Shane Kay is over the moon after returning to Tatura Park and playing a key role in Murchison winning the Kyabram District Football League grand final.By Marc McGowan
Shane Kay’s memory of Murchison’s 2012 finals campaign mirrors that of his club.
There was the exciting week-one victory over Rushworth — where Kay was one of the Grasshoppers’ best players — but then the disappointment of exiting the race a week later to Undera.
Kay reinjured his ankle in the opening quarter against the Lions and took no further part. It continued a frustrating run of hamstring and ankle injuries that robbed him of six matches.
The tight-checking defender also withdrew from Kyabram District’s interleague side because of injury.
Kay, nicknamed ‘‘Special K’’, only returned to Murchison last year after playing for Goulburn Valley Football League club Tatura in between then and his under-18 days.
His father Michael also played for the Grasshoppers.
Kay was mostly a senior player at the GVFL Bulldogs, but spent almost half the 2011 season at reserves level.
He played in a reserves flag that year, alongside the likes of Murchison teammate Steve Burns, Rushworth playing coach Jake Lloyd and Merrigum’s Christian Barnett and Josh Stammers.
He was back at Tatura Park on Saturday for his crowning glory as a player: a senior premiership for his beloved Murchison.
‘‘It’s awesome, the greatest feeling ever from playing a game,’’ Kay said.
‘‘It’s been an awesome week, so it’s great to get it over and done with.
‘‘Being back to my home ground — my old stomping ground — is really good and I played plenty of footy here and won a flag in the twos and that was awesome as well.’’
Kay had one of the grand final’s biggest roles, against Stanhope’s Bendigo Gold captain Steven Stroobants.
Stroobants entered the decider fresh from a nine-goal haul in the preliminary final and with 26 goals in total from five games this year.
He managed just one at the weekend. Kay may as well have had Stroobants on a leash, considering he barely gave him a metre all afternoon.
‘‘I was just hoping he didn’t kick more than four,’’ Kay said.
‘‘If he kicked anymore then what do you do? I just tried my best and that was it.’’
Grasshoppers coach Steve Reeves rated Kay the best player afield and said he was always the right match-up for Stroobants.
‘‘I said to ‘Spesh’: ‘Try and negate him and at some stage he is going to take a mark and kick a goal and that might happen two or three times’,’’ Reeves said.
‘‘He kicked nine last week and I don’t know how many he’s kicked during the finals series — it would be a fair few — but I said, ‘Don’t be too negative, you must run and create’, because that’s his best asset.
‘‘You saw today he ran and created really well.’’
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