Belgrave premiership reunion brings back glorious memories

Reunion of the 2012 Belgrave Football Club Premiership team. Picture: ROB CAREW

By Parker McKenzie

10 years on, Mitch Collins scoring his 100th goal of the season in round 15 of Belgrave’s 2012 premiership season left a lasting memory for those involved in the club.

“Myself and my brother Mitch, I was the player-coach and he was the star full-forward. He kicked 137 goals that year,” Ben Collins said.

“When he kicked the tonne in round 15 that was huge.”

2012 reserves coach Greg Ison recalled the same kick of the footy as the most memorable moment for him.

“Mitch kicking his 100th goal was the main one for everyone,” Ison said.

“We also got through the season undefeated, lost the second semi but ended up winning the grand final, which is the main game.”

The players, coaches and committee members had the opportunity to relive the memories of a glorious season, when Ison organised their 10-year premiership reunion at the club on Saturday 14 May.

“We’ve always done it, it’s just been a known thing,” Ison said.

“There were people there we hadn’t seen for at least eight years, half a dozen blokes or so.”

For Collins, who now lives in Noosa, it was the chance to reconnect and celebrate an unbelievable season once again.

“The people at that footy club are terrific people, genuine and hardworking. I remember Thomas Studley, who was our vice-captain at the time, said to me on Saturday night 2012 was so special because it wasn’t just about us, it was about the entire club,” Collins said.

“We really made an emphasis on not just the football team, but the entire club and paid back to volunteers who had been around that place for a long time. That was a testament on Saturday at the reunion that we had a lot of those committee people and volunteers involved.

“We went through undefeated and lost the second semi to Yarra Glen, that was a massive shock. The week after we beat Seville, before beating Yarra Glen in the grand final by 58 points.”

The premiership was Belgrave’s first since 1999, after losing in grand finals in 2000 and 2007.

For Ison, who played in those seasons and was also on the committee in 2012, the reunion was another milestone on a long road with Belgrave Football Club.

“I’ve been involved with Belgrave since 1991 as a player and then I become a senior player and under 18s coach. After 200 and something games, I became the reserve coach and assistant coach to the ones,” he said.

“After 30 years, I’ve finally decided to take a backwards step, just go to support and help out where I can. I go down on a Thursday night to help with the meals and on a Saturday if the weather is fine I’m out fishing, if it’s bad I’m watching the footy. I’ve watched most of the games this season.”

The following year in division one, the team nearly went back-to-back, losing the preliminary final by two points.

“Ben Collins and Sean Stanton came in and had a presence right from the word go. They had their rules; you wear slacks, club polo, hoodies or whatever you had to wear. It just set the tone right from the first training night, all the way through the whole season. When the coaches spoke everyone listened,” Ison said.

“It’s great to go over the stories that happened and the laughs you had again.”

Collins, who coached Belgrave for four seasons from 2012 to 2015, said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the team to success.

“Me personally, I just really appreciate that Belgrave took the chance on me as a first time senior coach and we were lucky enough to win it in our first year, it was just fantastic,” Collins said.

“Greg was on the committee, the reserves coach and the first team runner. He had such a massive impact on that year and he also organised the reunion as well.”