Redbacks AFL veterans (back, from left) Aaron Lawlor, Julius Sakrewski, Jason Wright and (front) coach Peter Millard at training at Risdon Oval on Tuesday night.
Redbacks AFL veterans (back, from left) Aaron Lawlor, Julius Sakrewski, Jason Wright and (front) coach Peter Millard at training at Risdon Oval on Tuesday night. Gerard Walsh

Veterans eye AFL title

IF the Redbacks can become the second Warwick team in the past 23 years to win a Toowoomba A-grade footy premiership in any code on Saturday, four of the happiest club members will be three players and a coach who joined in the 1990s.

Coach Peter Millard and full forward Jason Wright played in the inaugural Redbacks season in 1996.

Aaron Lawlor played his first season in 1997 and Julius Sakrewski in 1998.

Both Millard and Wright have been captain-coach of the A-grade side, Sakrewski has been captain and assistant coach and Lawlor a team captain.

All were part of the reserve-grade premiership victory in 1998 when the Redbacks beat Kingaroy in the grand final by 11 points.

Lawlor remembers kicking the match-clinching goal to increase the margin from five to 11 points.

"Scott Eckhardt kicked four fourth-quarter goals to put us in front and combined well with Peter Millard in the grand final," he said.

Wright played in the Redbacks teams which lost A-grade grand finals in 2001 and 2002 and said the game on Saturday would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

"We will hopefully go down in history as the first Redbacks team to win an A-grade flag," he said.

"AFL is strong in Queensland and can be even stronger in Warwick."

While he dreams of landing the winning kick in the grand final, Wright said he hoped the Redbacks didn't need a late goal to win.

Sakrewski is looking at the grand final at 2.30pm Saturday at Rockville Oval as an all-or-nothing game.

At age 36, he may retire at the end of this season but there is some unfinished business.

As for coach Millard, he is receiving good luck messages of support everywhere he goes.

"If we can win and then play on our new ground next season, it will cement the sport in Warwick," he said.

Bookings for the supporters' bus to Colin Pope on 4664 8555 or Keith Clarke on 4661 8225



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