IT may have been over a decade since Adam Eady donned the maroon and blue.
But for Culcairn it has been worth the wait.
Eady, 28, last played for the Lions in 2002 under coach Andrew Robertson after emerging through the club’s juniors.
He returned to the den this year after stints with Lavington and Noosa and was the Lions’ biggest summer signing.
The classy ball winner was appointed captain and hasn’t disappointed to emerge as their best player and favourite to win the club’s best and fairest award.
“I love being back at the home club,” Eady said.
“It’s a terrific group to be involved with, which makes it a lot more enjoyable.”
Culcairn emerged as a finals contender after claiming the scalp of Osborne in round 7.
But two subsequent loses to Jindera and Holbrook in the past fortnight has almost left finals out of reach for the Lions (ninth with a 3-5 record).
“Obviously we aren’t travelling as well as we would have liked and need to get it right on the paddock,” he said.
“I think we have got the side capable of making finals but lapses during matches have proven costly.”
Eady joined Lavington for the 2003 season and played more than 50 games with the Panthers, including the thrilling after the siren grand final win over Myrtleford in 2005.
The then 19-year-old said he had little recollection of his first senior flag.
“At the time and being so young I probably didn’t app-reciate how hard flags actually are to win,” he said.
“I was on and off the bench for most of the match.
“I probably remember the celebrations a lot more — it was a huge week.”
Eady moved to Noosa at the end of 2006 with Lavington teammate Luke Schilg, who missed the 2005 flag after injuring his knee in the finals series.
He played in successive flags with the Queensland club in 2010-11 and played alongside former Panthers teammate Luke Brauer in 2011.
Ironically, Eady will clash with Brock-Burrum co-coaches Schilg and Brauer on the weekend when Culcairn take on the Saints.
“I can’t wait for Saturday and have had the date pencilled in on the calendar since the start of the season,” Eady said.
“I’m a chance to play on one of them so it should be interesting.”
Eady said the form of Azzi medallists Brent Barber and Graham Fruean warranted the veterans playing on again next season.
“Both of them are still getting a kick and over a few beers after the game are quick to tell you why they can win the Azzi again this season,” he said.