Heroes of the past honour current crop
EASTLAKE captain Chad Gibson knew it was a big day for the club when he woke up, but he didn't realise how big a day it would be personally.
Gibson had the honour of receiving his No. 23 guernsey from Demons and Carlton legend Alex Jesaulenko before yesterday's 38-point victory over Aspley in the NEAFL at Manuka Oval.
Eastlake celebrated its five consecutive premierships from 1962-66 and the past players from that era handed out the jumpers to the modern crop before the game.
In his first game back from a seven-week hamstring injury, Gibson was almost in shock when he went up to receive his heritage top from a four-time Carlton premiership player.
''I wasn't told about it beforehand but when I finally got to meet him it was awesome to be honest. He's a club legend, ACT legend, and it was a real honour. He's a funny bloke too, that was the best part about it,'' he said.
''I got a good chat with him and I'm sure I will again after the game after he's had a beer or two.''
Under the watchful eye of club greats like Jesaulenko and Ken Roberts, the Demons started on fire kicking the first two goals and Gibson (two goals) played inspired football at centre half-forward - the same patch of Manuka where ''Jezza'' used to patrol.
From there it was a tight and entertaining affair until Eastlake kicked clear with an eight-goal final-term to romp it in 23.8 (146) to 16.12 (108).
Aaron Bruce's five goals were the perfect exclamation mark.
In 1962, the Demons beat Ainslie in a dour struggle, 4.9 (33) to 2.6 (18), and while Eastlake won both games the two days were as far removed as heaven and hell.
Yesterday's conditions were a far cry from the torrential rain, mud and howling wind that turned Narrabundah Oval into a swamp 50 years ago.
As Bob Shearer, who played in the first two grand finals of the golden era, described it: ''It was an incredible day. I've never experienced weather like it. I came in at half-time, none of us knew what we were doing and I see Peter Neill under the shower smoking a cigarette. And it was cold water because the seconds had used them.''
But even a cold shower was warmer than the conditions outside.
While there wasn't any hot water, the Demons did have a secret weapon - they'd organised a change of clothes.
And with a fresh pair of socks they turned a 10-point half-time deficit into a memorable grand final victory.