GREG McKenzie started as a junior footballer at the Warracknabeal Football Club, left to play golf for five years and then returned as a 20 year old reserves footballer.
McKenzie is now 50 years old, and said he simply enjoys sitting down supporting his children in the juniors and watching the seniors “hopefully get a win”.
“I have one son, Daniel, in the under-14s and one son, Sean, in the under-17s. I love watching my kids play, you get a buzz out of it when they do well,” he said.
Warracknabeal and Brim Football Club merged at the end of the 2001 season, McKenzie said he was at the club through the amalgamation.
“It was quite smooth really. A lot of the Warrack people were going to Brim anyway. They lived in the town so it made sense in the end,” he said.
“The club (when he started as a junior) is no different to how it is now. People came to the footy and enjoyed it every weekend.”
McKenzie joked the reason for him taking five years off football for golf was because he “wasn’t that good”.
“The year I started back in the seconds at Warracknabeal was 1989 and we won the premiership,” he said.
“That was a good year… that seconds side would give (current Warrack Eagles seniors) a run for their money. It had some pretty handy players in it. It was just one of those freakish years.”
McKenzie played as an on-baller, he said his father likened him to a “draft horse, he was the same speed when he started and finished”.
McKenzie played eight seniors games in the Warracknabeal Football Club’s premiership winning 1994 team, the team defeated Horsham United 23.19 (157) to 10.11 (71).
Over the course of McKenzie’s time at the club he has played more than 200 reserves games, coached the reserves in the 1990s, coached under 12s and has been a runner for each age group.
McKenzie said he thinks the current Warrack Eagles senior team is a good outfit.
“When we played Southern Mallee Giants in round one none of the players played all that well. It was good to see we knew if we had of gone out there and given it our best shot and got creamed, then we would have sat back and said they are a really good side,” he said.
“I think we’ll be thereabouts in seniors. If they can keep everyone on the park I think they’ll be up there in the mix.”
McKenzie was watching the Warrack Eagles home game against Horsham on Saturday and he said it was an interesting contest.
“The ones that took their chances came out on top,” he said.
McKenzie said he was proud with the Warrack Eagles win against Minyip-Murtoa in round three.
McKenzie said what he used to enjoy while watching football is the one-on-one contests.
“Like how it’s gone in the AFL now, there’s isn’t as many individual one-on-one contests. The game has gotten a lot quicker and everyone moves in waves,” he said.
“I might be a bit more old school, I like the old one-on-one contest and once the ball hit the ground your crumbers would come past and score goals… you don’t see the big duels at centre half forward as much.”
McKenzie said a major difference from the club when he was playing in reserves to the current day is the junior numbers.
“It’s hard to keep your juniors and seconds, there doesn’t seem to be as many opportunities for the younger ones to stay. If they need to study they need to go away,” he said.
“I know it’s the system now but another thing that hurts is that the better players go onto Rebels. Years ago those kids would all be playing here and they would be playing senior footy.”