SIMON Morris recounts his early days at Cobden with a sense of pride which still resonates today – almost three decades after he arrived as a fresh-faced 12-year-old.
The Bombers’ favourite son, who will celebrate his 400th Hampden league game on Saturday, said his love for the club encouraged him to keeping lacing up his boots.
“I think for me, it started as a young fella,” Morris said.
“My greatest memory growing up was playing juniors with my mates. Our under 18 year, we had a really close group of mates and had a really good year.
“I think we made the semi-final and Mark Sullivan was our coach.
“He was a loyal club person and he instilled club loyalty, playing for your mates, how important the club is and being a good part of the community. Those are the values I think Cobden is renowned for.”
Morris, 41, said that camaraderie came to the fore when he lost his Jancourt East house to a fire on preliminary final day in 2008.
The dairy farmer lives in the rebuilt house with his wife Steffie.
“The club had a fundraiser for me, it was pretty amazing,” he said.
“It was a hot, windy day and everyone knew about it before the game but Wayne Walsh decided not to tell me because there was nothing I could do and I was glad in the end. My mum was at home because she was milking that night and dad was at the footy.
“It was pretty traumatic for her.”
Morris will run out in the reserves on Saturday, giving him an even 200-game split between seniors and seconds.
The mobile ruckman was a member of the Bombers’ 1997 senior premiership team and coached their 2014 reserves flag.