The Big V have taken on the Adelaide Footy League and won. It was eight minutes into the final term when the game broke open and the Big V piled on seven goals to run out 50-point winners two years after falling to the SAAFL on home soil.
Big V captain and Collegians star George Burbury spoke to the boys on For the Love of the Game podcast about harnessing the theme of redemption in the lead up to the first bounce.
“It almost was an underlying key contributor as to why the build-up was so special and so big,” Burbury said.
“We didn’t want to overemphasize the message too much. Whilst it was certainly spoken about it was more just in the background as a non-negotiable as to why we couldn’t lose.”
For Burbury, along with his Collegians teammate Viv Michie, they experienced football at the highest level in the AFL during their football careers before both coming into the VAFA system and being awarded the honour of wearing the Big V.
“I feel like I’ve got some real skin in the game with the Big V program and the other 21 plus the coaching staff should feel like a real sense of ownership of the team,” he said.
“Albeit playing on the MCG against AFL opponents is a bigger stage and people will probably argue it’s a better achievement. I was young, and I was early in my career and I probably didn’t feel like I had as much ownership and skin in the game.
To me that’s why it is my biggest honour, playing in the Big V team and captaining that.”
Burbury was recruited by Geelong with pick 40 in the 2011 rookie draft, playing seven games over four years as he was cruelled with injuries during his time at Kardinia Park. It’s every boyhood dream to reach the levels of AFL; however, all members of the VAFA representative side couldn’t be more glowing in their endorsements of wearing the Big V guernsey.
Comparing the experiences, Burbury had no hesitation in ranking the Big V atop of the pecking order.
“Four years down at Geelong, that was a massive achievement for me and a goal I’ve had for a long time,” he said.
“For me, I think the Big V actually surpasses that.”
Keep up to date with everything happening in the VAFA on VAFA Tragics released every Tuesday night with Andrew Leonard and Nick Armistead + the VAFA’s official podcast For the Love of the Game released Wednesday afternoons with Joe Pignataro, Nick Armistead and Brian Waldron.