THE 2020 Hampden league semi-finals were pencilled in this weekend. But with the coronavirus pandemic wiping out the entire season, The Standard has decided to take a walk down memory lane instead.
RORY Taggert hadn't played a game since fracturing his leg in June.
But the boom recruit, in his first Hampden league season, was picked for North Warrnambool Eagles' 2016 second semi-final against reigning premier Koroit at Gardens Oval.
He did not let co-coaches Graeme Twaddle and Brendan Murfett down, kicking two goals and providing on-field leadership as the Eagles advanced to their first grand final.
"It was Rory's first game back in after some time off with his broken leg and he was significant, not just for his football ability but his leadership out on the ground was invaluable," Twaddle said.
"It was a pretty good team effort, we'd didn't have too many passengers on the day.
"We had a lot of blokes who contributed and played their roles really well."
Twaddle, now living in the South Australian coastal town of Whyalla and working for the Clontarf Academy, remembers the Eagles' fans jubilation after the 12.7 (79) to 10.6 (66) win.
"It was my birthday, the 10th of September, it was a good present," he recalled.
"Looking at the people who were at that game, people were overwhelmed with emotion.
"It was a really exciting time for the club and I just remember you couldn't fit in the club rooms."
Twaddle said the game "went right down-to-the-wire", leaving many nervous on the sidelines.
"It wasn't until well into time-on we thought we'd won it," he said.
"If I remember correctly, Rory tapped one and it was deemed as an open hand.
"That would've put us in front enough that we weren't going to be caught but that was deemed a throw.
"I remember being pretty anxious in that last two or three minutes."
Dylan Parish kicked four goals in the victory on his way to winning the Eagles' best and fairest, goal sneak Jarryd Lewis was best-on-ground and forward Josh Corbett, who now plays for AFL club Gold Coast, was part of the team.
The Eagles went down to Koroit two weeks later in the grand final and Twaddle's "memories of that year always go to the grand final and the disappointment".
"It's something I think of regularly," he said, adding he took responsibility.
But, four years on, he remains proud of his players "who all made massive sacrifices throughout the year".
"Their commitment and discipline around training and games was outstanding," he said.
"They were a very resilient bunch and focused on achieving success and we were all very well supported by the tremendous committee and supporters.
"Unfortunately we didn't go on to experience the ultimate success which is something I think about regularly.
"The season had incredible highs but grand final loss for me overshadows it all.
"I am sure that loss will motivate many remaining players to go that one step further."