Part­ners cel­e­brate yet an­other flag

Geelong Advertiser - - FOOTY FIX - ALEX OATES THE WINNERS

BRAD Martin stood up on the dais.

With a beam­ing smile and the adren­a­line pump­ing, Martin turned and ac­knowl­edged the Bell Post Hill faith­ful.

Then he was met with a bear-like hug from cap­tain Cam Ad­die. The tears flowed. Ad­die suc­cumbed to the emo­tion of a sev­enth flag in eight years. And soon enough, so had Martin.

“The two of us started the year to­gether,” Martin said from the mid­dle of Gor­don TAFE Oval.

“Any re­cruit­ing meet­ing we did, I wanted Cam with me, be­ing the cap­tain of the club and want­ing to coach even­tu­ally it’s a good ex­pe­ri­ence for him. We were both pretty deep in this year. I guess it’s a re­lease for him now.”

It was a mo­ment of pure joy for staunch Pan­thers’ lead­ers, two men who started the 10-year grand fi­nal jour­ney side-by-side in de­fence. “I love Cam,” Martin de­clared. “We went through premier­ship years to­gether as de­fend­ers ... cap­tain-to-cap­tain, pass­ing the ba­ton. It’s deep, and we put a lot into it.”

With the se­nior and re­serves premier­ship cups sit­ting in the boggy cen­tre of the ground, 44 play­ers and the Pan­thers’ coaches and sup­port staff linked arms to belt out It’s a Grand Old Flag.

“We spoke about it dur­ing the week and we put it out there, there’s an op­por­tu­nity to win two cups,” Martin said.

“Very rarely do clubs get both sen- iors and re­serves in the grand fi­nal, and we’ve come home with two cups, and our un­der-17 girls won the net­ball as well.

“So we’re three-from-three to­day, which is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment.”

Bell Post Hill’s first premier­ship cap­tain, Martin is now a premier­ship coach, join­ing Brent Gr­gic and Steve “Stoofa” Lewry.

“(I’m) elated, ac­tu­ally,” he said of his new-found pres­tige.

“Some­one texted me yes­ter­day (Fri­day) and said, ‘con­grats, you can be a premier­ship cap­tain and now a premier­ship coach’, and I hadn’t even thought about that.

“It ac­tu­ally made me a lit­tle bit ner­vous be­cause I don’t think about what I’ve achieved. It’s just the club, full stop. And that’s what it’s about.

“‘For each other’, that’s our motto and what we’re about.”

Martin paid trib­ute to Gr­gic, who steered the Pan­thers to four pre­mier­ships in five sea­sons.

He said he felt the weight of the world of his shoul­ders when he ac­cepted the se­nior coach­ing gig, know­ing the suc­cess of his pre­de­ces­sors.

“I feared if the wrong call was made it could come to an end,” Martin said. “But I wanted to put my hand up and say, ‘I’m right to go, I want to be the next leader of the club, coach­ing wise’.

“(Foot­ball man­ager) Tony Dosen and (pres­i­dent) Billy McAuliffe had the faith in me, and I had the op­por­tu­nity then to re­gen­er­ate our se­nior team, and I’ve done that.

“Un­for­tu­nately, some older guys and some ex­pe­ri­enced premier­ship play­ers didn’t get the chance to play in the se­nior game.”

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