The Harkness family has deep ties in Nirranda’s history books and Brayden Harkness could add himself to one of the pages with a grand final victory on Saturday.
The versatile defender, who returned to the south-west from Melbourne last year to start a family, said the chance to play in the decider meant a lot to him because of his family ties.
“My Dad (Jake) is president and played 300-odd games and my Pop (Bruce) is the number one ticket-holder and is basically a part of the furniture here,” the 28-year-old said.
“Growing up locally and playing all my junior football, when wins were fairly far between, it makes it even more rewarding to come back and have the club in a really good position to be able to win games of footy and hopefully premierships.
“If we do manage to get up and win it will be good to have my five-week-old son Hugo down at Reid and have four generations of Harkness boys present and experience that together.”
It makes it even more rewarding to come back and have the club in a really good position...Brayden Harkness on returning to Nirranda
Harkness, who is joint assistant coach with Isaac Templeton and Travis Graham under Shane Threlfall and Shane Quick, said he has enjoyed his time patrolling the Blues’ defence.
“I have been playing back line for most of my senior career and I found that it has been the best fit for my skill set,” he said.
“I love it and I’ve got a good group of boys around me at that end of the ground so it has been good to stick close with those guys and try and keep the opposition’s best players at bay.”
A career in finance meant Harkness was drawn to Melbourne, missing the Blues’ drought-breaking premiership in 2016.
But his time in the state’s capital city wasn’t without success. He was part of Wantirna South’s own drought-breaking Eastern Football League division three premiership side in 2014.
Harkness, who has played 10 seasons at Nirranda as a junior and senior player, said he was comfortable again in navy blue.
“It’s been fantastic here and I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome,” the left-footer said.
“I fit in pretty seamlessly with the boys and they have made me feel welcome and a part of the club again.”