Isaac, you’ve had a decorated footy career, but I find it interesting that you rated the 2014 premiership win with Koroit over Warrnambool as your sporting highlight. The 2014 flag is one of five premierships you have played in with the Saints. Why did you pick the 2014 as your highlight?
It’s because we were the underdogs against Warrnambool. They thrashed us two weeks before in the second semi-final. No one gave us a chance on grand final day, and then we came out and beat them by 16 points in the game that counts.
The win was a reward for all the hard work that had been put in by everyone at the club.
Isaac, it looks like you’ll play your first game for the season this Saturday against Portland after recovering from injury. What was the extent of your injury?
I suffered with hamstring problems to my right leg last year and the problem would not improve.
I could not run without being in sereve pain, so I haven’t played so far this season. The doctors told me the only way it would improve was with rest, so I decided not the play until it was right.
I could not run or kick a footy, so I’ve rested it and it’s improved but it’s taken a long time.
I’ve done a lot of Pilates, boxing and working out in the gym, and doing my job cutting wood has also kept me fit.
I’ve been at footy training all this season, but I never joined with the other players doing the drills. I’ve just been doing my own thing.
It’s only been the last month or so that I’ve joined in the drill sessions, where I’ve been trying to improve my touch and running.
I think playing this Saturday against Portland should help my fitness base as there are only six games to prepare for the finals.
Koroit had a resounding victory over Port Fairy last Saturday. What’s your spin on that result?
It was a good win, but we’re not getting too carried away.
Our coach Chris McLaren has everyone focused on taking it one game at a time. We’re not getting in front of ourselves.
We all know footy is a funny game and anything can happen.
We’ve got Portland this Saturday and we understand we must win again.
It’s a very even season so you must stay focused.
Isaac, apart from your five premership victories with Koroit, your own personal achievements on the ground are quite remarkable. Can you detail them for us?
I’ve won two Maskell Medals, the first in 2014, the other 2015 and I’ve won three best and fairest awards with Koroit.
I’ve been runner-up on three occasions and been third twice.
That’s a pretty impressive record. What did you think of your two Maskell Medal wins?
I’ve been lucky to have won the awards because I’ve played in sides with some really top players.
That has made me a better player.
Isaac, when did you start playing at Koroit?
It was in 2007. I was working as a builder and I was always talking footy with Simon and Adam O’Keefe at various building sites.
I knew Shane Threlfall who was assistant coach at Koroit well.
I had been playing with Old Collegians so I decided to have a crack at the Hampden league again, this time with Koroit.
I played about 15 senior games with South Warrnambool in 2003 and 2004.
We won the the flag in 2007 when Andrew Foster coached us and then got beat in 2008 under Joe McLaren.
Ben Goodall and Simon O’Keefe went over to Perth for 2008, so that never helped our chances.
We won the flag in 2009 under Joe, which was a great result for him as he’s been a stalwart of the club.
The club made the finals in 2010.
We did the same again in 2011, this time under Chris McLaren.
I had a year playing with St Mary’s in the Geelong Football League in 2012.
What is your opinion regarding the two competitons – the Hampden league and footy in Geelong?
The Geelong league is stronger, but I reckon that’s got to do with the bottom 10 players in each club.
I would say that the Geelong league has a bit more depth than the Hampden league does.
The top players in both competitions are very good.
I came back to Koroit for the 2013 season and we lost the grand final in Adam Dowie’s first year as coach, before winning the flag in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – all under Dowie.
The obvious question which is always asked is why was Dowie such a great coach. What is your reason why he’s been so good?
His record speaks for itself – six Hampden League premierships at three different clubs.
He’s very committed and focused on achieving success. I think it’s amazing to see how he can manage time between family, teaching at school and coaching footy players. He is truly a remarkable person.
You’ve seen some very good players in your time at Koroit. Who would the best be?
Hard to rate as there have been so many good players at the club.
I would hate to individualise any players as I would leave other good players out.
I can rate players from other sides better.
I always had a big opinion of players like Sam Chapman, Paul Looney and Josh Walters.
Isaac, you mentioned part of your fitness program relates to cutting wood. What’s that about?
Tim Carter and I have a wood business which we run over the winter months
We go up around Edenhope and chop and splinter wood and then deliver it to places from Millicent to Geelong and anywhere in between.
It keeps us busy and fit. It’s hard, physical work, but I really enjoy it.