TUMUT stalwart Jason Back is always one to go the extra mile for the Blues.
Tomorrow, the power-packed front-rower will mark a milestone 100th game by making his 118th first grade appearance for the club against Tumbarumba.
The mountain club is gearing up to acknowledge the well-built prop’s dedication to the Blues tomorrow by celebrating his century – plus 18.
“There was a bit of confusion and somehow we went past the 100th game, so I’m actually playing my 118th game,” he said.
“But the club is going to celebrate the 100th.”
A household name at the club, the 28-year-old played his junior football for Tumut, before progressing through the Blues’ ranks to establish himself as a respected senior player.
“I won premierships with the club in 2007 and 2010, but I did my knee halfway through 2008 so I missed the final that year,” he said.
Back spent a year living and working in the Whitsundays in 2012, but returned to the club in 2013 after finding employment back in the town.
His welcome return to the club came at what has evolved into a tumultuous period for the once dominating Group Nine powerhouse.
“We were used to winning because pretty much we went so long with a really good side that had a lot of good players in it,” he said.
“By the time I got back, a lot of those players had retired or moved away.
“We haven’t been able to attract players like we used to because we don’t have the work to put the boys in jobs.
“We couldn’t get (Michael) Henderson because of the work trouble… We have the three or four mills but they are struggling to put anyone on at the moment.”
Back believes the club’s resurgence will be heavily influenced by the Blues’ ability to foster the talent of rising junior players.
“The young players need the experience but we need to blood them with experienced players around them,” he said.
“We have two young fellas in the halves who will only get better with time, but we definitely will need to buy some players and get some new blokes to the club.
“Tumut is a good club and you can’t win every year; this just isn’t our turn.”
Throughout his career Back has played with some of the club’s best homegrown talent, making it difficult for the popular ball-runner to put any one individual on a pedestal.
“Its impossible to separate Josh Toohey, Adam Pearce, Matty Richards and Matt Free,” he said.
“They are all as good as each other.”
Tumut will take on Tumbarumba at Twickenham tomorrow in the game being hailed as the Blues’ best chance of avoiding a winless season.
“We should get the win up – especially since Tumba are without (Aaron) Sweeney and Nathan Hammond,” Back said.
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