When Ben Maguire went down with just three minutes to go in Sunday’s Group 11 grand final, many thought the worse.
The back-rower-come-prop had been immense for the Magpies in the clash with CYMS, and with the scores locked at 22-all there was fear Maguire might miss the all-important final few minutes.
With good reason too, the Forbes star has a long history of knee injuries.
But it wasn’t a knee injury. Far from it.
“Cold and flu. Just struggling,” he said after receiving the Bob Weir medal as man of the match after the game.
“I’ve had the flu all week so I haven’t been to training or done anything.
“I’m just happy we got there.”
Farren Lamb’s field goal saw the Magpies defeat CYMS 23-22, meaning Maguire has now been part of two title wins for Forbes. He has been a huge part of both as well.
In 2016 he was known as a free-running back-rower, lethal on the edges and one of the best try-scoring forwards in the western area.
But this season has been different.
With Zac Merritt, Todd Grace and Mitch Davis all departing in the off-season, Maguire has spent much of the year in the middle of the field, doing the grunt work alongside another tireless prop in Ben Robinson.
It’s resulted in much less four-pointers, but he did get the first one on Sunday in his side’s unforgettable grand final win.
“It’s just all for the boys,” he said of the positional change and work he did.
“Everything goes back to them and I’m happy to do that for them if that’s where I need to be. It’s just an unreal feeling.
“It’s unreal but all the boys stepped up today and it showed, we came away with the win.”
Maguire was judged best on ground by a panel which included Weir’s grandson, Ryan, as the man the medal is named after was too unwell to make it to the game at Apex Oval.
As well as getting his side’s first try, Maguire was an absolute workhorse and kept taking hit-ups immediately after bouncing back up off the turf in the final minutes.
He helped get his side into CYMS territory late on and then Mitch Burke’s towering bomb was spilled by Matt Burton.
From that ensuring set, Lamb slotted the field goal to give the Magpies a grand final win over a previously unbeaten Dubbo CYMS for the second time in three years.
“From the start there was belief. You can’t fault anyone in this side and belief has been a big part of this,” Maguire said after Forbes finished the regular season in fourth.
“We always knew we had the talent so this is really good.”