Triple premiership player and Temora captain Charlie Vallance will be lost to the Kangaroos next year.
After seven seasons in the blue and white, Vallance said his time at Temora will come to an end after the opportunity arose to return home to the family farm in western Victoria.
“Sadly, from a footy side of things, because it’s been a big part of my life so far,” Vallance said.
“I moved here for uni so a large part of my senior career has been with Temora. I’ve played a bit over 100 games. To be part of three premierships and be captain the last two years, it’s going to be a big step.
“I would’ve liked to stay a bit longer. But opportunity is probably the key word. The long term plan was always to move back to the farm but the opportunity has come up now and obviously it’s exciting from that point of view.”
Arguably Temora’s most valuable player of recent years, Vallance, 25, played in three flags in his first three seasons at the club. He was runner-up in their best-and-fairest in 2015 before taking the honour in 2017.
The centre-half-back (who could be equally as dangerous at centre-half-forward) took on the captaincy last year. He led the club to a grand final and within a kick of a fourth premiership in six years.
Except when injured, the respected Vallance was a regular in the Farrer League representative team.
He’ll move early next year, leaving a huge hole at the Kangaroos who missed finals just once in his time there.
“I can only hope that things move onwards and upwards for the club,” Vallance said. “They’ve got a great recruitment group behind them and the core guys there are what keeps that club alive.”
For a town he knew little about until he moved there, Temora has played a big role in Vallance’s life. He’ll leave with fond memories.
“The footy side has been great and I’ve built such strong friendships up here over these few years,” he said.
“From a work perspective, working for BFB has been good, getting to work in a corporate ag business for the last few years.”
Vallance was part of drought-breaking success at Temora but says it was about more than silverware.
“In terms of memories, getting to see the end of Chris Block and Scott Blackwell and ‘Rambo’s’ (Damien Ponting’s) careers – I was lucky I got to play a lot of football with them. There were lots of guys but they were probably three in particular,” he said.
As far as opponents go, Vallance recalls battles against The Rock-Yerong Creek forwards Luke Webb and Mitch Ward were always fierce and physical but a challenge to be relished.
The Roos’ reign from 2012 to 2014 under coach Mark Kruger was unforgettable.
Just a bunch of kids, we were, and we went all the way.Vallance on the 2012 grand final
“They each had their respective moments,” he said. “The first one I remember very fondly. It was coming out of nowhere. At the start of the year, we were probably picked to come about seventh. We were winning games and were the form team but we were still considered the underdogs. Just a bunch of kids, we were, and we went all the way.
“The second was good, going back-to-back. But the last one, we were the team to beat. We were headhunted and we were bashed around every week. East Wagga came from nowhere with some good recruiting and they were hard to play against. They beat us four times that year and I don’t know how we turned it around but it was that whatever-it-takes attitude. To get that belief in our group was a credit to Krugs and we came out and won the grand final by 10 goals.”
The biggest disappointment is to come so close to leading his team back to the top in 2017, when the Kangaroos were finishing strongly against Marrar but couldn’t find a winning goal, going down by four points.
“We had good form. We had really good players. And on a terrible day of football conditions, to fall narrowly short, that was a disappointment,” he said.
But the boy from Lake Bolac is looking forward to going home, and being back in the black and white of his junior club.
“Where I’m going is where I played all my juniors and I’ve never played a senior game for them.”