AFL legend valiant in defeat

June 6, 2024 BY

Get around him: Each of Trent Cotchin's goals drew cheers from the crowd and celebrations from his teammates. Photo: LACHLAN ELLIS

A FOUR-goal performance from a Brownlow medallist and three-time AFL premiership captain wasn’t enough to get Ballan across the line on the weekend, but the champion’s appearance certainly generated the hype intended.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Ballan Recreation Reserve to see retired Richmond Tigers player Trent Cotchin don Ballan’s navy blue against the red-hot Newlyn Cats, who were sitting pretty in third place.

The club’s scoreboard was lit up with a thank you to Carlton United Breweries for making the day possible through The Carlton Draft, and to Cotchin himself for coming along and taking part.

Goals came at a premium early, with Ballan only able to score one behind, and Newlyn three goals and three behinds, at quarter time.

On-and-off rain threatened to turn the game into a slog, but didn’t stick around for long.

Cotchin started in the midfield, but was shifted to half forward throughout the game.

He was able to kick a goal off a free kick around 40 metres out, 22 minutes into the second quarter, to make the score 13 to 40 at half time.

A second shot at goal for Cotchin was made a formality in the third quarter when the Newlyn player who gave him holding the man tossed the ball towards the umpire and gave away a 50 metre penalty.

In the fourth quarter Cotchin truly shone, showing some vintage flair with two goals on the run in the space of a minute, around 24 minutes in, to make it four for the day.

Unfortunately it was too little too late, with the final score being Ballan 5.6.36, Newlyn 12.10.82.

Following the match, Cotchin praised the Ballan men for never saying die, and said he was glad to get some more people through the gates after what had been a difficult few years for the Blues.

“The boys were awesome, they made me feel really comfortable. That’s probably what I was most nervous about to be honest, coming into a new environment,” he said.

“I know they’ve had a tough run with not having home games for a few years, so it’s great to see the new pavilion in the flesh.

“That’s what country footy’s all about, bringing people together. Hopefully it’s done that and more today.”

When asked if he could see himself featuring in country footy games again, Cotchin joked his body may not hold up.

“The way I feel right now…probably not. Saying that, I did enjoy myself, the physicality and getting back amongst it was good fun,” he said.

“There’s a lot of young talent within this team, I think they’ve got the nucleus of what’s going to be a really strong club as they progress through this year, but also into the future.”

The 46-point loss leaves Ballan 12th on the CHFL ladder. They will face Beaufort at Goldfields Recreation Reserve on Saturday, with first bounce at 2.30 pm.

Star drops in: Three-time AFL premiership captain Trent Cotchin kicked four goals in his one-off appearance for the Ballan Blues. Photos: LACHLAN ELLIS