INJURY twice threatened to derail Luke Tebble’s first senior grand final experience.
Limping off the field in the fourth quarter of Kolora-Noorat's grand final triumph over Old Collegians, there was talk of substituting the hard running defender from the game.
Until Tebble put his foot down.
“I said ‘I’m not going to finish my first senior grand final with an orange vest on’,” he laughed.
“I just thought I’d push through it. It got to the stage where whenever I’d go to change directions, I’d just cramp.
“Big Ben Fraser came off, and I didn’t give Finny (coach Danny Finn) the option. I had the chance to go forward – that’s where I started my career – so I grabbed that opportunity to go down to the goalsquare.”
The university student was at his damaging best across half-back in the first half, clunking intercept marks to thwart several Old Collegians attacking moves.
He was “lost for words” after the match.
“The last 30-odd weeks, it’s all worth it,” Tebble said.
“The travel, the training. You don’t care what happens now, you’re just so happy. It’s just amazing.
“I love it. I love this club – I’d never leave it.”
Fellow defender Jake Richardson dedicated the victory to the wider south-west communities of Noorat, Terang and Mortlake.
“The community that we’ve got, this means so much to them. You’ve got the whole farming community and everybody will get out to Noorat over the next bit and it’ll be ridiculous,” he said.
“We've got the support from all of those communities and we don’t know what to do right now.”
Richardson was tasked with shutting down dangerous Old Collegians forward Jimmy Crawford for the majority of the contest.
“If you give Jimmy any space, he’s going to chop you up,” the 24-year-old said.
“We knew they’d look to use him the majority of the time. They were trying to swing him to the bench and to sneak him back on.
“Josh Reichman had a few plans so we had to be wary. Old Collegians are an awesome team and unfortunately they’ve gone two seasons on top of the ladder (without a premiership).
“Hopefully they’ll stick together and we’ll be back here next year.”