No one embodies the relationship between the Werribee and Hoppers Crossing Football Clubs quite like Adam Taylor.
A Hoppers junior, Taylor left for the Tigers in 1995, notching up 101 games over the next seven seasons before returning to the Warriors in 2002.
Having experienced the heartbreak of playing in Werribee’s losing 1998 and 2001 grand final sides, he was given a redemption of sorts as a member of Hoppers’ WRFL premiership-winning 2002 and 2004 sides.
“We were always a great side without any success to show for it,” Taylor says of his time at the Tigers.
“I was there for seven years, and we only missed the finals one year. Funnily enough, that was 2000, with Alastair Clarkson as our coach. Obviously, he’s gone and done sensational things from there.
“To face that disappointment and then go to Hoppers and back to my grassroots with some fellow Werribee teammates – Paul Satterley, Dave Clonan, Matthew Camilleri, Warren Velisha – and win the flag in 2002 was great, and we then backed that up in 2004.”
On Sunday, Taylor will be one of about 50 past players gathered at the Warriors’ home ground, Hogans Road Reserve, to watch Werribee take on the Casey Demons in its only local fixture of 2017.
A number of those present will have shared Taylor’s experience as a player at both clubs, and the current Warriors playing list features nine former Tigers, making the choice of venue a fitting one.
“When I first saw that it was scheduled that way, I thought it was a great opportunity for both clubs to show their partnership, which has been there for some time,” says Taylor.
“There are a lot of strong clubs in the area, Hoppers being one of them, that have been feeder clubs for Werribee for many years.
“It’s a good showcase for how strong the relationship is. There has been a heap of players go through. A lot of them start at Hoppers, go to Werribee, and then go back to Hoppers to continue their success.”
With family and work commitments keeping him busy, Taylor admits he isn’t able to follow the Tigers as closely these days, but the opportunity to catch their one outing in Wyndham at the club that shaped his formative football years and ultimately delivered premiership success wasn’t one he was going to miss out on.
“I love both clubs,” he says. “I’m a life member at both, and a lot of my current relationships are off the back of meeting the people at these clubs.
“I’m looking forward to catching up with some old faces and seeing Werribee play again in our own backyard. It’ll certainly be an enjoyable day.”
Werribee kick off against Casey Demons at 2pm on Sunday at Hogans Road Reserve in Hoppers Crossing and will follow the AFL Victoria Development League match at 11am.