A COUPLE of seasons ago, Harrow-Balmoral forward James Staude lost the passion for football.
He dropped into the reserves for a few seasons before rediscovering his love for the game this year.
“I have always gotten along with our coach Nick Pekin pretty well and he had a talk to me in the off-season and got me interested in football again,” Staude said.
“I couldn’t really care less about football the last couple of seasons – I just did it for the social side of it.
“I just lost interest in it. I wasn’t as fit as I should have been and I was struggling a bit.”
Staude said a range of factors helped him find the drive to keep competing each week in senior football this season.
“It wasn’t just Nick but everyone and having Simon Close back who I played with when I was younger,” he said.
“I’ve never seen this feeling before. We have been averaging about 50 guys training every week and that was going since before Christmas.”
Staude has lost four grand finals including three senior deciders. He isn’t alone at Harrow-Balmoral when it comes to losing a senior flag.
“I lost the three grand finals from 2009-11 with the seniors and lost a reserves one a few years to go. I haven’t played in a winning senior flag,” he said.
“There are a lot of blokes like that. If you went through everyone there would have to be 20-30 lost grand finals. We are extremely motivated. It’s a very different feeling to every other year.
“We have been there that many times and lost them we aren’t going to let another one slip.”
Staude has played well against Kalkee this season, kicking six goals on two occasions.
He said he wouldn’t be getting ahead of himself come Saturday.
“I just keep leading and the goals will eventually come,” he said.
“I’ve lost enough grand finals to know I will just shut up at the start because it could go either way.”
If we come home with the chocolates on Saturday I would happily retire. It wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t play another game again.James Staude
Harrow-Balmoral has plenty of decent talls in its senior fold, which Staude believes has helped both the side and his individual game.
“The delivery always helps and the game style having Simon up forward with how we structure up has given me better options,” he said.
“Our ruckman Todd Lawrence plays a bit like an onballer and all the talls are pretty handy on the ground. I’m not sure why the talls are good at ground level but we are just lucky.”
Having rediscovered a passion for senior football, Staude said he was keen to keep playing next season.
“I will definitely try and go again if I can get all the niggles sorted out over Christmas, but I wouldn’t be bothered if we win that flag,” he said.
“If we come home with the chocolates on Saturday I would happily retire. It wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t play another game again.
“I don’t think I could put it into words how good it would be.”