in the past.”
Redman’s faith in the group has stemmed from a strong block of pre-season work, with an emphasis placed on the players taking control of their year.
While excitement has been brewing at the NEC Hangar, Redman isn’t losing sight of the task that awaits come March as the Bombers look to improve off their 11-win tally from last season.
“We’ve got a vast majority that have really taken ownership of their own career. Heading into not only this year but the years to come, that’ll be something you’ll definitely see out of our group,” Redman said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re being over-exuberant with our talk. You’ve got to walk the walk and nothing’s guaranteed in football, there’s 18 teams chomping at the bit to get those eight spots in finals and hopefully we’re putting our best foot forward and leaving as little as we can to chance.
“The buck stops with us, really.”
The Bombers were a key player in the off-season period with strong trade and draft hauls, mixing key position talents such as Ben McKay and Nate Caddy with the versatility of winger Xavier Duursma.
In adding to their depth, the Dons have been able to trial players in different positions throughout the pre-season, with Nic Martin spending periods of match simulation behind the ball as a half-back.
Selection headaches will be welcome to Redman, who wants the back six as flexible as possible heading into round one.
“(Nic Martin’s) come down back in the pre-season and he offers something different for us. The competition has seen in the past two years how good he is offensively, and if we have other opposition forwards worrying about what he, Andy (McGrath) and myself are doing, it takes away from them,” Redman said.
“He’s lighting the track up and I feel like he’s really growing into getting a good balance between defence and offence, he’ll give us a different look back there.
“In the last couple of weeks, (Xavier Duursma’s) gotten into match practice and game simulation drills and he’s going really well, he’ll give us some good depth on the wing. It’ll be interesting to see how the team lines up in round one, but he’ll definitely be in the mix and pushing for a spot.”
Redman’s decision to sign a five-year extension with the club in 2023 provided a big boost to the Dons’ emerging core, showing the 26-year-old’s strong connection to the playing group.
As the 2024 season draws closer, Redman is hoping his confidence will pay dividends on the field.
“Every player’s in the competition to reach the ultimate and that’s one of the reasons I stayed. I have a lot of confidence in this group, hopefully that confidence will translate on the field in the coming years,” Redman said.
“We want to be the group that takes this great club to where it belongs and that’s at the pointy end of the competition.”
At the club’s Family Day this Saturday, Redman will be cutting his long locks for a great cause, looking to reach $50,000 in donations for Challenge.
Aiding families across the country suffering from children’s cancer, Redman is proud to be playing his part for Challenge and raising money for an important purpose.
“I’ve been lucky enough to see what (Challenge) do firsthand, they do a lot of great work in that space. It’s a cause that’s very close to home for a lot of families and I’m just doing a small part in raising a bit of money,” Redman said.
You can donate or read more about ‘Red Dog’s Big Groom’ here.
Now we have two Coxes
Well done Red Dog.
What’s withe bandage!
Precautionary in case he falls apart after having his hair cut off (the Samson effect)
Bombers to walk chomp and step into finals, training to include deer westling.