Premiership Pies’ party on
First ever premiership caps a big year for Speight
IT has been a big year for Ben Speight.
The former North Melbourne midfielder had played in just one grand final before Saturday’s Ovens and Murray decider but that was at under 14s level.
Now 27, the classy midfielder-cum-forward has broken through for his first taste of premiership success and he couldn’t be prouder.
“In under 14s we got pumped by 14 goals or something like that so to play in another grand final on Saturday and win was awesome,” Speight said.
“There were two or three preliminary finals in the VFL (with Werribee).
“In one of those years we knew if we had have made it we would have been a good chance, but it wasn’t to be.
“Saturday’s win was special.”
Speight reflected on the win in a sage-like way.
“I’ve been known as a footballer and only as a footballer for the past 10 years or so and it doesn’t matter if you’re a good bloke or a bad bloke, that’s just how you’re seen and they don’t get to know you,” he said.
“But to come here and win the flag for Wangaratta with a couple of close mates, and a young and upcoming group is fantastic and to see the lift the club and the town get from it adds to just how special the win is.”
Speight came to Wangaratta from Werribee, and praised the standard of the league.
“The standard is highly regarded as are the grounds,” he said.
“The grounds are way above the standard you get in Melbourne, they’re bigger, well maintained and that is all of the ones I have played at this year.
“The weather is better, that falls into the laps of the O&M a bit, but it is a well run league with a strong competition.”
Speight, who is a fully qualified pilot, started the season as a midfielder before a shoulder injury forced him to miss four games and his role was re-established as a forward where he booted 42 goals, including 24 goals in the final six matches.
“Earlier ‘Stoney’ (Coach Dean Stone) saw me as more an inside mid who could go and win the footy,” Speight said.
“The body broke down and didn’t hold up through year and I just spent more time forward and I was able to get on the end of a few.
“When ‘Juice’ (Michael Newton) went down I had step up, but it wasn’t just me, the whole team and especially the midfield; it turned out alright in the end.”
Off the field Speight and wife Melissa welcomed their first child, Charlotte, but now with premiership success ticked off the list of his footballing achievements, Speight said he will look to dedicate more time to his career outside of football.
“I would love to come back to Wangaratta and play another, I have loved the past 10 months,” Speight said.
“But in saying that I have fulfilled a lot of football things and now that I have got the premiership it might be time to look at getting a full time aviation career.
“Hopefully that means I can get every Saturday off during the winter months but if not then footy may need to take a step back.
“I am only 27 so I still have a lot of footy to give, but I spent close to $100,000 on getting my flying licence.
“Obviously Charlotte came along earlier this year, I won my first grand final, and now my Crows are into the grand final; I am going for the big trifecta and if I can add a full time piloting gig in there that would be great.”
PARTY PIES: Premiership celebrations continued for much of the weekend as Wangaratta Magpies’ Silly Sunday and Mad Monday antics took them from the clubrooms to the North Eastern Hotel and back again as the entire senior list enjoyed each others’ company and celebrated the season that was in 2017. Premiership medalsdals were fully on display all weekend and the premiership cup was not long out of anyone’s possession. Dressing up for Mad Monday has been a long running tradition at the Magpies and the playingaying group didn’t disappoint.
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CUP JOY: Ben Speight celebrates the win with baby daughter Charlotte on Sunday.