When Englishman Henry Walker arrived on Australian shores late last year his aim was to win a premiership with Warrnambool and District cricket side Dennington and return home after the season.
Now, about a year later, the 22-year-old is still in Warrnambool and on the cusp of achieving his flag dream - just in a different sport.
After a chance decision to try Aussie Rules - a football code completely foreign to him - Walker has played every game for South Warrnambool's reserves outfit which heads into Saturday's Hampden league grand final against Warrnambool as favourites.
Remarkably, the cricketer has done more than make up the numbers for the Roosters, forming one-half of the league's most lethal forward combinations.
He has kicked a mammoth 53 goals for the season, sitting behind teammate Kym Eagleson (74 goals) with the most majors in the league.
A humble Walker, who will also celebrate his 23rd birthday on Saturday, was quick to play down his achievements on the football field.
"I reckon I've been pretty lucky to be fair," he told The Standard.
"I don't really know what I'm doing so I don't think the backmen know what they're supposed to expect.
"There's been a couple of funny moments from what the boys have said but I've loved every minute of it and I wouldn't change anything about it."
Walker, an accomplished soccer player back home in Carlisle, conceded he knew nothing about football before the season and had only watched one game before - the 2022 AFL grand final.
He found himself kicking a Sherrin at Friendly Societies' Park after Roosters reserves coach Leon Lourey came calling.
The side was short and needed players.
"Leon (Lourey) rang me before the week of round one," he said.
"He rang Stuey Brown who I'm living with. He said is there anyone you can bring in because we're a little bit short and I agreed to it and I'd only had a couple of training sessions under my belt before the first game and it probably showed to be fair.
"But I hope I've done my job this year and I've enjoyed every minute of it and I'm excited for the grand final."
It didn't take long for Walker to develop a liking for Australian football and in his first three games he had already snagged eight goals.
His best haul was a bag of seven against Portland in round 18 while he has kicked three or more on 12 occasions.
"I was meant to leave a couple of weeks after the cricket season finished and I was just going to play a game with the ressies just as a bit of a laugh and see what happened and then I've loved it so much I've ended up staying the full season," he said.
"Hopefully we'll win the premiership and go on the footy trip and (for) a couple of days after it (be) on the beers."
While his individual statistics would suggest otherwise, Walker said he was still learning the game and joked that almost every match he was giving away "silly fifties" for rules he wasn't aware of.
He praised the coaches at South Warrnambool for being patient with him and admitted his soccer background was evident in the way he played.
"If you've watched any of my games this year you've probably seen that I've kicked almost half my goals off the ground," he said.
"Everyone laughs as soon as I do it because I don't know if they've seen it before. Maybe it's just my little thing that I'm bringing to the game."
Walker has relished his time with the Roosters and has no regrets about staying in Australia, hinting this might not be the last time we see him pull on the Roosters jumper.
"I've loved every minute to be fair," he said.
"It's a great bunch of lads and there's a family atmosphere around the club (and I love) how much they've made me feel welcome.
"It's making me want to come back next year to play again but we'll just have to see.
"...everything about the club is amazing. The talents clearly there in all aspects of it and I highly doubt I could have gone to a better club. I say that from the bottom of my heart."
Unfortunately for Dennington Cricket Club, Walker plans to play the first couple of games of the season before doing some travelling around New South Wales and Queensland and returning to the UK in time for Christmas.
The all-rounder, who was also the Dennington's import during the 2019-20 campaign, was a key member of the Dogs' side which was defeated in last year's semi-finals.
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