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Starting their journey at the same place, Albany pair now on opposite sides

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Tarkyn Lockyer is consoled by then Collingwood assistant coach Nathan Buckley and former teammate Anthony Rocca after the 2010 grand final replay.
Camera IconTarkyn Lockyer is consoled by then Collingwood assistant coach Nathan Buckley and former teammate Anthony Rocca after the 2010 grand final replay. Credit: Fairfax

More than 3000km away from where Tarkyn Lockyer and Jeremy McGovern began their journeys to successful AFL careers, the pair will be on opposite sides of the fence in Saturday’s AFL grand final at the MCG.

Lockyer, one of Albany’s greatest AFL footballers, will be helping Collingwood as they plot the downfall of one of his fellow North Albany products in Mc-Govern.

The pair both started their remarkable path to the AFL at North Albany Football Club, Lockyer playing 227 games after starting on the Magpies rookie list, while McGovern is now a triple All-Australian preparing to play in his second AFL grand final after also beginning on the rookie list at West Coast.

But their North Albany connection means little in the most important week in the AFL landscape, as Lockyer helps his club prepare for the task of quelling the best intercept defender in the competition.

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Lockyer is the Magpies head of academy, responsible for the first to fourth year players at the club, and also helps take training sessions with the senior group.

After playing in one losing grand final and missing out on three others, including the Magpies’ premiership in 2010, Lockyer said this week brought up mixed emotions.

“I played in the close loss in 2002 and then had a knee reconstruction in 2003 and couldn’t get back,” Lockyer said.

“In 2010 I was an emergency and unfortunately didn’t get picked in the replay, even though I thought I was a good chance.

“Then I was part of the coaching panel in 2011.

“So it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, but it was great grounding and in my role now I can help pass on my experience to the younger players, use this week as an experience, be a part of the club and embrace the hype.”

Tarkyn Lockyer celebrates at goal for Collingwood against West Coast Eagles.
Camera IconTarkyn Lockyer celebrates at goal for Collingwood against West Coast Eagles. Credit: Mal Fairclough

Lockyer said McGovern’s rise through the AFL ranks from the same place where it all began for him was incredible.

“He’s unbelievable, a fantastic player,” Lockyer said.

“In the last couple of years he is one of if not the dominant key back in the game.

“His strength and aerial presence is a real challenge and something that all clubs struggle with and we are acutely aware of that.

“Absolutely we think he’ll play and hopefully our guys can do the job. His story in itself is incredible, a country boy that has come in and done what he has and he is a really unique person by the looks.”

Lockyer, who visited Albany about six weeks ago and made a trip to Collingwood Park, will be involved in the Magpies final training session today and on game day will sit in the stands with the younger players as they enjoy the experience of the day.

“This is a very rewarding role, seeing the young guys improve from when they first walk in, it is kind of like being a dad,” Lockyer said.

“Fortunately for us the club has played some good footy at the back end of the year and I hope they all soak it up, this is not a normal week.

“The parade, open training in front of thousands, these couple of days are just special moments that don’t come around often and hopefully our guys can be in front when that siren sounds.”

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