Geelong VFL captain Tim McGrath steps out for Grovedale on Saturday
Monday, June 23
ON Saturday, a bloke named `Bluey' had Burdoo Reserve buzzing.
The records were sold out before the first bounce, the canteen stock was virtually cleared out by half-time and the two blokes selling raffle tickets took a lot longer than usual to do a lap of the oval.
When `Bluey' kicked the first of his two goals, four minutes into the third term, there were more cheers and toots from car horns tooting than for any of Grovedale's other seven goals for the day.
Tim McGrath pulled on the Grovedale jumper for the first time on Saturday because the Geelong VFL side which he captains had the bye.
Having not yet fully recovered from pre-season ankle surgery, the man who played 226 AFL matches was keen to get some mileage in his legs.
In the end he did a bit more than that. Grovedale went down by almost 10 goals but McGrath gave his all, and those at the match saw first hand why he was known as one of the AFL's most admired defenders.
When one of his Grovedale teammates received a late bump, McGrath was the first to approach culprit Luke Carr and let him know what he thought about it.
Afterwards, with his foot firmly entrenched in a bucket of ice post-match, McGrath said it was a great feeling to play his first four-quarter game of the year.
``I'm a bit sore now being my first full game for the year but just to be able to play a full game was good,'' he said.
``We were competitive for three quarters, just in that third quarter we dropped off a bit and it cost us.''
McGrath kicked two goals, had time at both ends of the ground, but spent most of his time in the midfield.
``I said to (coach) Marty (Christensen) I'll play wherever, they're doing me a favour and I was happy to play in a role which best suited the team,'' he said.