When Josh Mellington’s move to Echuca United became official, Murray Football League defenders were shaking in their boots.
Since leaving AFL club Fremantle, the 26-year-old has built a strong reputation as a simply must have key forward at local level — kicking goals at will.
It is a trend which has followed suit this year, after Mellington brought up his 100th goal for the season against Finley at the weekend.
In doing so, he became the first Eagle to reach the landmark since Leo Tenace in 1998 and remarkably current Eagles coach Guy Campbell was able to witness history on both occasions.
“Kicking 100 goals in a season is an achievement which shouldn’t be understated,” Campbell said.
“Both Josh and Leo are terrific footballers in their own right and they have earned their place in the club’s history.
“Josh brought up the century in fine style and he has been a real pleasure to watch this season.”
With 11 goals to his name against Finley, Mellington now sits just one goal behind Tenace’s club record of 105 goals in a season.
And just how far ahead he finishes remains to be seen.
“There is no doubting Josh will break the record,” Campbell said.
“He has consistently proven he can hit the scoreboard against any side in the competition. His final tally will be a great reward for all the hard work he has put in.”
If you watch Mellington closely enough, you soon discover he is more than a lead up forward who relies heavily on the delivery from further up the ground.
He turns the local footy star forward trend on its head, by chasing and harassing his opponent at every opportunity — refusing to give in until the ball leaves his area.
And his efforts only boost the confidence of teammates according to Campbell.
“Knowing Josh will fight like his life depends on it, gives you a lot of confidence as a teammate and coach,” he said.
“His ability to keep his feet and stay in the contest is one reason he kicks a lot of goals.
“He has a work rate which I have certainly never seen in a full-forward.”
While he has won plenty of plaudits for his on-field performances, Mellington’s dedication off the field has been just as important.
If you arrive to a game early enough on a Saturday, you will often find Mellington running water for the juniors or helping out in the canteen.
“He likes to tell us canteen sales increase when people see him in there,” Campbell joked.
“From the moment we first met, he has brought a terrific attitude to the club which is terrific to see.
“Everyone at the club is thrilled to have enjoyed what has come so far, but there is still more to come.”
Mellington and the Eagles take on Katandra today at Echuca South Recreation Reserve.