After returning to Echuca United and overcoming a back injury, Guy Campbell's long year has been well worth it with the Eagles winning their first senior premiership.By Damen Francis
Nothing was standing in the way of Guy Campbell’s bid for a premiership with the club closest to his heart.
Formed in 1994 with the merger of Echuca South and Echuca East football clubs, Echuca United was just four years old when the future Victoria Country captain played his first senior game there.
Campbell, 30, returned to the Murray Football League club this season, after five years in the Goulburn Valley Football League with Echuca and Rochester, and now has a flag to show for the decision.
Not that it was as simple as turning up and dominating the competition.
Pre-season back surgery meant the 196
But it was worth it.
‘‘It’s been a long year,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked. I had reasonably serious back surgery and I rushed to get back a bit, because it’s hard to keep blokes out of the team when they’ve got their spot.
‘‘It’s been endless exercises, pilates and recovery, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t have done to be part of this.’’
Campbell booted four goals on his return — the same number he tallied in Saturday’s grand final — and less than a month later he was captaining Victoria Country for the third straight year.
The MFL flag wasn’t his first taste of premiership success — he won a GVFL flag with Echuca in 2002 and one with Sydney Swans’ reserves team during his year on the AFL club’s rookie list in 2005 — but he didn’t hesitate to put this one at the top of the list.
‘‘It’s always been in the back of my mind and (going back to United) was always going to happen when I was ready,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘(Coach) Scott (Beattie) has put a power of work in and he’s above his years coaching-wise.
‘‘To form a group and keep it strong the way he has was a great effort.’’
Campbell was non-committal about his future, but said he would be having ‘‘a damn good rest’’.
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