DREW Barnes will play in his 10th consecutive grand final on Sunday but if you think playing in the biggest game of the season gets any easier, think again.
The Yarrawonga co-coach, who will line up in his fifth-straight decider for the Pigeons on Sunday, was part of a golden run at Nathalia in the Murray league before his arrival at the J.C. Lowe Oval.
He played in four straight premierships with the Purples after dropping the 2004 decider to Deniliquin Rams.
And while the hard-as-nails utility is clearly a lucky charm, Barnes puts his luck in finals down to one thing.
“There’s a bit of luck there, yeah,” Barnes confessed this week.
“I’ve been pretty lucky to play in some successful sides and Yarrawonga has been one of them.
“The football doesn’t get any easier but I suppose you do get a bit of experience with preparation behind you, year after year.
“Hopefully I can feed some of that down to the group this week and they can take that on board.”
His win-loss record on the big stage currently stands at 5-4.
Obviously, Barnes wants to keep that in tact.
“Hopefully I can keep the ledger on a positive note,” Barnes said.
And while Barnes will play in his 10th grand final on Sunday, he is also faced with the unenviable task of telling at least one Pigeon he won’t be playing in this one.
With Morris medallist Xavier Leslie a walk-up starter this week, Yarrawonga is forced to end the grand final dream of one of the club’s fringe players.
Coaching counterpart Chris Kennedy, once a foe of Barnes’ when at Mulwala, said the pair wouldn’t be human if they didn’t feel bad about it.
“For the last week we’ve been trying to fit 24 into 21,” Kennedy said.
“We’re going to be telling guys over the next day or so they’re missing out.
“As a coach, if you don’t care about that ...
“It’s a hard gig.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t got the reserves in this year.”