Package Deal Winner

Posted in Club News

Anakie landed two big fish and a new coach in the off-season, and it all started on the worksite.

Builder Hayden Gross, who works with Anakie football boss Wayne Cuthbertson, happened to have an apprentice carpenter by the name of Luke Dahlhaus.

The 225-game Western Bulldogs and Geelong player knew that Anakie was looking for a new coach, and he was aware that his best mate Jayke Mawson was on the hunt for a gig.

Cuthbertson and Dahlhaus had some chats over smoko and the ball got rolling.

“I mentioned to them maybe six months ago that Jayke would be interested in a gig, because they were looking for a new coach,” Dahlhaus said.

“Word got around and then he called Jayke, and Jayke was keen and obviously they had that connection.”

As often happens in local football, two bumper signings came as a packaged deal with Mawson.

One being Dahlhaus, the other being South Barwon goalkicking supremo Andrew Boseley.

“Luke is probably my best mate and Boseley is one of my good mates as well,” Mawson said.

“Bose used to live with me as well back in the day. I played footy with him at South Bar- won obviously so they were the first guys I teed up.“ Even before taking the job I put the feelers out to Luke and sort of put my eggs in one basket to find out if they’d be interested and went from there.”

Playing with Point Cook in his first year out of the AFL system, Dahlhaus was considering his second retirement in the space of 12 months – this time from local footy.

Dahlhaus had been sidelined for three months with a posterior cruciate ligament injury during the year, he managed to get his way back to play in a losing Western Region Football League grand final.

But the travel up from Gee- long West each week proved to be challenging.

“I loved my time at Point Cook but it was just the travel and training stuff, going up once or twice a week,” Dah- lhaus said.

“I was always going to finish up completely or, I was think- ing about it to keep playing. But then when Jayke got this gig I probably wasn’t going to play anywhere else to be honest.”

Jayke Mawson is Anakie's new coach.

For Boseley, playing at Anakie was a dream scenario: playing footy with a bunch of his best mates.

Not only was he close with Mawson, who he used to live with, but he also got to rekindle with Michael Crosset, Joel Jarn, Sean Sim and Paddy Slack.

Boseley had played with Michael, Joel and Sean 13 years ago in South Barwon’s under-19 premiership, and the close-knit group of mates still go on annual golf trips.

“A few of those boys have been at Souths previously but for all of us to play at the same club and hopefully in the same team was something we have been speaking about for a while,” Boseley said.

“Once Jayke took on the coaching role and a few of those dominoes fell, it was one of those opportunities of a lifetime that I thought if I didn’t play with them now, that ship may sail.

“I’m closer to the end of my career than I am to the start so to play with them is something very special and something I’m looking forward to.”

Together, the trio are helping kickstart the Roo revival after years of pain.


Eyebrows were raised around the competition when Boseley, the third highest goalkicker in the Geelong Football Netball League last season, and Dahlhaus arrived at perennial cellar-dweller Anakie.

Two former AFL listed play- ers arriving at a club who fin- ished with just the one senior victory in the past three seasons with a 1-47 win-loss.

The air of suspicion that often follows big name signings was sure to be doing the rounds as punters wondered just how much money they were being paid to play for the struggling Roos. ”There’s always those sort of rumours,” Dahlhaus said. “I think it is any new sign- ing and stuff, especially be- cause I was playing league footy two years ago, so fair enough, they are allowed to think that, but it’s more just be- cause I was actually looking to move out there recently.

“Me and my partner, but then with Jayke going there as well obviously helps. But they can talk as much as they want, it doesn’t really bother me.

Boseley echoed that sentiment.

“To be honest if I paid attention to what people said out- side the fence I’d have retired a long time ago. I really don’t care what other people think,” Boseley said.

“I know why my mates are down there, I know why I moved down there. Jaykey and Dahl are obviously pretty tight.

“It was probably the perfect storm and the stars aligned in the sense of how we all ended up at Anakie for this year. The fact that Jayke has obviously taken on the coaching role for a few years.”


The arrival of Dahlhaus in particular has seen numbers explode on the track and the town is buzzing about the prospect of playing with and watching the former AFL star in action.

“Obviously it has been massive and the publicity has been good for Anakie. We had 60 there the first night,” Mawson said.

“When we’ve been there on the track he’s been there every session so he’s raring to go, he’s looking pretty fit.

“He keeps himself pretty well looked after so clubwise I think other people get out there to play with him so it’s been a good recruit.”

Boseley booted 288 goals in 127 games for South Barwon, including 49 last season and 50 in 2022.

