Off-season update with Jeremy Mugavin (University Blues)

Posted on - Latest News, Premier Men's, Featured, University Blues

University Blues star, Jeremy Mugavin, lifted his game to a new level in 2015 as he consistently ran riot through the midfield to finish equal-fifth in the Woodrow Medal count and help his side to a preliminary final appearance against eventual premiers, St Bernard’s.

On top of his William Buck Premier achievements, Mugavin earned selection in the 2015 Ireland/England touring squad and continued to wreak havoc with the round ball as one of the VAFA’s best players across the five-game international series.

In the wake of an action-packed year, Mugavin spoke with VAFA Media and opened up about his highlights and what he’s been up to in the off-season.

2015 was a huge year for you with the preliminary final appearance followed by the Ireland tour. What would you rate as the biggest highlight of the year?

The Ireland trip was definitely the highlight. I mean playing finals football is always a huge thrill but the Ireland tour was such a unique experience and seemed to encapsulate all the reasons why we play the game. I spent a fair bit of time with the Caven brothers and Tommy Sullivan on the trip and talking to them and sharing stories about their premiership year certainly made me hungry to have some success at Uni Blues in 2016.

How have you spent your off-season on the back of such an action-packed 2015?

I spent the majority of my time back home in Warrnambool with family and friends. One thing that I miss while living in the city is the coastal lifestyle. My parents only live minutes from the foreshore and I get back home whenever possible. My younger brother and I would kick off most mornings with a run, swim and a coffee. It was pretty hard to come back. I also spent time with some Uni Blues team mates in Torquay and Point Lonsdale over the New Year period.

Are you still training or taking a relaxed approach prior to preseason kicking off again?

I continued training when I got back from Ireland. I’m probably not the most natural athlete so I need to keep things ticking over slowly or else I’d get passed pretty quickly. Uni Blues kicked off training in late November and we hit the track last week on the 11th to return from the break. We have a really strong core of blokes down there at the moment and I think peer comparison has really lifted training standards which is healthy.

Uni Blues got so close last year, falling short at the final hurdle after a stellar second half of the season. Is there a feeling around the club that you expect to improve on your preliminary final appearance this year?

We actually had a horrific run with injuries last year. I think we played something like 46 players in the seniors. We lost some pivotal players in Jack Townley, Tom Mackenzie and Matt Hart through injury which hurt us a fair bit. We could never get any consistency in the team we were putting out on the park. In saying that I think that the team we assembled in the prelim was nearly the best we had all year. In that game we were beaten convincingly. The grand final between Bernard’s and Trinity was one of the best Amateur games I have seen and they showed they were clearly the better teams in it. We have had a smooth sailing pre-season so far and have picked up a few handy players so I would expect us to improve. The group is definitely hungry and we have a solid group of boys in their mid-twenties which puts us in a good position.

Personally, what facets of your game are you looking to develop further during pre-season and hope to implement throughout the year?

I think the older you get, the smarter you become about your training. It was actually interesting to chat with other lads on the Ireland tour and get their perspective on how best to prepare for a season. Something new I’ve implemented this pre-season has been some functional power weights to try and increase speed and strength. It’s really improved my running ability. It’s all a bit of trial and error, but I think if you don’t change anything in your approach you can probably expect the same results.

Who would you rate as the Blues’ biggest threat in the coming season and why?

I suppose you can’t go past Bernard’s and Trinity. They seem to both have some upside about them and will be tough to beat again. My cousin plays down at Xavier and he tells me they are flying so I expect them to respond after the season they had last year. However, the team I am most looking forward to playing in St Kevin’s. I really enjoyed playing them back in 2014 and look forward to having some heated battles with them again. From all reports they have put together a handy side and should be right in the chase this year.