Wangaratta forward Josh Porter said a conversation with his three-time premiership father was a contributing factor in his match-winning 16,000-kilometre dash home.
The 196-centimetre powerhouse kicked three goals, including the last two of the match, to guide the Pies into their first grand final, against Albury, since 2008.
“It was worth coming back, definitely, I was actually talking to my dad (Chris), who won three flags at Wangaratta Rovers,” he said.
“He said you don’t get too many opportunities to play in premierships or finals footy, he’s really proud of his achievements and that probably provided icing on the cake to come back.
“There’s nothing like winning a game of finals footy, it’s the pinnacle, it’s what you play for.”
It was Porter’s first game in nine weeks after starting a teaching degree at East Carolina University in the US.
“It was only Monday American time, Tuesday morning in Australia, that I was given the green light,” he said.
“The uni said I could only go for a nine-day block, so I flew out on Wednesday and have to go back the day after the (Saturday) grand final.”
Porter kicked his first goal early in the second quarter with a strong mark against Logan Morey and followed with his two goals in a sizzling six minutes in the final stanza.
I flew out on Wednesday and have to go back the day after the (Saturday) grand final.Josh Porter
“I was probably a bit rusty judging the footy and my contested marking,” he said.
‘I was a little bit rusty with my positioning and worked my way into the game and just tried to provide a target for the boys.”
The 23-year-old Pies’ junior returned to the club this season after a number of years with Werribee in the VFL.
“He was terrific, but our expectation wasn’t to win the game off his own boot,” coach Dean Stone said.