French footy twist

Romain Georges (right) and Trafalgar reserves coach Brett Tonkin celebrate in the red and white jersey.

Romain Georges (right) and Trafalgar reserves coach Brett Tonkin celebrate in the red and white jersey.

In French, a "coup de Trafalgar" or "Trafalgar strike" means to deliver a decisive and unexpected blow to your opponent.

That's exactly what Trafalgar reserves recruit Romain Georges gave to Morwell East last month, when he kicked a decisive and unexpected goal to turn the game's momentum and win Trafalgar the match.

Romain became an unlikely hero that day, but he had not even touched an Australian rules football until March this year, when he began training with Trafalgar in the Mid Gippsland Football League.

Romain hails from the little town of Saint de la Tour in eastern France. He flew to Perth in September last year and watched the city erupt as the West Coast Eagles won their first Premiership in twelve years.

Inspired, he found the Trafalgar Football Club on Facebook and asked them if he could come and play for the team. He and his girlfriend bought a car and drove to across the Nullarbor to Victoria, eventually ending up at Trafalgar.

"There was a bit of trepidation as to whether we'd be able to give him any game time," recalls Trafalgar reserves coach Brett Tonkin.

"We didn't have a lot of time to get him up to scratch."

Romain first trained with the reserves side in March and Tonkin worked hard to get him ready for his first Australian rules game.

"They showed me the skills, they showed me the punch," says Romain, referring to the hand pass.

And his previous sporting experience in France held him in good stead.

"Fitness isn't an issue for him with the rugby playing," says Tonkin. "He applies himself really well and his kicking's quite good."

On May 4 Romain laced up his boots and made his debut against Boolarra.

Tonkin put him in the backline, hoping his rugby experience would translate well in that position. It did -- Trafalgar won by 56 points that day.

Romain donned the red and white jersey for the second time in round five, when Trafalgar took on Morwell East.

Tonkin moved Romain from defence and put him in the forward line. Morwell were always going to be a tougher opponent than Boolarra. At the time, they were on top of the reserves’ competition ladder. Trafalgar were third.

"It was a very wet game, Morwell had the first three goals," says Tonkin.

Trafalgar desperately needed something to change the momentum of the game.

And then, shortly after the beginning of the second quarter and after weeks of hard work, Romain was finally given a golden opportunity.

"We had the ball in a stoppage in one of the pockets. It went in and he got the ball about 15 out," recalls Tonkin.

"He went back and put it through."

Romain's goal flipped the game on its head. From there, Trafalgar was able to establish a lead and win by 18 points.

Romain will say au revoir to Trafalgar when he flies back to France on July 10. Trafalgar have their mid-season ball soon which Tonkin says will be a great send-off for the Frenchman.

For Romain however, there is only one thing that would truly cap off his time at Trafalgar.

"If I can kick another goal, well, that'd be very nice," he says.


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