Michael Foster rates Saturday’s triumph as a highlight of a glittering career.
And it’s no surprise given his connection to the club he loves.
Foster played his early football with the Crows before moving into the North Ballarat Rebels system. After some VFL appearances for the Roosters, he returned to Beaufort for a campaign in 2007. And following another stint away – which included a breakthrough flag at Lake Wendouree – Foster was back at the start of 2014.
Since then, he has been part of the backbone that has helped Beaufort grow into the side that claimed the ultimate success at the weekend.
“I always said to the club that I’d come back here and give it another shot once we bring through a few more juniors,” Foster said.
“I said I’d be happy to make the trip up from Melbourne to do whatever I can to help out the club because it’s a club that all my family has been part of, we’ve got life members with my grandparents as well.
“It’s just bloody great. It’s unreal. It’s a dream come true.”
There had been some doubts around Foster being right to take his place in the senior team moments after he suffered a heavy collision in the preliminary final win over Waubra. But following some dental work in Melbourne, the courageous club skipper was locked in as a certain starter for the grand final showdown with Buninyong.
“I wasn’t going to miss this week – no way – not after what we’ve built on the last few years of being here. I was never going to miss the opportunity this year,” Foster said out on the ground after the final siren.
On the big stage on Saturday, Foster played one of his best games for the season. He set the tone early with an influential first quarter and bobbed up time and time again to be clearly one of the Crows’ best contributors.
Foster said there was a calmer feeling within the group compared to last year’s grand final appearance against Hepburn.
“16 of the players were here last year and it was more excitement than the unknown this year,” Foster said.
“And we’ve got a great coach in Rohan Brown and such great support in all the Beaufort people as well. It’s always nice to have that behind you when you’re coming into a grand final.
“It stung a bit last year, but it’s nice to get one back this year.”
Foster is one of the Beaufort senior players that has already signed on for next season, where he will look to lead the club to back-to-back flags.
The Crows last achieved that feat in seasons 1995 and 1996.