IT’S one of the great footy labels, and Luke ‘Chops’ McFarlane can proudly lay claim to it – he’s a back pocket plumber with a heart of gold.
On Saturday, he played his 300th senior game for his beloved Catani against Buln Buln at Station Street and, fittingly, the Blues recovered from a second quarter scare to win by 15 points – 9.12(66) to 7.9(51).
“It didn’t look likely for a while there,” said the man more affectionately known as ‘Chops’ – derived from ‘Chopper’, as in the helicopter kicks he was known for as a junior when he dropped the ball from one side of his body and kicked it with the other.
“For the first two quarters we just blazed away and didn’t really run the footy.
“(But) Antonio Benvenuto sparked us and Nic Visser bulldozed his way through the packs – I think we kicked more goals into the wind than we did with it. We were just first to the footy.”
For the Blues, Saturday was about just finding a way to win – to finish their season on a high.
McFarlane spoke to the group pre-game and said they owed it to themselves to get the four points after an eventful and largely luckless season to that point.
He admitted the anger from the ‘Mudgate’ debacle still burns and the side was bitterly disappointed not to get all four points against the Demons.
“But you’ve got to get over it and we’ve moved on,” he said.
“We’re a proud bunch and we wear our jumper with pride.”
McFarlane is now 34, but said he’s “as keen as ever” to play on next year alongside an exciting crop of Blues youngsters.
“Look, you’re a long time retired,” he said.
Before too long, another McFarlane will be part of a new wave of Blues – Chops’ and wife Kobi’s son, Will.
Still only a few months old, McFarlane said he was catching him fast.
“He’s bigger than his dad when I was 12!,” he laughed.
“He’s got a tall pedigree but that’s all on his mum’s side.”
McFarlane said he couldn’t wait until Will put his first Caldermeade Cannons juniors jumper on, and then – ultimately – the Blues’.
“There’d be nothing better,” he said.