Once his stellar Premier Cricket career with Footscray Edgewater was over, Brad Robertson was only ever going to end up at one of two clubs – both part of sub-district cricket’s newest rivalry in the west.
The opening bowler announced his retirement after 14 years with the Bulldogs at the end of last summer and had a choice to play on with either Werribee or Hoppers Crossing.
Compelling cases could be made for both clubs.
On the Werribee side, the nostalgia of his dad, Kevin, having played for years as a wicketkeeper-batsman was a strong pull.
So, too, was the fact the 31-year-old has recently bought a house in the suburb and has a lot of friends at the club.
On the Hoppers side, the chance to go back and play for his junior club would have been special. This was the club that developed him into the cricketer he is today, and it’s still close to his heart.
Robertson finally made the decision to join Werribee, but not all the facts were on the table. The pull of playing at sub-district level was strong as he still wanted to play at the highest level possible.
At the time, Hoppers Crossing was a member of the VTCA, but shortly after Robertson committed to Werribee the Cats transferred to the sub-district ranks.
“I was certainly a chance of going back and playing at Hoppers Crossing, but I felt that I wanted to be playing in the subbies,” he told
Star Weekly. “Then, all of a sudden, Hoppers were in the subbies as well.
“Werribee has been really welcoming and I already feel like I’ve been there for a few years. They’re a fantastic club, really well run – they’ve got a couple of young guys in administration positions and they really look like they’re heading in the right direction.”
There will always be a special place in Robertson’s heart for Footscray Edgewater. He’s called it home since 2002-03, racking up 165 matches and taking 232 wickets at 19.5.
“I loved everything about the club, but it was time for me to step aside and go and do something new.”
The lowest point in Robertson’s career came at the Bulldogs. In the middle of the 2012-13 season, he tore a patella tendon, which took 18 months to heal and cost him a chance of playing in the Bulldogs’ drought-breaking first XI premiership the next summer.
Robertson was proud of his teammates for getting their hands on that long-awaited flag but, naturally, was disappointed to miss out on playing that season.
“To be perfectly honest, during that year and during the grand final celebrations, the boys couldn’t have done more to make me feel involved and part of it.
“It was probably the most emotional I’ve ever been over anything, watching some of my best mates getting a chance to fulfil what we’d all been working together for for so long.”
Perhaps Robertson will get a chance at premiership glory this summer with Werribee. The Tigers have built a young and talented team that should enjoy sustained success.
Robertson, a school teacher at Emmanuel College in Altona North, will be an unofficial leader at Werribee.
He has too much experience at Premier level not to be used by the Tigers.
“Without it being spoken and said, you do sort of feel like it’s your duty to provide advice and leadership,” he said. “That has been one of [coach] Mitch’s [Johnstone] things with me: working with a few of the younger seamers.
“I wouldn’t say it’s coaching,” he said. “It’s more just a little bit of guidance and helping out with any questions and things they might have on how to approach different game situations and how to prepare.”
Robertson will run in with the new ball for the undefeated Werribee in Saturday’s one-day clash with rivals Altona at Chirnside Park.