100 games for Ross
Werribee Tigers' Ben Ross will play his 100th Peter Jackson VFL game this weekend against Northern Blues.
Max Papley, grandfather of Ross, would still like to think he owns the family football bragging rights and he’s probably right.
Papley was a best and fairest winner and leading goal kicker in separate seasons of his short stay at South Melbourne in the mid 1960s.
He also carved a legend at both Williamstown and the now defunct VFA club Moorabbin during an outstanding career.
During his time at Moorabbin he captained the club to the 1963 premiership where he set the standard with six goals.
At Williamstown he coached the Seagulls to the 1969 Second Division premiership and was named in the club’s Team of the Century.
Grandson Ben Ross still has some work ahead of him to reel in his grandfather, but he achieves yet another significant milestone this weekend.
Ross will play his 100th VFL game and add another layer to an ever-growing CV.
Last season, Ross became the fifth Werribee player - joining Anthony Eames (1991), Paul Satterley (’95), Michael Frost (’98) and James Podsiadly (2008) - to win the J.J. Liston Trophy.
It was a statement season in so many ways for Ross, who received the news every AFL footballer dreads the previous September when North Melbourne released him.
While it could have been easy to walk away from any association with the Kangaroos, Ross elected to stay with its VFL affiliate, Werribee.
It was a mark of Ross’ character, resolve and determination to gain a chance to add to the 14 AFL games he played in four seasons with North Melbourne.
Ross gained VFL representative honors last season against Tasmania, earned selection in the VFL Team of the Year and, of course, won the Liston Trophy.
It did not net Ross a second chance with an AFL club, but it didn’t prevent him from returning again to Chirnside Park, the sixth season he’s played with the VFL Tigers.
For the second consecutive season Ross gained VFL State recognition as well as the weekly respect from opposition coaches who have looked to shut down his dominance.
While he may not be enjoying a year similar to his breakout season of 2012, it hasn’t prevented Ross from continuing to play well and help the club’s bid to secure its first premiership in 20 years.
For the past two seasons, Werribee has progressed to the Preliminary Final, but it has been unable to make it to the big dance and that’s despite the outstanding efforts of Ross.
And, that again remains the focus of Ross and all his teammates. Personal accolades are one thing, but there’s no better feeling than Grand Final success.
Just ask Max Papley.