What do Jarman Impey, Glenn Manton and Alec Epis have in common?

Jarman Impey had only been at Hawthorn for two weeks before he and Alastair Clarkson had a secret handshake.

That’s the kind of person Impey is, according to Carlton premiership player and Impey’s mentor Glenn Manton. “‘Jars’ is a lover,” Manton said. “It’s his greatest strength. He has so much love to give.

“His personality is a huge strength for him and a huge strength for Hawthorn. Someone who is so open with their emotion, not to a foolhardy level, but just someone who knows how to love and live in the moment. That’s a special quality for any team.”

Impey, 22, won’t hide his personality: “I’m always sort of touchy-feely you know what I mean? I have my arm around someone or just always am coming up and give a little hug. I’m a bit affectionate but that’s not a bad thing I’d rather be affectionate than stuck up or whatever. I have a lot of love to give.”

Much has been written about Impey’s trade to Hawthorn after four seasons at Port Adelaide. Impey wrote about it on Instagram after his trade too. In short, he needed to be closer to his family who live in Shepparton.

Being away from his father, also named Glenn, while he battled cancer and eventually died (soon after the 2016 season) took too much of a toll on him. The fact that he is now only a short drive away from his nana, sister, half-brother and other family and friends is life-changing. His father’s death and being away from home hampered his football in 2017.

“Nana has this big smile on my face whenever I see her. She’s always asking ‘Do you want something to eat?’ or ‘Stay here for dinner?’ and I have to say ‘Nan, I have dinner organised’ and she still says ‘Oh if you want you can come here for dinner!’

“She is flat-out saying ‘What about washing, bring your washing, when are you coming next?’, you know what they’re like, nanas are pretty much all the same but she is beautiful.

“She makes the best omelettes ever, so when I need to shred up in the off-season I go round there and grab an excellent omelette.”

Impey and his father did everything together. They told each other everything. They were, in his words “each other’s best mates”. Given Impey’s mother was out of the picture Glenn Impey raised his two kids and their half-brother mostly on his own.

His father was fit and strong. So when Jarman began getting serious about football in his teenage years the pair went to the gym together. Glenn Impey taught Jarman how to lift weights and they went swimming and did boxing together.

“I think after two AFL pre-seasons I probably just got him [for fitness] but up until then he had his young bloke covered,” Jarman said.

“He really cared about everyone, he always just wanted to give, give, give and I’d say, ‘Dad sometimes you have got to do this for yourself mate, it’s all right’.

“When he was crook we’d go camping and he’d want to do dishes and it was like, ‘Wow Dad, sit down mate, it’s all right’; he had an amazing impact on people and he is missed today.”

Glenn Impey lives on in a lot of ways for Jarman, not least through himself. One of Jarman’s most prized connections to his father is a 1970s Holden Monaro.

The pair bought, repaired, painted, drove and looked after the car together. It’s in Adelaide now but will soon be back with Jarman in Melbourne.

“That car is … words can’t describe how special that car is to me because we loved our cars, bikes, fishing, boats, Harleys all that stuff,” he said.

“Just being in that car, I can’t really explain it. Just so many memories and it meant the world to us. I will never be able to sell it. There is not a price you could put on that car for me to sell it.”

A love of cars is one thing that Impey and Manton have in common. There are many more, like fashion, music and the need to feel properly connected to someone, or something they’re doing to carry it out to the best of their ability.

They met when Impey was an under-16s Vic Country prospect and Manton was the team’s back-line coach. Manton wanted Impey in the back line.

Since then they’ve been close, talking every week while Impey lived in Adelaide and three or four times a week after his move to Melbourne.

“He [Manton] thinks differently, outside the box, he cares a lot, he is a motivator and I just really got along well with him,” Impey said.

“He is just a cool guy, you know what I mean? He dressed well, he said the right things, he is tall, he had a few tattoos and the way he would get around the boys really drew me toward him. We kept in touch over the years when I got drafted.”

Impey said Manton had been his “number one” supporter in sorting out the move back to Victoria. He helped him in everything from which club to choose to where to live.

“Mance has always been there, he has always been caring … he was always there whenever I need something.

“A couple of times when I was having thoughts or trouble with things he would always have the right answer. Whenever I needed something he was always there to pick me up and move me forward.”

Manton had his own mentor which has informed his relationship with Impey and also what he currently does for work.

Manton has a book out and another one on its way in 2018. He still coaches at Vic Country under 16s and will next year teach “emotional intelligence” to a few TAC Cup clubs.

He also speaks to schools, prisons and workplaces about the importance of having deeply caring person-to-person relationships, like the one he has with Impey and with his mentor -1962 and 1965 Essendon premiership player and former Bombers board member Alec “Kookaburra” Epis. Manton’s even done a TED Talk about the Kookaburra.

Manton met Epis at the 1993 grand final when he played for Essendon but missed grand final selection. Epis introduced himself to Manton at half-time. Epis told Manton he thought he was a good player, who he could make better, and gave him his number.

Manton called Epis and the pair met at a park in Moonee Ponds to train. Manton and Epis trained together at that park for the rest of his career, every Wednesday morning, even when Manton moved to arch-rival Carlton.

“It gave me a great sense of confidence and gave me another port of call beyond regular and expected places like coaches or parents or friends to experience confidence,” Manton said.

“To know that Kooka was in my corner, for no other reason than to support me as a person, allowed me to step out beyond what I thought was possible. It’s a lovely feeling you get having somebody with a genuine passion for you not qualified by money or status.”

Manton doesn’t train with Impey like he did with Epis, but he tries to give him the same guidance, confidence and attention.

“When you develop a relationship with someone who has an interest in you as a person and that is where the interest ends and begins, that gives you a sense of real connection.”

“More than anything it’s around the idea of being able to love and share and embrace people with your personality.”

These deep, intensely caring and special relationships are something Manton felt the game lacked when he played and still lacks now. He credits Epis for a lot in his career. Epis thinks this is lacking in modern football too. He also mentored Matthew Lloyd and Scott Lucas closely, to name but a few.

Epis, who is called “Kookaburra” because he never stops yapping, is 80. He lives in Moonee Ponds but spends a lot of time at his Woodend winery.

“I thought he [Manton] was too uptight as a person, a bit like Oscar [one of Manton’s three kids]. What he does with Oscar now I would do with him … I simply told him he could play and that he was good enough.”

The “Kookaburra” came to Melbourne from Boulder in the Western Australian goldfields. He dominated the local football competition and moved to Essendon in 1956 but was refused a clearance by the WA competition and couldn’t play for two years.

“At that tough time Jack Vosti, a former player grabbed me,” Epis said. “He said to me, ‘Come here son, you listen to me, you’re going to be a very good player one day, don’t think you’re not going to be because I have seen you say you think you might go home. You’re going to be good enough.’

“I never ever forgot that. When I got down a bit I said, ‘But he said I was going to be a good player.’

“I don’t think I would have done what I did in my career unless he had said that to me. He picked me up when I was down. Then I got my confidence back. We are no different, it just depends who picked you up.”

Manton said that he believes these kinds of relationships are important in all aspects of life. For him and Impey he is there if he wants him to help, but doesn’t mind if not.

“It is completely Jarman’s choice. It is up to him whether he wants to capitalise on my offer or squander it … I can’t influence Jarman to make a decision one way or another, I never have and never will. It is totally up to him how he uses that information,” he says.

“For me, Alec never pushed anything upon me. He just put opinions to me, strong ones, but he told me I was allowed to work toward my own results and opinions.

“I feel I was smart enough to see he was someone who had been there and done that and that had an unbiased, rugged and genuine opinion about life.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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