THE 2010 Ovens and Murray under-18s grand final unfortunately had a familiar ending to many late September appearances by Myrtleford.
The team playing under the Alpine Eagles banner in a bid to bring all the best young players in the Ovens Valley together was beaten by Wodonga Raiders.
But what became evident soon after was the talent within.
Matt Taberner is coming off an injury interrupted fifth season for the Fremantle Dockers and Frazer Dale played two matches at senior level for Carlton after being taken with pick 50 in the 2012 rookie draft.
But, a team-mate who was taken 10 picks earlier than Dale in the same draft, Jack Crisp, is on the brink of becoming an AFL premiership player with Collingwood where he has not missed a game since being the “steak knives” in the deal which sent former Magpie Dayne Beams to Brisbane at the end of 2014.
“The only disappointing thing about that year was we didn’t win the grand final,” Alpine Eagles coach Michael Quirk said.
“Jack has become a serious part of that Collingwood team.”
Crisp is coming off one of his best matches in black and white with a 30-disposal, two goal game from half-back against reigning premier Richmond in the preliminary final.
“He was a very strong middle distance runner and nowadays with footy being based around hard-running it suits him down to the ground,” Quirk said.
“There were always people who had a bit of a knock on his kicking, but I reckon it has really improved over the last couple of years.”
The other quality Quirk admires about Crisp is he hasn’t forgotten where he has come from with his family part of Myrtleford football royalty.
“When he gets back to the area he comes down to training and trains with the local boys,” Quirk said.
“He is never far from home and I’m pretty sure he did some labouring for his old man at the end of last season.”
Crisp’s late grand-father Bob and his brother Alan are Saints’ immortals who played in the club’s one and only O and M premiership team in 1970.
Tragically Bob died in the same year Jack was drafted and never got to see him play at the highest level.
Crisp’s dad Mathew and mum Cate have made their own marks in football and netball at the club.
Mathew played 170-plus matches for Myrtleford and represented the O and M at inter-league level.
He also stepped into the Saints senior coaching role in a time of a crisis in the late 2000s after previously coaching Dederang-Mount Beauty.
Jack’s two younger brothers Callum and Ryan have also played at senior level for the Saints and sister Jordan is a former Lady Bandits basketballer.
“He’s had some heart-break along the way and as parents you nearly feel it more than what he does,” Mathew, a lifetime Carlton supporter, said in reference to being initially overlooked in the national draft.
“Even people who don’t barrack for Collingwood have been wishing us all the best.
“I haven’t been to a grand final before and I never I thought I would be going to one to watch my son play.”
Cate says trips to the supermarket have become longer due to the many well-wishers in the footy-mad town wanting to talk about her son.
“It’s just reward for all the hard work he has put in and the long journey he has been on to get there,” she said.
“We were more or less told he was going to get picked up.
“He has sacrificed a lot.
“(The support from the town) is great and it’s really touching.”
They are super proud of the way Jack conducts himself off the field and in particular the support he has shown close mate Travis Varcoe through the difficult times since his sister died playing in an Adelaide women’s competition grand final on the eve of the AFL finals.
Crisp and Varcoe joined the Magpies in the same year.
Crisp will become the first Myrtleford born and bred player to become an AFL premiership player since Sam Kekovich with North Melbourne in 1975 if the Magpies salute against the West Coast Eagles.
Former Saints to play in losing grand finals include Guy Rigoni with Melbourne in 2000 and Steve McKee for the Magpies two years later.
Jack’s No.25 jumper has also not graced the MCG in a winning Collingwood premiership team since 1953 when Mick Twomey wore the number in the upset victory over Geelong.
Twomey also played in the Magpies’ 1958 premiership win over Melbourne, but didn’t wear the same number as five years earlier.
The Sun-News Pictorial newspaper had published the player numbers on the morning of the match in breach of the Football Record’s exclusive rights to them and both teams were order to change them.
Twomey wore No.23 and captain Frank Tuck, who later coached Corowa, was listed to wear No.25, but was ruled out with injury.
Crisp played his 100th AFL senior match earlier this season and is on target to record another top-10 finish in the Copeland Trophy.
His best result to date is a third placing in his first year at the club.
Off-field he became a father for the first time late last year with wife Mikayla giving birth to baby, Lilah.
The man instrumental in getting him to Collingwood, recruiting manager Derek Hine, said Crisp was one of the best player trade results the Magpies have pulled off.
He caught Hine’s eye for the first time when he played off half-back for Victorian Country in his final season at the Murray Bushrangers and although the Magpies didn’t pick him up that season he didn’t disappear totally off their radar.
Hine said the Magpies drove a hard bargain with Brisbane over Beams and even though the early picks they netted included a selection used to snare Jordan De Goey, they still wanted more.
“I think at the time Jack had a two-year offer in front of him from Brisbane,” Hine said.
“Jack was in and out of the side and there was a certain level of frustration from him.
“He played a very good game against us at the MCG.
“It was important for us we got more than picks five and 25 so Jack became part of that.
“If all trades were like that they would be building a statue of you wouldn’t they?
“Although Jack doesn’t hold a position in the leadership group, he is actually a leader in his own right in the way he prepares and respected by his peers.”
If all trades were like that they would be building a statue of you wouldn’t they?Collingwood recruiting manager Derek Hine