FOR a bloke who missed 18 months of footy, Robbie Gregg is enjoying a good season.
For a bloke who only trains one night a week because of shift work, the North Warrnambool Eagles forward’s season is even better.
And there’s one prize that would make it the best season — a premiership.
Gregg, who was part of South Warrnambool’s 2006 premiership and Lake Wendouree’s 2010 Ballarat Football League flag, is relishing being back on the field.
He spent 18 months working 28 days on, nine off in remote Queensland on a gas pipeline that prevented him from playing footy.
“I was in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “You couldn’t do any exercise.
“I’d played footy all my life since under 13s and when I had that 18 months off it hit home I really missed it,” Gregg said.
A move back to the south-west to raise a young family opened up the possibility of a comeback, which he jumped at.
Gregg has given the Eagles added firepower, kicking 36 goals, including five in last week’s elimination final win over Camperdown.
His output has been invaluable. He would like to have done more but his shift work at Port Fairy’s GlaxoSmithKline plant has restricted training to one night a week.
“I had an OK start to the year but the middle was a bit patchy,” Gregg said.
“I put it down to not being able to train all the time. It’s hard to pinpoint what happened in the middle. It’s been hard to come back. I’ve found it a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
His ability to snap a freakish goal remains and he just seems to have so much time when he gets the ball. He is quick off the mark and strong overhead — a tough match-up for opposition defences.
“I was going to each game just wanting to kick two or three goals and setting up two or three goals, whether it be a direct assist or some sort of scoring assist. That adds up to six goals. That, to me, is a good game.”
Gregg said the Eagles forwards were growing in confidence.
“We are trying to build that unselfishness around the group and it’s probably been really effective. We’ve got four guys with more than 35 goals each.”
In recent weeks coach David Haynes has been using Gregg in the goal square, taking himself further up the ground.
It is a role he can expect again tomorrow against last year’s grand finalist Cobden in the cut-throat first semi-final at Koroit.
Gregg said that while the Eagles hadn’t beaten Cobden, the inclusion of ruckman Jordan Dillon, who missed both matches between the sides, could be critical.