THERE have been plenty of highs throughout Lachlan Bonney’s playing days with Strathfieldsaye Storm Football Netball Club.
Bonney’s tally of 181 is a club record for most games across all three grades of football.
Next best are Kellan Smith, 170; Shannon Geary, 145; and Lachlan Sharp, 143.
For this Saturday’s round, Storm’s footballers and netballers will be in jumpers and tops emblazoned with the names of every player who has represented the club in senior footy or A-grade netball as the club marks its 10-year anniversary.
Bonney’s run began with Strathfieldsaye’s under-18s in Storm’s first year in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League in 2009.
A decade later and he is still racking up the possessions and one per-centers.
So far this season he has played three senior and nine reserves matches.
“I am doing all I can to get back into the senior team,” said the 26-year-old.
“There’s a lot of pressure for spots in the 22,” Bonney said of this Saturday’s showdown with Gisborne on Storm’s turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
The clash between first and second is expected to draw a huge crowd, especially as Storm marks its 10-year celebrations later that night.
Bonney’s first match for Storm was in the Paul Hingston-coached under-18s in round one of the 2009 season at Strathfieldsaye.
Later that day, Jono Gawthrop and Michael Pilcher led out Storm as captain and vice-captain to play Castlemaine.
With Clint Whitsed as playing coach, Storm was victorious.
On July 10, 2010, Bonney played his first senior match as Storm faced Castlemaine in the 13th round.
He kicked two goals, as did Sharp and Kris Lea in a 46-point victory.
Storm’s line-up included Gawthrop and Pilcher, Brenton and Cameron Hall, Whitsed, Kellan Smith, and Ryan Pedrotti.
A big change in Bonney’s football career was the arrival of Darryl Wilson as senior coach in 2011.
Although he kicked 63 goals for the under-18s on their way to a preliminary final in 2010, Bonney was to play in a back pocket for the seniors in 2011.
He has played the majority of his senior footy in the last line of defence.
“Going to a back pocket was a big change. It was a completely different style of footy to what I was used to.”
He has played in five senior grand finals.
Runner-up to Golden Square in 2013, Storm struck back to be back-to-back champions in 2014 and ’15 as it beat Sandhurst both times.
Hip surgery meant Bonney missed a lot of the 2016 season.
He fought back to play in the senior premiership in 2017 against Eaglehawk, and played in last year’s grand final won by the Hawks.
Although he’s been based in Melbourne the past 3 ½ years through work with Bendigo Bank, Bonney still travels back to train with the club and play for the Troy Coates-coached seniors or Shannon Geary-coached reserves.
“What has kept me wanting to play for Strathfieldsaye is the culture of the club, and there are a lot of great mates at Storm.
“The family also lives about 50 metres from the ground.”
Bonney has played with and against many of the Bendigo FNL’s best of the past 10 years.
“Lachlan Sharp is such a unique player,” he said of the gun full-forward, the first in Storm’s history to kick 100 goals in a season and win a Michelsen Medal.
“Josh Formosa gets the job done every week and is such a tough player.
“Jake Hall (now at Calivil United) was another team-mate capable of doing just about anything.”
Kellan Smith and the Geary brothers, Shannon and Kallen have also influenced a lot of contests.
In terms of opponents, Bonney said Sandhurst’s Mitch Dole and Kyneton’s Ben Weightman were two of the most challenging.
“Mitch was a quick left-footer who could kick goals from incredible angles.
“Ben was a similar player in many ways and a strong mark for his size.”
A foundation player with the club, Bonney said many people had played their part in building Strathfieldsaye Storm FNC.
“Ray and Leone Patterson have been outstanding for so many years,” he said of Storm’s first president and the long-time secretary who still do so much for the club.
Pursuit of another premiership or more is also what drives Bonney and all clubmates.
A team-mate in that first under-18s match for Storm, Caillum Brady is still playing at Storm.
“We have been friends since we were five years old,” said Bonney.
More than 20 years later and both continue to play a part in Storm’s chase for glory.
*Photo courtesy of SAA Imaging, from 2018 Preliminary Final