Development best and fairest winner, leading league goal scorer and National Wheelchair Champion are all titles that Scott Van Gemert could have only dreamt of at the start of 2022.
As an Essendon diehard, the opportunity to join the Bombers’ wheelchair team was one that he was not going to pass up on.
One come and try day later, and Scott had found himself on the list for the Essendon side, frequenting the best players for the Development team.
“It has all been a bit of whirlwind this year,” Van Gemert said.
“Coming in and not having played the game before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
A talented musician and teacher by day, Van Gemert would consistently make his way to the NEC Hangar at night to work towards his goal of becoming the best possible wheelchair football player he could be.
“I found that I started to pick up the sport really well and ultimately started having a lot of fun.” Van Gemert said.
“Everyone was really welcoming and even though some had been there (at the club) long term, they still went out of their way to ensure we felt like we belonged.”
It wasn’t long until Van Gemert found his place amongst the side, eventually settling forward to form a formidable duo with teammate Ben Milton.
From there, the goals started to flow, eventually leading to Van Gemert taking out the title of leading league goal scorer.
“This form allowed me to be able to start to get some time off the bench in the seniors at the back part of the season.” Van Gemert said.
“I had to change my diet and get in the gym more in order to start to unlock my potential as a player.”
“Overall, It was a really good experience and allowed me to get to experience that step up in level.”
Van Gemert then backed up his leading goal scorer award with a club best and fairest. A significant achievement for someone in their first year.
Following this, he was also presented with the opportunity to represent Victoria at the recent National Wheelchair Championships.
Pairing up with players he had played against all year, the National Championships allowed Van Germert to continue to develop at the highest level, competing against the best players across the country.
“It was really nice to get to know these players as more than just the opposition on the court.” Van Germert said.
“There was a real collegiate feel amongst the team which helped make it a really great experience.”
“Being one of the least experienced there I really took the opportunity to try and hold my own and make the most of my opportunities whenever they were presented to me.”
The campaign proved to be extremely successful with the team going undefeated through 15 matches, winning the Premiership for Victoria for the first time in the state’s history.
For Scott, it’s only just the beginning for his young career, where he is excited to continue to improve and play more senior time in season 2023.