Partners celebrate yet another flag
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.”