By Matt Fotia
Seville defender Paul Bailey has had to remain patient -very patient – to finally get his hands on a premiership medallion, but it’s all been worth it according to the man himself.
Sitting in the corner of the Yarra Glen dressing rooms, the Primary School Principal was found leaning back against the brick wall, with a cool beer in one hand, long sleeve jumper with the sleeves rolled up on his back and a hard earned piece of silverware around his neck.
“264 senior games I’ve played for this club, today was my fifth Grand Final and it’s my first premiership.”
Bailey says it dawned on him that the Blues would finally be the ones storming the dais around the ten minute mark of the last quarter, as their constant dominance finally wore down the resilient Eagles.
“At the start of the last quarter, when we had control of the ball in our forward half for so long and we finally started to get on a roll, you could see that they were dropping off,”
“You know Yarra Junction have had a very hard run to reach the Grand Final and you could see them start to drop away.”
Not only has Bailey been so close, yet so far to ultimate glory on multiple occasions, he’s had to handle other hardships, one of which occurred during last seasons disappointing Grand Final for the Blues, with the educator very falsely accused of some awful things by the crowd on that faithful day at Healesville.
Whilst Bailey was inevitably hurt by the comments, as anyone would be, he’s carried on as usual, putting the white noise into the background.
“You’ve got put it away(the incorrect, awful sledging), you can only worry about things you can controlled and unfortunately I cannot control what’s being said over the fence,”
“Playing football means I’ve just got to stay focused on my job on the ground and not worry about the people over the fence, but that’s an extra reason as to why todays win is so sweet.”
Focusing on the job at hand has been key to the Blues rise this season. Bailey says the addition of a few key personnel has helped players like himself really concentrate on winning their own personal battles, in contrast to last season where the Blues talent was spread thin, which would cause them to panic under pressure.
“That’s the difference (squad depth) from this year to last year,”
“Last year we had a good side but I don’t think we were mentally strong enough and blokes dropped away when were challenged,”
“But the Semi-Final two weeks ago was a good sign, to know that we were down on our game for three quarters but we were still able to come over the top of them,”
“Having the likes of Justin Myers, Brendan Dickinson, Dan Iacuone, you know what you’re going to get from them, and I think that helped us stick to the course today.”
With the magic 300 mark just 36 games away, there’s no chance that Bailey is hanging up the boots just yet, especially with his beloved Blues finally exiting Division Two.
“I wouldn’t mind having a crack (at 300 games), were going up as well, so I’ve just got to keep looking after the body.”