In his first game of the year, Aden Rutledge should have been rusty on the weekend. Instead, he turned it on.
The Round 2 Syd Guildford nominee missed last week with injury but was a huge factor in Sandgate opening their account for 2015.
He was the go-to man when the Hawks went forward, finishing with four goals and proving a constant handful for the Palm Beach defense.
“It was really exciting to get the win, and was great for the boys,” Rutledge said.
“I was happy with my game too, I played pretty well.”
That is a modest way of looking at his performance. In reality, he was outstanding.
After a difficult 2014 season for the club, Rutledge said the vibe has certainly lifted this year.
“The culture around the footy club is so much better, all the boys are heaps closer,” he said.
“Everyone is training really hard because we are trying to earn everyone’s respect back.”
Rutledge hasn’t been surprised with the impact new coach Graham Adams has had on the group this year because the two go back.
“I had Bomber as a junior coach, he has always helped me out personally, he’s great,” Rutledge said.
The message heading forward was the same as it has been all year out of the Sandgate camp.
“We just want some consistency, hopefully we can get a few more wins.
They will have that opportunity this Friday night when they travel to Wilston Grange in a stand-alone ANZAC day match.
“We have got confidence going into the game, I think we are a big chance,” he said.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles