IRREWARRA-BEEAC forward Darcy McCallum hopes his on-field actions can repay the unwavering faith of coach Khan Beckett.
McCallum has regained his spot in the Bombers’ senior side after an interrupted pre-season forced him to start the 2012 campaign in the reserves.
Work commitments at timber mill AKD have prevented the 21-year-old from training with the senior group regularly, a source of frustration for club and player.
But his early-season performances have ensured McCallum remains a key figure in a young forward line working beside veteran Tony Walker.
McCallum said he appreciated the attitude Beckett, a mentor and neighbour, and the club’s coaching staff had shown.
“They could’ve just said there are other blokes training and they’ll be playing seniors, but they’ve really backed me in,” he said.
“They’ve told me that, they’ve given me a chance and said just do your best, do what you can.”
Irrewarra-Beeac takes on Western Eagles at Irrewillipe tomorrow fresh from commanding wins against Otway Districts and Colac Imperials.
McCallum said the performances restored confidence to a side which failed a first-up test against Apollo Bay in round one.
“We all knew that wasn’t the type of footy we play,” McCallum said of the Hawks match.
“You could tell in the rooms the boys were just gutted. It was a bit of a shock defeat but all due respect to Apollo Bay, they played some pretty good footy.
“Maybe there was a bit of confidence shaken up but Khan settled us down, he’s showed us what sort of footy we can play. We’ve built that up now.”
The Bombers can trace their promising fortnight – and improvement on last season – to a few aspects of their list.
The most notable is increased height and marking power up forward.
McCallum was an undersized full forward battling against stronger defenders last season.
He’s got recruit Jordan Smith and the much-improved Joel Menzies and Dylan Nowell to take the key position roles these days, freeing him up to roam across half forward.
“Jordan and Joel, they’re a bit skinnier and quicker than me, they’ve got the taller and longer reach,” McCallum said.
“They’re a bit quick for me. I’ve been playing on the flank this year, I’ve been loving running around at their feet and up the wing a bit more.”