Captain Cam takes charge at Springvale South

Cameron Forsyth will captain Springvale South in the DDCA next season. 391023 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

Cameron Forysth’s elevation to captain of Springvale South’s First XI etches the family’s name further into the history books at Alex Nelson Reserve.

Very few families have been as intertwined with a single sporting club in recent generations as much the Forsyths’ with the Bloods, with Cameron’s brothers Ryan, Mitch, and Brett all having donned the red and white, following in the footsteps of father, Paul, in an association between club and family that dates back more than 30 years.

Brett, Cameron and Mitch each have First XI premiership medals as mementos of their successes at the Bloods, while Ryan also was an accomplished First XI player.

Harold Road is a venue within walking distance from the family home where the quartet of brothers grew up, and came to leave indelible footprints at the facility’s cricket nets, with Cameron and Mitch sharing the 2022/23 Turf 1 flag as teammates.

“It’s (the club) always been a very special place for our family,” Cameron said.

“The club has always been very supportive of myself, Brett and Mitch going off and playing Premier Cricket at Dandenong, with the expectation and knowledge that we’d return and give back to the club at the back end of our playing days.

“It’s the least that we can do after the club supported us so much through our junior careers and the start of our senior careers.”

Cameron said being asked to assume the leadership capacity was “quite a special thing,” replacing talismanic opening batter Ryan Quirk after two seasons at the helm that culminated in consecutive grand final appearances.

“Making grand finals in the past three years is quite a testament to ‘Hilly’s (Paul Hill) job as captain and coach and the job that Ryan (Quirk) did over the last couple of seasons,” he said. “They should be quite proud of the position that they’ve put the club in.

“I feel quite blessed to be taking over the leadership role, given where the club’s at, at the moment.”

Leadership is not a capacity unfamiliar to Cameron, having steered a number of sides in junior cricket and at various representative levels, as well as sporadically at the Panthers.

But the Bloods’ predicament heading into the summer of 2024/25 is somewhat alien, needing to rebound from a grand final day that ended in contrasting fashion to the previous two – without premiership medallions hanging around their necks – against long-time rivals Buckley Ridges.

Cameron was unavailable for selection on grand final day due to injury, but played an integral role in his side’s return to the decider in the second half of the season, and knows the squad inside and out, quickly becoming an integral member since returning from Dandenong.

A home-and-away campaign that saw the Bloods finish in top spot, with just two losses, and be declared the second-best side for the season, suggests there’s slim room for improvement, and marginal requirement for significant change.

Personnel-wise, the squad will remain largely intact, and Cameron is not eager to mess with a largely-successful formula, but the new captain said he will draw on the triumphs of previous seasons in an effort to add to the trophy cabinet at Alex Nelson Reserve, and amplify the already steeped legacy of the current squad.

“The team plays hard but has a lot of fun and I won’t be trying to change anything from that perspective.

“There’s a few things that I’m excited to share with the group in terms of how I think we should play our cricket, and to see if we can all buy-in to that and get everyone pulling in that direction.

“I think the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 seasons where the Bloods won the premiership in Turf 1, there was much more even contributions across the team.

“If you look at the players’ stats in those years and even at individual games, I think there were a lot more guys contributing to victories each and every week.

“Last year we were probably too reliant on our best players; we had two or three guys who had outstanding seasons but then there were quite a few other players who were probably a little bit down on what they would expect from their seasons, myself included.

“One thing that I’m going to look to achieve is to try to get a bit more even output across the team and really focus on players playing their individual roles to the best of their abilities.

“While we want to celebrate the best performers in the team, my view is that if someone plays well in the position that they’re in with limited opportunities, that should be celebrated just as much as the top order batter who gets a better chance to make more runs, or the bowler who bowls more overs and gets more wickets.

“We haven’t got together as a group and talked about last year or the season ahead yet, but I’d be very surprised if last year hasn’t stung the boys a bit.

“I expect the group is very hungry to right the grand final result from last season and go one-better this season.”

2022/23 premiership player Matthew Wetering is being touted as a ‘new’ recruit, having battled injury for much of last season and not featuring at senior level, while premiership-winning allrounder Yoshan Kumara has departed the club.

Quirk meanwhile, will remain at Springvale South but without the leadership tag.

Forsyth is confident he can return to his prolific form from the 2022/2023 season, where he was one of the competition’s highest run scorers and placed second in the Wookey Medal vote count.