A 10-year premiership reunion will ensure a big occasion for the Northern Jets when they host Charles Sturt University at Ardlethan on Saturday.
It’s an important fixture for this season, with the Jets (sixth) just one win ahead of CSU but potentially playing for a spot in the five if East Wagga-Kooringal are unable to get over The Rock-Yerong Creek.
The club will wear limited edition jumpers commemorating the first and reserve grade premiership victories of 2007.
Chris Bell is the only surviving player of that senior premiership, when they were led by current Coolamon coach, Matt Hard, to victory against Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka.
“We assembled a pretty good side that year, we only dropped the one game, in round two, and that was it,” Hard recalled.
Matt Robinson and Andrew Bonny were joint best-and-fairest winners from Jeremy Quade and Matt Papworth who tied for third, in a season when Rob Harper kicked a ton of goals.
“It was pretty big for the community back then,” Hard said.
“A lot of the boys resided out there back then… it was a very strong local flavour so it was obviously one to savour.
“And the reserves won it too so it was obviously a very strong club, a very dominant year.”
It was Hard’s first flag as a coach and the merged club’s second senior premiership in three seasons, having also beaten the Demons in 2005.
Two-time premiership player Bonny was set to make his return to seniors this week, after playing reserve grade last weekend, but has been laid up by illness.
With the Jets also missing Sam Fisher (hamstring), Darcy Booth (shoulder) and Chris Ryall and Peter McRorie (unavailable), they’ve been forced into a reshuffle.
Alex Rogers and Jack Fisher will move into the midfield with Zac Bradley and the returning Jeromy Lucas to fill the key forward roles.
“We’ve got a couple of blokes out so it will test our depth again this week with two more blokes (Connor Donoghue and Hamish Gaynor) making their first grade debuts in a must-win game,” Jets coach Mitch Robinson said.
CSU are also down on troops including Dom Smith, Sam Balding and Shane Carroll.