KOROIT'S success is the envy of its Hampden league rivals. JUSTINE McCULLAGH-BEASY finds out if the club can win seven flags in a row.
FORTY-six players form Koroit's premiership dynasty.
Welcoming more teammates into the illustrious club will inspire the Hampden league juggernaut as it strives for a seventh consecutive flag next season.
"I guess after you win one, your motivation is there for someone else," eight-time premiership Saint Ben Goodall said.
"It's always been really nice to see those first-time premiership players."
Koroit's premiership stretch - from 2014 and counting - is the best in league history.
The Saints tied with Warrnambool's 1980s four-in-a-row in 2017 and surpassed it last year.
Goodall, 35, believes "success breeds success" and is confident the red, white and black can maintain its lofty standards.
The Maskell medallist, a match-winning midfielder with an accurate left-boot kick, arrived at Victoria Park in 2001 and played finals every season up until his retirement following the Saints' 2018 premiership.
"I reckon there is still plenty of improvement in the group," Goodall, who was the club's runner during this year's finals series, said.
"They get what they deserve all these boys. Gee they work hard and they push each other along.
"That motivation is a big thing - they are really good at making it about someone else.
"There will be someone who missed out this year and then it becomes about them next year.
"They are well aware of the fact one day it will come to an end but also you've got to cash in while you've got the opportunity."
Koroit's premiership list from 2014 to 2019 is littered with stories.
An emotional Ethyn Zimmer, after winning a best on ground medal in 2015, just wanted to share the moment with his dad Phillip who was recovering from a quadruple bypass.
Willem Drew was 18 and a three-time premiership player when Port Adelaide drafted him fresh from a best-afield performance in the 2016 edition.
Brothers Joe and Chris McLaren, Brett and Daniel Harrington, Ben and Sam Dobson, Ethyn and Tauryn Zimmer, Marcus and Michael Darmody and Todd McLean and Alex Pulling all played in flags together.
Another set of brothers - Jesse White (2014) and Todd White (2018-19) - featured in different years.
Taylor Mulraney turned up in 2014 and played in five flags in five seasons before moving to South Barwon this year.
"I sort of just walked into it, it was a bit of luck," he said.
"I am pretty rapt with it and to be involved with a lot of great people and a great club.
"It didn't sink in until this year playing away. Not playing finals (at South Barwon) was a bit disappointing but to see the (Koroit) boys win their sixth was unreal."
Mulraney, who carried a shoulder injury into his last appearance for Koroit in 2018, arrived at Koroit via Horsham and District league club Edenhope-Apsley.
The rise in standard came as a shock.
"My first year I was lucky to play. I came from Edenhope thinking you just chase the footy around and that's how you get touches," he said.
"But there's a lot more to footy than just chasing the pigskin around.
"'Wiggsy' (coach Adam Dowie) developed my footy a lot and he threw me in a lot of positions and I grew from there."
Tom Lynch was a promising backman when, aged just 20, he became a premiership player in 2015.
A spate of serious foot injuries then threatened his playing career, sidelining him for almost four seasons.
He made his senior comeback in July and finished his return campaign with a reserves flag in September.
Lynch, now 24, said adding a second senior premiership to his tally was driving him.
"I am really keen to get back into it and do a proper pre-season and see what happens," he said.
Lynch said embracing his family and friends post-game remained a strong memory from the 2015 decider.
"It was a little bit emotional but it was just over-riding happiness, you just sort of can't believe it's happened," he said.
"For me it means everything because I played all my junior footy for Koroit and have been there my whole life."
Goodall knows each of these tales holds special significance.
He conceded the Saints were "on their knees and pretty close to not having a club" just before he arrived in the early 2000s.
"In a way I probably feel quite lucky. I think I came along at a pretty good time," Goodall said.
"No doubt there was some great people who worked really hard to turn it around and that started just before I started.
"I was lucky enough to play finals every year and then to get those premierships at the end I feel quite lucky.
"I guess we were lucky enough to have a lot of players who played for a long time throughout that period as well who were able to always guide the next tier through.
"I know Jason Mifsud had a big impact on how the club changed and Chris McLaren is probably someone who has been there from the start as well and we are lucky he is still involved now.
"He's always put the club first and he's had a big influence on the group that is going through now."
The only two players to feature in all six flags in a row - defender Dallas Mooney and ruckman Jeremy Hausler - are highly regarded too.
"They've probably been the two most important players throughout them all in my opinion," Goodall said.
"Those two have become really good players throughout that time as well.
"They're elite. They're probably the best ruckman and best half-back flanker in the comp now."
None of Koroit's six in a row have come easily.
It eked out a 16-point win against Warrnambool in 2014 and recorded the biggest win of the batch a year later when they steamrolled the Blues by 41 points.
They scored a 21-point win over Port Fairy in 2017, an 11-point victory against Camperdown in 2018 and held on by three points against North Warrnambool Eagles this year.
The most see-sawing battle came against the Eagles in 2016.
The Eagles, in their first decider, kicked seven goals to two in the first quarter and still held a 20-point lead at the main break.
What happened next epitomised the Saints and they went on to record a 33-point win.
"We should not have won that one. We had nothing in the first half and they sort of didn't come out after half-time," Mulraney said.
"I think we just found a way to win. We knew what the taste of it was and everyone played for one another and it was just a really united club."
Goodall believes Koroit has the right age demographic to add to its silverware.
"I don't know whether there would be anyone over 30," he said.
"They will have a lot of players coming into their prime now."
Both Mulraney and Lynch named Goodall as one of the Saints' driving forces of their success.
The retired Damian O'Connor and former captain Isaac Templeton were also mentioned.
"Ben Goodall in the first couple was unbelievable. I reckon in the first one he had 46 touches and about 42 of them were kicks or something ridiculous," Mulraney said.
"'Boxhead' (O'Connor) is just resilient, he just kept going all the time, just never stopped and 'Tempy' (Isaac Templeton) was probably the main driver of the group."
Next year Koroit will need others to take on that mantle.
Lynch is hoping to be part of the Saints' future success.
One day he'd love to play in a flag alongside his good friends Jayden Whitehead and Blair McCutcheon.
Whitehead featured in the 2016 grand final and McCutcheon is a triple premiership player (2014, '17 and '18).
"I haven't played one with either of them but one day hopefully," Lynch said.
As Goodall said: there's always motivation at Koroit to win for someone else.
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