With Dahlhaus putting it down Boseley’s throat, Mawson wouldn’t be surprised to

see him raise the bat for three figures by the end of next season.

“He told me to keep a lid on it but I think he should defi- nitely give (100 goals) a nudge. Hopefully if the ball is getting down there enough he’ll definitely be there or there abouts I’d assume,” Mawson said.

“His leadership as forward line coach, his leadership and the way he goes about it is second to none and the ability to show GFL experience and AFL experience to show these guys how we go about it.”

Having trained with Brownlow medallists, premiership players and future Hall of Famers at his two seasons at Hawthorn, Boseley is excited to now impart his wisdom and drive standards as forward line coach of the Roos.

“It probably held me in good stead in understanding the game and I think the biggest thing is around the culture, and I speak extremely highly of my time there even though I unfortunately didn’t get to play a game and pull on the famous colours,” Boseley said.

“Going back to South Barwon and taking some of those learnings and try to implement it.

“And I think I have an enormous amount of knowledge to be able to share with the group.

“Obviously meeting a new group of players, any way I can help them – because obviously it is going to benefit us if we improve in any way, shape or form.”

VFL Roo?

Mawson isn't just responsible for his recruiting drive, he has also helped one of the Roos' rising stars accelerate his steep development.

Ajang Kuol mun, a South Sudanese youngster who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, hadn't played football since he was 12 and was convinced to head down to Anakie last pre-season.

Months later, he found himself up against Geelong big man Sam De Koning at Geelong training. Mawson's connections have helped give Kuol mun the opportunity to train with Geelong's

VFL side this pre-season, following in the footsteps of his cousins, Bior Malual and Ariek Lual, who are both on Werribee's list.

Kuol mun had played soccer at National Premier League (NPL) level, and his natural athleticism saw him burst onto the scene despite Anakie's poor on-field record, averaging 15.4 disposals, 22.1 hitouts and 98.9 Premier Data ranking points per game. This included an eye-catching 29 disposals, 21 contested possessions, 10 clearances and 162 ranking points against grand finalist Thomson in the final round. His stellar season came despite an injury midway through the season, which allowed him to study some more tape.

Ajang Kuol mun came on in leaps and bounds last season.

"I got injured halfway through the season and I had the coaches and I had some other people just playing videos to me and teaching me about timing and also talking to my cousins at Werribee," Kuol mun said, "Asking them the basics and the fundamentals and I think the more I understood the system, the more it clicked through the season.

"It definitely was a surprise (to join Geelong VFL), especially for it to be a team like Geelong Cats who are historically a premiership team. " Training with like Sam De Koning, Patrick Dangerfield did come to one of the sessions. Unreal.

The Anakie coach would love to have 'AJ' down at Anakie Reserve in 2024, but he hopes Kuol mun can realise his exciting potential.

"He reaps the benefits being there through the system so he's an exciting talent, very young, very raw. We're hoping to get him back but if he makes it then we wish him all the best," Mawson

More New Faces

Anakie locked in a further three signings on Monday night with Ryan Oogies, Josh Allessi and James Vandenberg joining the Roos. Oogjes played six games in grand finalist Thomson's seniors this year, included its round 18 clash with Bell Post Hill. Alessi comes from East Geelong's reserves, where Vandenberg played in 2022 before a seven game stint with Wickliffe/Lake Bolac in the Minniera and District FNL last season.

The Roos added lead-up forward Paul Ridout from Birregurra in the Colac and District FNL last month. Mawson also flagged Anakie junior Jet Mills as a player to watch in his first senior campaign for the Roos, with the youngster hitting the ground running this pre-season. "(Ridout) be very handy, already come out to training and already looks a step above so we are pretty excited about him," Mawson said. Mawson had fulfilled coaching roles up in Cairns for Port Douglas when he played up there, but this is his first time in the hotseat.

Those around the club are hoping to see five wins next season under the new coach, and while Mawson has no strict benchmark, he will be aiming to push Anakie to an unlikely finals.

"We'll be aiming to win every game on the park obviously but I'll be hoping we'll be pushing finals, that's for sure. There are sure to be some bumps along the way, but Mawson is relishing the challenge of building for the future - just like Dahlhaus on the worksite. "You sort of nourish the challenge there where it is a good place to build from because they have got the right structure in place, it is just about getting the right cattle on the park," he said.

"There's been a lot to do, especially recruiting wise, sort of taking a lot of my time but now we are hitting the track, starting to see whos who in the zoo it has been good."

"Everyone has applied themselves and it shows that the boys that are out there, obviously you can recruit but you need the guys out there to be putting in and they have been so far."

"There is definitely more talent than I expected, to be honest."