Freddie? a goal scoring machine


NOT many of the great forwards of AFL history can claim to have done what new North Coffs' recruit Darren Funston has over the last fortnight.

To kick a bag of 10 goals is a big deal in Aussie Rules.

It's a day out, a rarity. Something to tell the grandkids when they're sitting on your knee during the autumn years of your life.

But to do it two games in a row is something special.

Matthew Lloyd hasn't done it. Not even Gary Ablett can lay claim to the achievement, but Funston can.

Funston recently moved to the area from the Victorian town of Camperdown in the Western Districts.

Two weeks ago in his debut match against Grafton, 'Freddie' as he is known started the game in defence. When coach David Velt realised the game was going to be one-way traffic, he decided to move Funston forward so he could show a little of what he's got.

He certainly showed that he has a trick or two in his bag.

By the game's end, Funston had kicked 12 goals, and North Coffs won by a massive 197 points.

On Saturday Funston was no longer a mystery player capable of sneaking under the opponents' radar.

But against his new club's arch-rival the Coffs Swans, Funston casually slotted through another 12 goals.

After only two games in the North Coast competition, Funston is already leading the goalkicking table, edging out Sawtell's Luke Matthews.

"I'm a little bit embarrassed about leading the goalkicking actually," Funston said.

"I didn't expect to kick 24 goals in two games.

"All the footy I played at home this year, I played down back."

Before his debut at North Coffs, the best haul of goals Funston had ever returned was nine when he was playing at North Warrnambool.

"A couple of my mates and my old footy coach from back home find it a bit amusing that I'm kicking all these goals.

"The footy here is pretty good though. "It's a little bit different to home where it's a bit quicker and more physical, but it's not too bad."

To have a gun footballer like Funston playing at North Coffs might be considered a recruiting coup by some observers, but fact is, Funston's arrival at the Kangaroos was more by chance than design.

"My wife Lee bought Coffs Harbour Osteopathy recently so we both moved up," he explained.

"I'd played footy with Matthew Crispe for a couple of years in Warrnambool and heard that he was up here.

"When I got in touch with him, he said that he was playing for North Coffs this season and I thought that'll do.

"I just need to find a job for myself now and I'll be set."

This weekend North Coffs are travelling to Port Macquarie for a replay of the last three Grand Finals.

Funston has ruled out kicking another 12 goals claiming that "the bubble has got to burst sooner or later."

"I haven't seen them yet so I really don't know much about them.

"All reports from around town though tell me that it should be a good game."

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