David McLeish never had any great expectations for what proved to be an impressive VFL career.
The Wodonga premiership coach was inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame on Wednesday night after 213 games for South Melbourne from 1969 to 1980.
McLeish played with home club Kerang at the start of the 1969 season, before being invited to play reserves with the Bloods.
Never could he have imagined a year later he'd be playing in a VFL semi-final in front of 104,000 people.
The half-back flanker achieved the rare feat of his era - playing in two finals with South Melbourne - the 1970 first semi-final loss against St Kilda at the MCG and the 1977 elimination final defeat against Richmond at Waverley Park.
"I thought I'd go down there and have a crack at it for a year and go back to Kerang if I don't do any good, but 11 years later I'm still there," McLeish said.
"We made the four when no-one thought we would under Norm Smith in my first full season in 1970.
"It was Bobby Skilton's only final and I think he must have dragged 50,000 through the gate himself.
"To end up playing in front of 104,000 people was a bit daunting as a 20-year-old.
"Peter Bedford won the Brownlow that year, it was a massive year for us.
"We had some ups and downs, but we made the finals in 1977 against Richmond down at Waverley.
"It was a hell of lot different to playing at the MCG, but it was still a thrill.
"I did get to play on the MCG in a grand final in my last year, I only played about eight senior games, but I did play in a grand final for the Swans, in the reserves."
Other sports news:
McLeish had planned to be on a golf trip in Melbourne this week, but wife Kate, who'd been keeping the Hall of Fame news a secret for some time, had to eventually let it out of the bag.
He was joined by former teammate David Ackerly in the Hall of Fame, while dual Brownlow Medallist and premiership player Adam Goodes was elevated to Bloods Legend status.
"You look at the names there and to join them is unbelievable," he said.
"We were up there with Adam Goodes who got inducted as a legend.
"I played with David Ackerly for a couple of years before they went to Sydney and I didn't know he was inducted until the last minute as well."
McLeish signed as captain-coach of Wodonga in 1981 and that year made history as the first club to win the senior, reserves and thirds premierships in the same season.
"I was only going up to Wodonga for a couple of years to coach and I'm still there," he laughed.
"I won't be leaving here for a while now I wouldn't think, in a box maybe."
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here