Chelt put ‘shine’ back on footy for Ellis Medallist

Recently crowned Ellis Medal-winner Dylan Weickhardt is intent on bringing Cheltenham a different piece of silverware this year after the Rosellas put the “shine” back on footy for him.

Dylan Weickhardt is as grateful for Cheltenham as it is for him.

Despite winning the Ellis Medal as the Southern league’s best and fairest player, Weickhardt remains honed in on giving back to the Rosellas.

The ex-Sandringham Zebra joined Cheltenham in 2019 after footy started to lose its attraction

It’s back now, and he credits the Rosellas for it.

“Towards the end of my VFL days, footy lost its shine a little bit – in my last few years at Sandy, I wasn’t enjoying footy much,” he said.

“When I came down to Chelt, it was a lot different, just that club vibe.

“The way I was embraced by the club initially, and to see how the club has gone from not really playing finals until 2019 to making two grand finals.

“Unfortunately we have gone down in both of them but the progress we’ve had is impressive, our reserves are into the grand final, the whole club has binded.

“We’ll keep knocking on the door, hopefully this is our year.”

The classy midfielder feels he has had a more consistent year than past seasons, largely due to the injection of a “crash-and-bash” teammate.

“Personally, I thought last year I had a good season but this season I have been more consistent and have been able to manage attention a bit better,” he said.

“It has helped having (Luke) Verma come in as well as an extra onballer, we sort of bounce off each other well in there.

“I think he has added to me and my game this year.

“He’s probably taken a bit of the load off, he’s very good in and under, clean hands, hard-nose mid, it kind of gives you a bit more flexibility to play an outside role at times.

“I still play that inside role as well but it’s just nice having that crash-and-bash onballer so you don’t have to get your hands dirty as much.”

Currently battling a soft-tissue injury, Weickhardt has been assisting his fellow midfielders in a coaching capacity.

He never saw coaching as a path he wanted to take but pushing a group of young Rosellas to the heights he accomplished has ignited a passion for it.

“Definitely down the track,” he said.

“I have sort of been coaching the mids the last couple of years, dipping my toe in, with that stuff.

“Initially, I didn’t have a hunger for it, but this year and last year I found a passion in helping the younger guys develop their game over time.

“There’s a lot that goes into football, it’s a lot more than picking up the ball and kicking it, you’ve got hydration, mindfulness, there’s a lot that can go on outside playing the game.

“That’s what I enjoy in the coaching side of things, the connection with teammates, especially the younger guys that want to push themselves to strive for higher levels.”

Weickhardt playing for Sandringham. Picture: Steve Tanner

Weickhardt playing for Sandringham. Picture: Steve Tanner

Weickhardt polled two best afields in the final two rounds of the year to pip Cranbourne’s Zak Roscoe by one vote.