JACOB Lacy is proof that Old Collegians’ dark days in 2013 had a silver lining.
The teenage utility credits the opportunities he received during the winless campaign as being instrumental in his development as a footballer.
The Warriors failed to win a match, but the performances of Lacy, who was still eligible for juniors, were cause for optimism at Davidson Oval.
“It wasn’t too bad last year,” Lacy said yesterday.
“Even though we didn’t have the wins on the board, it was really good to play a lot of senior games and be able to expose myself to the higher quality.”
Fast forward 12 months and Lacy is preparing to play his first final at senior level, against Allansford at Merrivale Recreation Reserve tomorrow.
The apprentice cabinet maker, 19, has endured an up-and-down campaign but has found form since returning from a broken wrist in July.
The injury, sustained against Timboon Demons in early May, threatened to derail his season. Lacy doubted coach Daryl Beechey would recall him.
“The way we played against Dennington (the week after), I did think to myself it would be really hard to get back in,” he said.
“I talked to Beechey a couple of weeks after. I asked him, what do you want me to do? I definitely did think I wouldn’t be back in the side again.
“I tried to work hard and earn my spot. I knew I wasn’t just going to get back into the side, have it given to me. I had to work hard.”
Lacy grew up around the corner from Davidson Oval and followed St Pius X Primary School friends to Old Collegians.
He was a member of the Warriors’ under 17½ premiership-winning side last season and is keen to experience flag success again.
But to do that, they must get past the Cats tomorrow. The ledger stands at 1-1 this season and a close contest is on the cards.
“I reckon at the start of the year not many people would’ve given us a chance,” Lacy said.
“It’s more reward for effort, especially for Matt Lynch and Nathan Forth and the guys who played last year and didn’t get a win.
“This season has been based around proving everyone wrong.
“We obviously want to make it as far as we can. We’re not going to stop now, we’re going to give it a red-hot go.”