Jones keen to create new culture at Melton

New Melton coach Brad Jones. Photo by Damjan Janevski.200651_05

Tara Murray

New Melton coach Brad Jones said the timing was right to try and create a new culture at the club ahead of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west season.

Jones has been captain the past couple of seasons and was part of the coaching panel last season.

A premiership player with the club, Jones said he wanted to use his experiences to build something successful.

“It’s a great chance to create a new culture at the club,” he said.

“The club is heading in the right direction with the new facilities being built and we want to create a new culture on the field as well.

“Ever since we won those grand finals a few years ago, a lot of senior players have left.

“I wanted to stand up and show a winning and positive culture.”

For the Lions, the past few years have been mixed.

Last season the Lions missed finals by three points after a final round loss.

Jones admits that they lost a lot of games they should have won and lost a lot of close games as well.

“It’s been about getting experience into the guys and they will be a lot better with that experience.

“They’re local first XI players and it’s good to get the younger local players into the team.”

Jones said most of the group this year would be from the Melton region.

They have lost three key players from last season.

Sri Lankan all rounder Dilshan Kanchana is not coming back, while David Dickinson is going to play with his brother.

The biggest loss is that of Ben MacRae, last season’s leading run scorer, who is having a year off cricket.

Jones said the loss of MacRae is a massive one.

“He’s a really quiet person, but has great leadership skills and sets the tone when we bat at the top of the order.

“The younger blokes need to step up and take the next step.”

In a positive for the Lions, Jake Thornton-Gielen is returning to the club after a season off.

Jones pinpointed a number of youngsters he believed could take that next step this season.

“Jason Hibbert played a couple of first XI game last season and will hopefully bat around the top of the order and bat some time

“Adrian Monitto has been in the first XI for a couple of years and Dylan Jobson is progressing well.

“Joel Mitchener has been playing twos the last couple of years and we’re looking forward to him playing a few first XI games this season.”

The VSDCA season will be structured differently this year due to COVID-19, with all matches to be played as one-dayers.

The Lions are scheduled to kick off their season on November 21 against Hoppers Crossing.

Jones said they still want to play finals despite having a younger side.

He said they had been a better two-day side the last couple of years so they would need to make some adjustments this season.