Forbes could be sans as many as four of its premiership stars in 2019 and beyond after Sunday’s memorable one-point grand final triumph over Dubbo CYMS.
As they did in 2016, the Magpies snatched the trophy off the previously undefeated Fishies after Farren Lamb potted a field goal inside the final two minutes to sneak Forbes ahead 23-22.
The Magpies, led by experienced guns Ben Robinson, Brad McMillan, Bob Weir medalist Ben Maguire and skipper Jake Grace, then held on to etch their second title success story into Group 11’s history books in three seasons.
But that quartet could soon hang up the boots, with both McMillan and Robinson indicating Sunday’s premiership victory will be their last first grade game – and what a way to go out it is.
“Very happy. This is better than Lego, or so they keep telling me,” McMillan smiled.
The veteran back-rower revealed he broke a rib early in the first half but pushed through the pain to ensure he was out there for his teammates.
It’s good to finish on a high. That’ll do me.Two-time Forbes premiership winning prop Ben Robinson.
McMillan was tremendous for the victorious black and whites, too. His charges at the death when Forbes needed a lift gave his side just that.
“I can’t breathe now … but this is my last game and I didn’t want to finish on the sideline,” he said.
“There’s been a bit of talk (about retiring). Benny Robo, Gracey and Benny Maguire ... whether or not that happens, who knows, but I’m definitely done.”
And so is Robinson, a genuine stalwart of the Magpies who just three seasons ago had never tasted a finals win.
He now goes out with as a two-time premiership winner, having help charge the Magpies through the club’s most successful era in the Group 11 top grade.
The club has never won two crowns in three years.
“It’s good to finish on a high. That’ll do me,” Robinson smiled.
“I’m 30 this year, I’ve got other priorities now. I need to concentrate a bit more on work and I think I’ve sacrificed a fair bit for footy.”
The workhorse front-rower is still pinching himself at the success the club has enjoyed since 2016 – a year that ended a 29-year title drought for the club.
But, unlike the rest of his teammates who referenced that break-through victory almost adnauseam in the lead-up, Robinson was hesitant to look back on his other title win ahead of Sunday’s decider.
“Everyone was saying 2016, 2016 … I didn’t want to think about it. We’re a whole new side,” he said, clearly a touch superstitious.
“I didn't want to get caught up in it.
“It’s sort of surreal now.”