A decorated Wangaratta footballer has rediscovered his competitive edge - on the bowling green.
Ovens and Murray representative defender Craig Fruend's impressive career with Wangaratta Rovers and Ovens and King outfit North Wangaratta spanned 18 years and included a short stint as a coach.
He hung up the boots in 2006, but he's found his calling as a lawn bowler.
Craig is in the unique position of getting to play alongside his wife, Jodie, and son, Ethan, every weekend in Wangaratta's A1 pennant side.
Jodie has been bowling around 12 years after being introduced to the sport by her father to take her mind off her cancer diagnosis.
Ethan was constantly being bugged by his mother to give it a go as well and he finally made the move last year after a serious football injury.
Craig soon found himself watching Jodie and Ethan every week and didn't want to miss out.
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"I did the barefoot bowls for quite a few years when the wife used to play at Ovens (Bowls Club) in Wangaratta and that was probably about 12 years ago," Craig said.
"I used to go down for the occasional roll, but it was only when Ethan was down there last September that I got the bug and started practicing myself."
It didn't take Craig long to prove himself, earning selection in Wangaratta's top grade on his pennant debut a fortnight ago against Kiewa.
"I think it was probably more good luck than good management," he laughed.
"I'm pretty keen, so they're doing the right thing by me.
"I'm pretty chuffed to be playing in the top side, I'm probably not up to it, but they've given me a chance and it's up to me now.
"I finished playing footy in 2006 and I've got a pretty crook back, so I sort of can't do any other sports.
"I used to go down for a hit of tennis occasionally with the young fella, but I couldn't play competition because my back is unreliable and could go on me.
"I found with bowls, because it's pretty subtle movements, it's actually done my back the world of good."
Craig said his motivation was to get up to the same level as Jodie and Ethan as quickly as he could, otherwise he'd never get to see them play.
"I've had a fair crack at it the last 12 months and have been going down two or three times a week practicing," he said.
"I decided to have a crack at it to get myself up to that level so I could play with them. Now I'm there, I've just got to keep practicing and make sure I stay there.
"My son is 17 and you never know what he's going to do over the next couple of years, so it could be my only chance over the next couple of years to play sport with him.
"I don't think he'll change because he's taken to it like a duck to water, but whether he moves away with work or what he does after school is up to him.
"It's not the be all and end all, but if I decide I want to do something, I like to do it properly."
At this stage, selectors have Craig, Jodie and Ethan all playing in different rinks for Wangaratta.
"You know what families are like, we'd probably all start arguing if we were in the same one," Craig laughed.
"We're all going to the same place which is a good thing.
"It's really good fun and we talk about what's going on at the end of the day.
"It was probably just good getting back to that club atmosphere again.
"I'd been involved with footy so long and did nothing in between.
"They're a good bunch of people down there and it was good getting back into that match competitiveness and the club atmosphere.
"I don't think the A1 has ever won a pennant for Wangaratta, so it would be nice to get up there and give it a chance."
Bowls has played a hugely important role in Jodie's life and she's glad she now gets to share that with her family.
"My father got me into it as a rehabilitation. I suffered from cancer when I was in my 30s and he thought it would be a good thing to take my mind off it," she said.
"It was good for that reason and it's really addictive, you just want to get better at it."
Jodie takes great pride in getting to represent the club alongside her "two boys".
"Ethan has played soccer and tennis and tried football, but he snapped his tibia and fibula in his leg and had screws put in," Jodie said.
"Craig played so many games of football and didn't get injured and I think poor Ethan played three and was out.
"I said to him 'why don't you try lawn bowls?' and he did and he's been like a fish to water, he's been brilliant.
"It's Craig's first year of pennant and he's actually quite annoying. Everything he tries he's good at straight away (laughs).
"I've been bowling all this time and he comes along (laughs), he's bowling well.
"He wanted the chance to be able to play with Ethan."
Despite being one of the youngest bowlers in the Ovens and Murray, Ethan said he never feels like he doesn't belong.
"I don't feel out of place, all the men and ladies down there are really nice and you can have a genuine chat to them," Ethan said.
"It's a really diverse sport, which I found personally appealing.
"It's a fantastic team sport and you can go far with it or you don't have to if you don't want to.
"I played last year. I started in the fours and made my way to threes and now I'm in the ones."
Ethan started the season in style by getting to line up alongside his father in the Ovens and Murray representative side against Albury and District - playing his part in the region's one-shot victory to retain the Jack Beck Shield at Holbrook.
"It was a fantastic honour and a great experience," he said.
"It was really good to get out there with those level of players."
Wangaratta is currently on top of the A1 pennant ladder and travels to take on Corowa Civic in round three on Saturday.