Closet Coves - Damian Naughton

 Full Name: Damian Something Naughton
 Age: 22 or 23
 Nickname: Battler
 Sex: Male
 Hair: Blonde
 Hairstyle: Beckham, circa 2002
 Eyes: Two
 Height: 5'6" ish
 Nice to his Mother: Yes
 Current Role(s): 1st Grade and U24's Captains, #3 batsmen, occasional wicket thief.
 Joined the Club: 1999/2000 or 2000/2001
 Previous Club(s): North Sydney
 Accolades: 1st Grade Captain of the Season 2004/05; Frank Gray Player of the Season 2004/05; Shires Representative XI 2004/05; LCCC Cricketer of the Year 2004/05, 2001/02; Frank Gray Finalist 2004/05, 2003/04, 2002/03.
 Prior to 05/06: 2687 runs at 24.2, 71 wickets (???) at 19.0, 52 catches.
 2005/06: Results Vault

In our inaugural installment of Closet Coves, it is only fitting that we welcome the one and only Damian Naughton to the crease for his first ever Covie interview! Damian has been something of a rising star in the world of Shires cricket, earning call ups to the Shires Representative team in the current and previous seasons and being crowned both Frank Gray Player of the Season and 1st Grade Captain of the Season last year. Welcome Damian, and thanks for giving up your precious time.
No problem boys.

First Grade and the Frank Gray team are both flying high in their respective competitions and you've only lost one game in total between the two. The teams are both second and within striking distance of top spot. What are your thoughts on the season so far?
I'm pretty stoked with it to be honest. 24's has been solid, I haven't really hit my straps yet but I'm still four from four with a few bonus points up the sleeve. 1's has been a bit of a surprise, but the team has always been greater than the sum of its parts. People like Holty, Mackenzie, Hinto's and Richardson are finally starting to pull a bit of weight so we're surprising a lot of teams with our depth. I'm pretty stoked with our performance, being one point off top spot at Christmas.

Do you think First Grade can maintain this sort of form and finish in the top 2 or 3?
I can't see why not. Shires is yet to see the best of Damian Naughton this season and on my day I think I'm a match for any team in the comp. Having some backup dancers this time around will help too.

It must help that most of the team have also been part of the Frank Gray setup for the past four or five seasons.
Yeah, definately. Of all the regulars to play 1's this season, everyone except Stallion has come through the 24's ranks. There's no segregation though, Stal still eats tea with us and I give him a few overs every now and again. It would be wrong to say I favour all my good mates in the Frank Gray team.

How are you coping with the pressure of fighting tough battles on two fronts?
No problems at all. I'm a pretty easy going bloke and I don't get stressed out.

You must do something to relax though?
Yeah, I usually relax at the beach with my shirt off or maybe see a movie and take my shirt off. I don't mind sitting at home and watching TV without a shirt on either.

Who is your favourite Cove and why?
Matt Mackenzie. He's just a genuinely good bloke who I'm stoked to have in 1's and 24's with me. We've got the same interests; we both enjoy our cricket, like a lazy beer or two and love taking our shirts off.

What's your favourite movie?
Top Gun. Tom Cruise is great in that, really inspirational, and I sometimes refer to it during my big speeches when I need to lift the boys. I think that's one of the biggest responsibilities as a captain. You can sense when your team maybe needs that little extra push to keep them on the edge. Even when I'm not single-handedly winning matches and crushing opposition teams, I can still contribute with my awareness and my leadership skills. Cruise also reminds me a lot of Matt Mackenzie with his shirt off.

What else do you use to inspire your team?
Music. Sometimes all you need to get your team in the right frame of mind is the perfect gee up song. Eye of the Tiger is an old favourite, but I keep pretty up to date with the latest and greatest. A bit of Nelly or some Linkin Park can make all the difference in a close game. On the other hand, it might be the wrong time for R&B or the heavy stuff. I'm open-minded and versatile, I've got some Veronikas and a bit of Paul Mac. You have to look at your team and the situation you're in and use those leadership skills I was talking about earlier. Letting some Elvis or Buddy Holly slip out at the wrong time could end your season. After that, if all else fails, I'll just take my shirt off.

Playing First Grade and 24's for so long, you'd obviously have a pretty good relationship with most of the umpires. Who's the best?
You can't go past Blommy. The guy is really passionate about his umpiring and he hardly ever gets a decision wrong... even if he does, he'll usually pull me aside and be up front and honest about it. He's that sort of bloke. We've built up a pretty good rapport over the past few years and I'd hate to lose that.

What would you be if you weren't a Covie?
Maybe a Penno Puma or a Bunny! Nah, seriously, I'm not too sure. Probably a model or something like that. I reckon that'd be alright.

Finally, any advice for the young Coves out there?
Work hard. Always give 110 percent. Don't give in. You're good enough to be what you want to be. Go to the gym. Use hair wax.

Thanks for meeting us in the closet Damian and best of luck for the rest of the season!
Cheers boys. Its been real.


This episode of Closet Coves was brought to you by King Stipey and Treasurer Harps.