The Colac Tigers’ breakthrough premiership in 2014 was bittersweet for emerging footballer Kody Spokes.
At 19, Spokes was squeezed out of the team after the Tigers’ elimination final win against Newtown and Chilwell, and he had to watch from the sidelines as the club went on to win its first Geelong Football League flag without him.
Spokes, now 24, said he had used the disappointment to motivate him to help the Tigers reach another grand final.
And tomorrow – five years later – he has an opportunity to do that.
“I think I played in the first final,” Spokes recalled of 2014.
“We’d had a few injuries towards the end of the year and then a few guys like Travis Woodmason came back in and I got squeezed out of the side,” he said.
“I was pretty disappointed at the time, but at the same time it gave me a bit more drive to hang around and give it another crack.”
Spokes featured in the Tigers’ reserves grand final team that season, which lost to South Barwon.
The former Geelong Falcon and Luke Hillman both played reserves that day, but have since developed into key players for Colac’s senior team.
Spokes is the Tigers’ reigning Ted Parker Medallist and is a starting midfielder alongside Ryan Monaghan and Joffy Simpkin, while Hillman has won multiple goalkicking awards and spent last year on Geelong’s VFL list.
“In 2015 I played most of the year in the seniors, coming off the bench,” Spokes said.
“Then once Andrew Kelly and a few of the older boys finished up or moved on I got more of an opportunity in the midfield,” he said.
Spokes, a former Colac Imperials junior, said he was happy he used the 2014 disappointment to motivate him.
“At the time you’re pretty disappointed, and there were even times when you consider giving up and going back to district footy, but it’s times like this I’m definitely glad I gave it a red-hot crack,” he said.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.