Lewis Roberts-Thomson evades Belconnen Magpies' Jack Baker during Sunday's NEAFL final. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Having recovered from an horrific broken leg, Gary Rohan didn’t care his first ever premiership was in the NEAFL eastern conference and not the AFL as he now plays like ‘‘every game’s my last’’.
And his Sydney Swans teammate Lewis Roberts-Thomson rated his NEAFL flag alongside his two AFL ones and declared his knee was fully recovered and he was ready to return for the AFL preliminary final against Fremantle in Perth next week.
Rohan played the previous four weeks in the AFL after coming back from a sickening broken leg against North Melbourne early last season, but was dropped to the reserves for their grand final.
Gary Rohan will relish his NEAFL final winners' medal after a long road back from injury. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
He was solid without being brilliant in a Swans outfit that had winners across the park.
While he’d prefer to be playing at the highest level, Rohan was stoked to win his first ever premiership at any level.
It was made even sweeter by fears he would play no football at all in 2013 after North Melbourne forward crashed into his leg in round four last year.
‘‘I ran out [the game] fine today, I’ve got a good chance next week to go over and play Freo, that’s why I got off a bit early,’’ Rohan said.
‘‘[It’s not hard to get up for the reserves because] I play my footy [like] every game’s my last game since I broke my leg.
‘‘I just pretended I’m actually playing seniors and it was good.’’
For Roberts-Thomson it was his first game back since injuring his knee against Geelong in April.
And his return might be timely with Swans forward Kurt Tippett aggravating a leg injury in the semi-final win against Carlton on Saturday night and defender Ted Richards facing an anxious wait for the match review panel’s verdict on his high bump on Levi Casboult.
Despite having won two AFL premierships with the Swans - in 2005 and 2012 - Roberts-Thomson said any flag was special no matter what level it was at and he enjoyed the chance to play with the Swans’ developing players.
It was now up to Longmire to decide whether to take him to Perth or send him to Brisbane for the NEAFL grand final against the Lions’ reserves, he said.
‘‘It felt good, I think I played roughly 80-85 minutes, so it was a fair chunk of game time and the body’s pulled up pretty well, the fitness wasn’t too bad,’’ Roberts-Thomson said.
‘‘It was good to have a run around.
‘‘We’ll have to see, match-ups, I think Fremantle are pretty strong across the board, so you don’t want to go into the game in any way shape or form underdone, so we’ll just have to wait and see.’’