YARRAWONGA’S rivalry with Albury is starting to remind me of the Rocky movie series.
And not just because there’s been so many sequels.
While most people think we’ve been the two standout teams in the league on paper over the past few years, that doesn’t really mean much once you take the field.
I can tell you now the hardest thing in sport is making a grand final, not winning it.
Once you get there, you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of taking home a medal.
But at the start of the season, everyone is a chance, no matter what anyone reckons.
Just like Rocky faced plenty of challengers, so has Yarra and Albury.
Wangaratta Rovers should have got through to the granny in 2012 and Lavington has been very stiff not to make one over the past few years, as well.
But like Rocky’s fight with Apollo Creed, both teams have kept getting up after each round and taken plenty of shots along the way.
It’s a fight that has gone the distance.
But just like the movie, things don’t get any easier for Rocky and there’s always another challenger out there.
Lavi has brought in big Ivan Drago (a.k.a. Justin Koschitzke) straight out of the AFL system and he’ll be huge for them.
He loves being back home and getting around the Lavi boys and I’m sure the club hopes he’s its favourite son by year’s end.
They’re definitely out to spoil the party.
Although both teams won’t be at full-strength, and it’s only round 1, there’s still plenty to play for.
Drew Barnes and Chris Hyde are both playing their 100th and that always adds more spice to a game.
Everyone will be playing for them.
Barnesy is unreal. People think I’m hard to control, you should see him.
He does everything at 1000 miles an hour. I’d never seen a bloke try and smother kicks at training until him.
He needs to chill out. On the field, he’s a leader who strives to be the best and brings his teammates with him.
Last year’s granny is the perfect example.
I knew we were on when he kicked that goal straight after half-time.
He’s played in 10 grand finals in a row, which shows you how hungry he is.
We want to play well for him and I’m sure the Albury boys want to do the same for Hydey.
Tomorrow is just one day in a long season and I think we’re in for one of the best in a long time.
WITH Carlton releasing a list of its 150 best players in the lead up to the club’s
150-year anniversary dinner, I thought I’d have a crack at picking my best five.
The Blues have had a heap of great players over the years and picking the best of them was pretty tough.
Obviously, I wasn’t around in the 1800s so I can’t really comment on players from the clubs entire 150 years.
These are the best five Blues that I saw, or know enough about.
I’m sure a few of the boys will be dark I left them out.
1. STEPHEN KERNAHAN
251 GAMES, 738 GOALS
Sticks was a freak. He did pretty much everythng a player can do in a game. He's the club's leading goalkicker, captain of the Team of the Century and the longest serving skipper in Carlton's history. Enough said.
2. GREG WILLIAMS
109 GAMES, 89 GOALS
Although Diesel spent half of his career away from Carlton, what he did at the club was unreal. He won a premiership Brownlow, Norm Smith and best and fairest at the Blues and was just a ball magnet. He rarely played a bad game.
3. JOHN NICHOLLS
328 GAMES, 307 GOALS
For someone that was barely six-foot, the way he dominated the ruck was unbelievable. Obviously there's a couple of flags next to his name and plenty of other accolades along the way. The best and fairest is named after him, which is a fairly big deal. They don't do that if you're no good.
4. BRUCE DOULL
356 GAMES, 22 GOALS
The Flying Doormat did his thing. I don't think anyone has seen him for 30 years. He was a quiet achiever who let his footy do the talking. Four flags and four best and fairest awards is a reasonable effort I would have thought.
5. WAYNE JOHNSTON
209 GAMES, 283 GOALS
I don't think Carlton's had a better finals player than the dominator. He always stoodup under pressure and his four premierships shows that. He was skilled and tough.