Former Sydney Hill Eagle and Collingwood rookie Trent Stubbs has played in many unsuccessful senior grand finals in his expansive career, but the recently recruited Southport forward is keen to put an end to that this weekend.
The 27-year-old has kicked 21 goals over his 11 games of 2019, playing the role of the modern medium-sized forward to great effect.
Speaking after his side’s five-goal preliminary final win over Aspley, Stubbs expressed his excitement to first of all play in a grand final, but to play it with a Southport group he truly feels at home with.
“I’m very much looking forward to next weekend,” Stubbs told neafl.com.au.
“I’ve played in a few senior grand finals in my lifetime and I’m yet to win one.
“I wasn’t really expecting a hell of a lot when Southport got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in playing for them. I said yes and haven’t looked back since.
“It’s been a great ride. The culture here’s unbelievable, the boys are great so I'm looking forward to next week. One more!”
Stubbs’ NEAFL journey is quite the story. Having debuted in 2013 for the Eagles in the year following his delisting from Collingwood, Stubbs won three consecutive club best-and-fairests – two when the club was in the NEAFL and one when they re-joined the AFL Sydney Premier Division in 2015 – plus the Stan Milton Trophy for the Premier Division’s leading goalkicker.
Stubbs then had a stint with West Adelaide in the SANFL for a season before coming back to his home club in 2017.
Moving to the Gold Coast for work at the beginning of 2019, it was through his connection with now team-mate Ryan Davis that lead the Sydney local to join Southport’s list on deadline day.
“I was moving to the Gold Coast for work… Ryan Davis is good mates with my brother, he let 'Fieldsy' (Southport football manager Jarrod Field) know to give me a buzz, and the rest is history,” Stubbs said.
Stubbs suffered an injury early in the Sharks’ previous clash with the Lions, in which Brisbane had their way with Southport in the 125-point win, but Stubbs is adamant the result will remain in the past.
“It was a tough loss last time when we played Brisbane, but our side will look considerably different to the side that took them on then and there’s might as well,” he said.
“We’ll just worry about ourselves and see what happens.”
Keen to follow up his three-goal effort of the preliminary final in the big dance, Stubbs is growing more confident by the week with his relatively new role as a pure forward, having spent much of his Eagles career as a midfielder.
“They (Southport) let me know from the beginning of the year that I’d be playing a forward role, so I’ve been working on my defensive pressure and my ability to bring the ball to ground to let our small players go to work,” Stubbs said.
“And kicking ‘em straight!,” laughed a passing Josh Hall mid-interview at Fankhauser Reserve.
The rest of Stubbs’ teammates will be hoping for another big performance from the surprise recruit come Sunday afternoon.
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