K rock Football

Saker’s rewarding decision

Torquay defender James Saker in action in the first semi-final win over Anglesea. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

AN OPPORTUNITY to play again with some close mates could provide James Saker with the ultimate reward.

Faced with several playing options when work brought him to Melbourne from the Albury-Wodonga region, the key defender chose to link-up with former Werribee teammates Dom Gleeson and Sam Wormald at Torquay.

“I moved for work in mid-March, so it’s pretty late to be looking around for a footy club,” Saker said.

“I just wanted to play somewhere where I knew peoples, my wife knew some people and was convenient.

‘The opportunity to play under Dom and with a couple of really good mates made it a pretty simple decision.

“We joked around about it for 4-5 years, never thinking it would happen.”

BFL GRAND FINAL: BY THE NUMBERS

On Saturday, Saker will run out alongside Gleeson and Wormald as the Tigers clash with Barwon Heads in a BFL Grand Final for the first time since the competition was formed in 1971.

Gleeson and Wormald are looking to add a premiership medal to the one they claimed in 2017, while Saker is chasing his first senior premiership.

After departing Werribee at the end of 2011, he joined Ovens and Murray club Lavington, where he spent six years as coach.

However, despite reaching finals each year of his tenure, the Panthers were unable to lift the premiership cup.

“We lost two (grand finals) and lost two agonising prelims,” Saker said.

“I’ve been at the pointy end a lot, learnt a lot from those experiences, and keen now to go one step further.

“It would be very nice.”

Originally from Benalla, Saker, who played TAC Cup with the Murray Bushrangers before his stints at Werribee and Lavington, has been “pleasantly surprised” with the standard of the BFL.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I was actually quite nervous the first few games because I didn’t know how it all worked.

“I think there’s easily 4-6 guys that would be playing Ovens and Murray seniors out of the Torquay side. And most teams have some very good top-end players.

“I don’t think there’s a huge drop off across the board; it’s very consistent. I know at Torquay we’ve got great depth.”

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