Every season, you'll hear stories of players doing everything they can to get up for a grand final.
Nick Couch’s will long be talked about by the Springbank faithful.
In the moments after the final siren on Saturday, the Tigers’ joint-coach revealed just how close he was to not taking the field against Buninyong.
Couch sustained a serious oblique injury in the early stages of Springbank’s preliminary final victory over Gordon, but backed himself to be able to perform on the big stage just six days later.
As a result, a shattered Shannon Donegan was dropped from the senior side to make way for the star onballer.
“I’ve basically torn my oblique off the bone,” Couch said as he displayed a heavily strapped stomach area under his jumper following the win on Saturday.
“I felt good in the first half and then I got done holding the ball in the third and I’d say that’s done more damage. I was sore after that.”
Couch said he had been told by doctors he needed between six and eight weeks off, but had managed to get through the game with the strapping and some other medical “assistance”.
He was put through a fitness test on Friday before declaring himself fit to play that night.
“It’s great. I just didn’t want to miss one. Yeah, I might get a medal if I was coaching, but there’s nothing better than being out on the ground playing with the boys,” Couch said in the rooms after the game.
Couch also revealed that he was the one that made the phone call to Donegan – who played 19 senior matches in 2016 – to tell him he wouldn’t be part of the team for the biggest clash of the season.
Some consolation for Donegan was the fact he was able to play in the Tigers’ reserves premiership earlier in the day. In this match, he was named as one of the team’s best in the 14-point victory over the Bombers.
Saturday’s triumph clinched a fifth senior flag for Couch, who played in two grand final wins with Terang-Mortlake, one with the North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL and the last two with the Tigers.
It was a big weekend for his family, with brothers Nathan and Mitch playing in Nirranda’s Warrnambool and District league premiership, also on Saturday afternoon.
“They were the underdogs and won by seven points,” Couch said.
“Dad came and watched me and Mum watched the boys.”
It’s great. I just didn’t want to miss one. Yeah, I might get a medal if I was coaching, but there’s nothing better than being out on the ground playing with the boys.- Springbank joint-coach Nick Couch
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