Elliot Kavanagh - ready to play at Centrals
By Ella Watson
Former Essendon Bomber Elliott Kavanagh has made the trip across the border signing with Central District Football club for the 2016 season.
Kavanagh, 22 is a midfielder with great endurance and versatility able to push the ball up forward to create play in the forward 50, and also fall back into defence.
“I’m a midfielder I like to run and get in as many contests as possible, I can play back and forward, but prefer to go back.”
Kavanagh took a bit of convincing to join Centrals after receiving offers from various other clubs, but signed with the club after 3-4 weeks of negotiations.
“I had a bit of choice with clubs chasing me, Centrals were the first to call me up and speak to me so I felt loyalty to them.”
In high school Kavanagh played footy for his school teams at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School.
In his final year of school Kavanagh played out the season with PEGS [Penleigh Grammar] and then went on to play the final three games with the Western Jets in the TAC Cup (Victoria's Premier U18's Competition). Kavanagh missed out on playing finals for the Western Jets in the TAC Cup due to injury, but was still picked up by Essendon at the end of that year at pick number 19 in the 2011 AFL draft.
Kavanagh played 12 games for Essendon in the AFL between 2012 and 2015, being a part of the club throughout the doping saga. Kavanagh acknowledges it was a tough time and his heart goes out to the players effected by the ruling passed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“I wasn’t involved in the program; first year players weren’t involved. I just feel for the guys it happened to.”
“The club and the AFL have a duty of care towards the players so you go in there thinking its normal.”
While the uncertainty of the club’s future was stressful for all involved, Kavanagh says his focus was on improving his game and getting selected for matches.
“In my time at Essendon, there were some ups and downs, it was hard to break in and stay in.”
“I’d get in then get tossed out only one or two games in, which isn’t good for a young player.”
“It was more of a tough time because of that. I couldn’t speak more highly of the boys, it was definitely not them that was the tough part, it was more my consistency and getting a crack at it.”
Kavanagh debuted for Essendon on the 27 of July 2012 against Hawthorn at Docklands, it was his only game in the AFL for 2012.
“When your 18, 19, and 20 you want to get some consistency as a young player, 5 of the 12 games were just individual games, one game then out, another game then out, that kind of messed with my head a little bit.”
“Even if I was playing well I’d still get kicked out, and I was always thinking what could I do better.”
Out of the 12 games he played for the club, his greatest run was last season playing 5 games between June and September, winning his final game against Collingwood by 3 points.
Whilst at Essendon Kavanagh played 54 games in the VFL and although he was always striving to make the AFL side Kavanagh says he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the VFL
“I really enjoyed playing VFL footy, I learnt a lot, I was trying to back up every performance to push into the AFL side.”
Having heard great things about the SANFL competition Kavanagh is looking forward to the day he runs on to the field wearing the Centrals Guernsey.
“I’ve heard it’s [SANFL] a better competition all the boys have been talking it up.”
“I’d really love to experience it, I’ve heard it gets big crowds, the VFL doesn’t get as bigger crowds as here.”
With preseason training now in full swing Kavanagh has been presented with his Guernsey and when the season starts will be playing as no.5.
No.5 was first made famous by Club Legend Sonny Morey who was part of Centrals Inaugural team and first player to reach 200 games at the club.
“I’ve been given no.5, I’m wrapped to be wearing any number at the club. At the end of the day though, it’s just a number on your back and you just play the best footy you can.”
“I grew up wearing either no.7 or no.21 then no.28 for Essendon, but I think new state new club I may as well choose a new number.”
Kavanagh has moved to South Australia with his partner Annabelle and will be studying Accounting at the University of South Australia.
“We’re really happy here, we are just waiting on uni [university], I’ve applied to the University of South Australia I’m doing accounting, it’s what I was studying in Melbourne so I’m just transferring over.”
Grateful for the kindness they have shown him and his partner, Kavanagh says he has been made to feel very welcome at the club.
“The playing group have been great, really warm and welcoming, we’ve been out to events and invited to bbq’s just to settle us in, we didn’t know anyone before we came to South Australia.”
New to the state and to the SANFL he admits he didn’t know much about the club before joining and there are still a few things he needs to learn.
When asked do you know the club song yet Kavanagh replied with:
“I do know this, is it the Hawthorn song? But I believe a few of the words are different”
“I’ll get to know it pretty quickly, my Mum's a diehard Hawks supporter.”
|Elliot, in his time at Essendon. He will wear #5 this season.|
|Other Players to have worn the Centrals #5 Guernsey...|
|4 Time Premiership Player, Jack Oatey Medallist and Norm Russell Medallist - Ian Callinan - an electric #5|
|Club Legend, 200 game player and Best & Fairest - Sonny Morey - A famous #5|
Here's a list of our 100+ gamers who have worn #5
Sonny Morey – Club Legend, CDFC 1964-77 (213 games/28 goals). Member of Inaugural League Side in 1964. First CDFC player to 200 games. SA Football Indigenous team of the ages Back Pocket and Coach. State Player, Club Best & Fairest 1970.
Phil Graham, 1979 - 1989 (196 games)
Hugh Reimers, 1991 - 1994 (129 games)
Damien Arnold. 1997 to 2004 (181 games) 3 time Pemiership Ruckman 2000-01 & 2003.
Ian Callinan, 2007 – 2013, 4 time premiership player 2007-2010, Jack Oatey Medallist (2010), 2 time Norm Russell Medallist (CDFC Best & Fairest) 2007 & 2010