EAST POINT’S first season as a combined entity in 2001 just happened to coincide with Jason Delaney’s first year in senior footy. The Golden Point junior was still eligible to play under-18s at the time.
Today Delaney will become the first footballer to play 150 senior games for the merged club when the Red Lion Kangaroos take on Ballarat at Simonds Park, Alfredton.
The 28-year-old, who works at Conroy’s Paint Place, has had to wait a while to reach the milestone.
The original plan was to play the 150th in the final round of last season, when then teammate Luke Faull played his 100th for the club.
“I missed the week before with a shoulder injury so I’ve had to wait eight months to play my 150th,” Delaney says.
“It has been a privilege, though, to play 150 games for the club.
“I was the first player to play 100 senior games following the merger.”
Delaney’s first senior game was against Melton; his opponent on the day the reigning Henderson Medalist Darren Stanley.
It didn’t get any easier for game two, matched up on Sunbury’s Mark Power.
“In that first year we probably only won one or two games,” Delaney recalls.
East Point’s fortunes have improved since then even if the premiership has eluded the Kangaroos.
Only one of Delaney’s teammates today was at the club in those early years: ruckman Paul Koderenko, who is returning after a couple of seasons away.
Another of Delaney’s old teammates, Shane Hutchinson, will be coaching the opposition, though.
“’Hutchy’ was an assistant coach and one of the guys who helped me out when I started,” Delaney said. “He was a mentor of mine so it’s good to be playing it (the 150th) against him.”