IT'S been a long wait, but Buninyong captain Jarrod Morgan has finally earned his chance on the big stage.
The 27-year-old has been deprived of a grand final - of any kind in any sport - until now.
So just reaching tomorrow's Central Highlands Football League decider against Daylesford will be a huge thrill.
"It's not just for me, but for probably 10 or 12 blokes in the side. We've only got (coach) Joe Gilbert and Mark Phelps that are left from the original side that won the flag in 2002," Morgan said.
"We've got probably 10 or so that have been playing for at least five or six years together. It's massive for all of us.
"I've played three or four preliminary finals and we left our run a bit late (last Saturday against Hepburn) but we got there in the end."
Morgan, who was emergency for the Bombers' 2003 senior grand final, said timing hadn't been his best friend in the past.
"The seniors played in three grand finals when I was in juniors. I've gone up to seniors and that first year we didn't even make the finals, but the under-18s won the grand final. So I just missed the boat," he said.
Having played almost all of his football career with Buninyong, aside from a stint away with Mt Clear in the juniors and a handful of games with the North Ballarat Roosters reserves, premiership success in a red and black jumper would be reward for plenty of hard work and dedication.
"It would mean heaps," Morgan said.
"There's been times probably early in my career when I was 21 or 22 when I thought of maybe going into the Ballarat Football League or trying the waters somewhere else, but I stayed at Buninyong because I love the club so much and loved all the blokes around the club.
"I would never even think about playing anywhere else now. To win a flag at the club I started out at and grew up at would be huge. It would be absolutely massive."
Morgan said this season, opposed to the last two where the Bombers have bowed out in the preliminary final, has somewhat of a different feel.
The Mt Clear College teacher said retaining most of the senior list from 2011, while adding a few, had helped, but believed the absence of too many serious injuries had been the most important factor in taking the next step.
"We've sort of limped into finals a bit in the last couple of years with two or three injuries, and we've just struggled to get the full team on the park," Morgan said.
"This year, we've been really, really lucky with injuries and we're full strength. Everyone right through, about 50 blokes, have just been fully committed to the cause and everyone is in the one direction.
"Especially the senior group we've got, we've kept a core nucleus pretty much the whole year of 23 or 24.
"We don't really have any standouts, but we don't have any weak spots on the ground, either. That's been our biggest strength this year, we haven't had to rely on five or six players. Everyone plays their role and that's what gets the job done."
Whatever happens tomorrow at Eureka Stadium, Morgan is adamant he will be back for many more campaigns in his beloved Buninyong number 22 jumper.
"I'd love to say that I've been at Buninyong all my life," he said.
"I live at Buninyong, teach at Mt Clear just up the road so my whole life is there and I won't be going anywhere."