In every premiership side there’s a hard-luck story – for Thurgoona, it’s Kane Westlow.
In five seasons at the Bulldogs, he’s yet to taste ultimate success.
His 2016 campaign was cut short by work commitments – the year Thurgoona won its maiden Tallangatta league flag.
Westlow was destined to play a part in last year’s triumph, but suffered a hamstring injury in the second semi-final against Kiewa-Sandy Creek and was left out of the premiership side when he failed a fitness test.
After starting his career with Howlong, Westlow also spent time at Albury, Fitzroy, in the Victorian Amateur Football League and Lavington, before joining Thurgoona.
And it’s been a while between premierships.
“I played in one at Fitzroy when I was 19 and thought ‘how good is this’ and I’ve lost three since,” Westlow said.
“I’m 32 as well, so I don’t think I have that much footy left in me, so it would be good to get another one before I finish.”
Westlow came to the club in its most successful era, signing at the same time as Sam Cross, Matt Fowler and Kade Brown.
The sheer number of quality forwards forced Westlow to make a name for himself down back.
“I’ve been getting pigeonholed a lot in my later years,” he laughed.
“When I was a junior, I played predominately forward, but ever since I went to Albury I played half-back and Lavi I was half-back.
“When I came here I might have played one or two games forward, but we’ve had a rich amount of forwards at Thurgoona.
“There’s Matt Fowler and Sam Cross and all these guys, so there’s pretty much no room for me.”
Thurgoona meets Barnawartha in Saturday’s preliminary final at Sandy Creek after falling to the Tigers by four points two weeks ago in the qualifying final.
Westlow had the job on Barnawartha coach and star forward Peter Cook, who finished the day with five goals in his side’s impeccable total of 17.2 (104).
“There wasn’t much we could have done about it unfortunately,” Westlow said.
“The ball was coming in pretty hot.
“No offence to him, I reckon he had five kicks and five goals.
“It was just one of those days where he got laced up, he was in the right spots.
“I think I’ll get another crack at him on Saturday.
“Our first quarter killed us, we were 40-50 points down at the worst point, they might have even kicked the first goal after quarter time, but we clawed it back.
“Hopefully we make amends this Saturday.
“We’ve beaten them twice during the year and we take a lot of confidence out of that.”
Despite his tough run of luck, Westlow wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“I’ve played at some pretty big clubs and this is as good a place as any,” he said.
“Everybody has signed on for next year and Brett Doswell is coming (to coach).”
Saturday’s clash starts at 2.15pm.
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