YOU’D have to search far, wide and perhaps back through the archives to find a season the likes of which Golden Square star Adam Baird is having.
The bulletproof on-baller has reached new heights in 2018 and a convincing argument could be mounted that the form of the man they call “Skinny” has been as good as – maybe better than – anyone’s across the state.
Baird’s remarkable season started in round one, where he was best on ground in the Dogs’ win over Sandhurst.
Five weeks after his round one masterclass he represented the Bendigo Football Netball League against the Hampden League and won the Derrick Filo Medal as Bendigo’s best player.
He was then selected for Vic Country in last weekend’s Community Cup against Vic Metro and – you guessed it – was again named best afield, this time in a win.
All up, Baird has played a combined 12 games for Golden Square and the two rep teams, been in the best players 10 times, named his team’s best player five times and kicked 19 goals including hauls of five and four against Castlemaine and Maryborough.
“I just love playing footy, really. Whether it’s for Square or for Vic Country which was unbelievable at the weekend, I just love the contest,” he said.
“Playing interleague is brilliant, I really believe we should be higher up the rankings with the talent we have. And to play Vic Country was an awesome
Perhaps previously underrated as part of the Bulldogs on-ball brigade, Baird has taken his game to a new level this year after an injury-interrupted 2017.
“I feel as though this year is probably on par with anything I’ve produced, it’s hard to know and you don’t really think about that, more about the team, but I guess I’ve been pretty happy with how I’m playing,” he said.
Baird prides himself on his defensive ability but he adds a dynamism to that which is rare, the ability to press forward and kick goals, or to simply thump them from long range on his reliable right boot.
It helps that he’s had some fair players to learn from along the way.
The likes of Mark Lloyd, Nathan Bell, Luke Hammond, Rick Ladson and Jack Geary have plied their trade in Square’s midfield since he arrived in 2007.
But another name comes to mind in terms of his favourite teammate to watch.
“Probably Simon Rosa. His ability in traffic and just to move his hips… you couldn’t tackle him,” Baird said.
Baird now plays Rosa’s inside role for the Dogs and while they may go about it in different ways, he is no less effective in helping his side to victory.
Square (8-3, fourth) plays Castlemaine tomorrow.
In other matches, Strathfieldsaye hosts Kyneton, Gisborne takes on Eaglehawk, South Bendigo welcomes Maryborough to Harry Trott Oval and Sandhurst travels to Kangaroo Flat.
– Joel Peterson