Cousins Jarrod and Rohan Best, who formerly played together for Shepparton Swans, have both won premierships in their last games of football.By Damen Francis
Shepparton-raised cousins Jarrod and Rohan Best may not have managed to play one more football season together, but there was a beautiful symmetry to the way their respective careers came to a close.
Both players, one week apart, kicked a goal with the final kick of a winning grand final and promptly retired.
While Rohan won his second Southern Football League premiership at St Paul’s-East Bentleigh, Jarrod helped Hillside win the Essendon District Football League senior division two flag.
The pair are temporarily living together, but have not played together since 1999, when they were teammates at Goulburn Valley Football League club Shepparton Swans.
‘‘We’re pretty close and we’ve always been meaning to have that one last year together, but it never quite happened,’’ Rohan said.
‘‘I left Shepp when I was young and played at Tatura for a while before moving to Melbourne.
‘‘I’ve been (at St Paul’s) for seven years and played close to 100 games.
‘‘Knowing it was my last game was a good feeling as well.’’
Rohan suffered an ankle injury in round 12 and only returned in time for the second semi-final.
Jarrod was there to watch as his cousin celebrated in almost identical fashion to him the week before.
At 34, both players admitted the time was right to call it a day.
‘‘I’ve been playing senior footy for more than 15 years and the body has just packed it in,’’ Jarrod said.
‘‘Rohan had a sore calf and I had a sore quad, so we both limped to the end a little bit.
‘‘I have a three-year-old daughter, Amelie, so I might take 12 months off and spend some time with her.’’
Jarrod spent the last five seasons at Picola District Football League south east club Shepparton East, during which time his brother, Hayden, coached the Eagles to two flags.
When Hayden returned to the Swans this season, Jarrod could no longer justify travelling back from Melbourne every week and his snap decision to join Hillside proved a good one.
‘‘Playing under Hayden was my main reason and I got sick of the travel,’’ he said.
‘‘There was a team just around the corner and I didn’t know anyone, but it was a lower league and I heard they were a chance to win a flag, so I went for it.’’
Jarrod said he hoped to be remembered as a Swans player, having played 150 senior games at the club.
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