Leitchville-Gunbower’s Lee Pollock played his 250th game last weekend - and it was a ripping match.LUKE MCMANUS August 23, 2014 3:04am
In 249 games, Leitchville-Gunbower’s Lee Pollock had never experienced anything like last weekend’s qualifying final against Lockington-Bamawm United.
Trailing by four goals with less than five minutes remaining on the clock, Pollock’s Bombers stormed home to square the ledger and force the qualifying final into extra time.
The Bombers then kicked the only goal of added time to seal the win and a semi-final berth with North Bendigo tomorrow.
‘Leeroy’ stood at centre half-back, triumphant and relieved in game 250.
‘‘It was the second biggest game I’ve played in,’’ Pollock said, rating last year’s premiership win with Wakool slightly higher.
‘‘It was probably the equivalent to the flag win, just with what happened and the way it happened.
‘‘To come away with the win was a shock. I knew we were a chance but to peg them back with not much time left was unbelievable.’’
Pollock, who played junior football with Leitchville-Gunbower, is just one of two players left standing from the Bombers’ 2007 Central Murray Football League final series.
Since the Bombers’ semi-final loss to Tyntender that year, Pollock switched clubs five times to don a jumper at Kerang, St Arnaud, Koondrook-Barham and Wakool.
Back-to-back grand final losses with Kerang (2008 and 2009), a senior best and fairest award with St Arnaud (2010) and a premiership with Wakool have all been added to Pollock’s feats.
‘‘(The premiership) was pretty special,’’ Pollock said.
‘‘After playing 13 years of senior footy, it was a just a relief to finally win one.
‘‘People say it’s pretty hard to make one, to win one is even harder.
‘‘There are blokes that play a lot of footy and don’t even get an opportunity.
‘‘I’m pretty lucky in that respect.’’
Pollock’s return to Leitchville-Gunbower this season shored up a young Bombers’ outfit with valuable experience.
Next to the likes of coach Marty Shadbolt, Matt Hawken, Jake Williams and reigning best-and-fairest winner Russell Lee, Pollock’s inclusion has added another dimension to a side aiming for more HDFL finals success tomorrow.
‘‘I always knew I’d get back home,’’ the Leitchville resident said.
‘‘I have a young family so it makes life a bit easier, travelling wise.
‘‘It’s also great to come back and have some success. When I was at the club from 2003 to 2007, I played in only two finals matches, but (tomorrow) will make it two finals matches in one season.
‘‘It has made this season even more enjoyable.’’
Leitchville-Gunbower can progress through to its first HDFL grand final with a win over North Bendigo at White Hills’ Scott St Oval.
The Bombers will have a challenging afternoon with the well-rested and imposing Bulldogs on the end of a 15-game winning streak.
Despite the odds and without utility Brad Perry, who suffered a hamstring injury last weekend, Pollock believed a second-consecutive upset win was possible.
‘‘They’ve obviously been the benchmark team this season, but I still think anyone in top four can win on their day,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ll miss Brad (Perry) through injury, but that gives an opportunity for someone else to step up which many of our younger blokes have this season.
‘‘Hopefully we can jump out of the blocks and make a good start, then nullify a few of their better players to give us a good shot at making the grand final.’’
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