One of the league’s most unlikely milestone players will rack up a century on Sunday.
Former Williamstown player Mat Grossman arrived at Wangaratta in 2012 and, apart from a season at Avondale Heights three years later, has made the weekly trek from Melbourne.
“Obviously I don’t travel up the highway because I enjoy driving, it’s about the club and the people inside it,” the flying defender said.
“I probably wouldn’t have thought in my first season at ‘Wang’ that I could have reached 100 games.
“I know Joe McKenzie at our club always spoke to me, tongue in cheek, about trying to get me to play 100 and I didn’t probably take a heap of notice about that.”
The 30-year-old schoolteacher was quizzed why he continues the gruelling travel, particularly given he wasn’t raised in the area, like so many travellers.
“I can play football effectively anywhere, obviously outside the AFL and VFL, and my choice to play at Wangaratta is hopefully saying something about the people involved in the club and the people that I’ve met along the way,” he said.
“The standard of football is still incredibly high in the Ovens and Murray, particularly against the stronger sides, and in Melbourne, I’m not sure if it’s taken for granted up there, but the grounds simply aren’t what we’re provided with up in the North East.”
And not only are Pies’ fans happy he continues to make the trek, but also spectators because Grossman is one of the most exciting players due to his pace and daring.
The Pies should continue their winning streak at home against Wangaratta Rovers.
“I know a lot of the boys look at the draw when it comes out and the first game they look at is when we’re playing each other,” he said.