ADAM Cockie will never regret his time in Melbourne even though he missed a couple of Subiaco premierships while there but he desperately wants a second flag with the Lions and there would be no better time than his 100th WAFL game in Sunday's Grand Final.
Cockie burst on to the scene at Subiaco in 2008, playing 22 games, representing Western Australia, playing in Subiaco's premiership and finishing third in the fairest and best before finding himself drafted by the West Coast Eagles.
He went on to play seven games at West Coast in the AFL in 2009 before his season ended early through injury. He remained playing with Subiaco the next two years culminating in the Grand Final loss to Claremont.
After that he decided to make the move to Melbourne to play in the VFL with Sandringham where his bustling, ferocious and long-kicking would be at its most effective on the smaller grounds.
He remained playing with the Zebras for the next four years playing 63 games even finding himself represent Victoria against WA in Northam in 2013 in the same game his current Subiaco teammate Wayde Twomey won the Simpson Medal.
Cockie then watched on from afar as Subiaco won premierships in 2014 and 2015 and with some of his closest friends like Kyal Horsley and Chris Phelan key parts of that side, he desperately wanted to be part of the Lions again.
He returned in 2016 with a double goal to try and at least become a dual premiership player on top of bringing up his 100th game with Subiaco.
Unfortunately for Cockie he played in another losing Grand Final last year against Peel on return with Subiaco but now this Sunday he gets another chance again up against the Thunder at Domain Stadium.
The added bonus is that it will be his 100th game with Subiaco in the WAFL so not only will he look to celebrate that milestone, but he hopes to add to his 2008 premiership medal as well.
"Getting to 100 games is something I've always wanted to achieve from when I first started and I probably didn’t expect myself to go over to Melbourne and spend so long there," Cockie said.
"But coming back to Subi last year, I really wanted to reach the 100 games and I'm just fortunate enough that it lands on the Grand Final. that would just top it off nicely if we could win the premiership on the day.
"It would mean a lot for me if we can win. Coming back to such a successful club and also where I started my footy back in 2008 always felt right, and to do that when they are going through a successful time has been easy to settle back into.
"I also wanted to come back to play with my mates and playing with them, and winning a premiership cup would just be amazing for myself, my teammates and the team as a whole."
Subiaco is back in a fourth straight WAFL Grand Final having beaten South Fremantle in last Sunday's preliminary final meaning Cockie will be playing in his fourth decider attempting to win a second premiership.
Coming off the pain of losing last year meant that Cockie and everyone at Subiaco is desperate to make amends against the Thunder this time around but they know nothing will be handed to them.
"What we've been training for all year is to get back to another Grand Final especially after last year. We thought we had something to prove to give ourselves another chance back there this year so it's good to be there now," he said.
"We know that Peel has a lot of Fremantle AFL-listed players playing for them so they have a lot experience on this stage, but we've learnt from playing them two weeks ago and we have to take that into the Grand Final. You have to win to get that premierships and if not the season's done and you feel like you've wasted everything compared to where you want to get to."
Subiaco had to win its way into the Grand Final the hard way this year even after winning 19 straight matches heading into the finals to claim a third straight minor premiership.
But they lost to Peel in the second semi-final setting up last Sunday's preliminary final, but they played well against South Fremantle and Cockie is confident of a better showing against the Thunder in the Grand Final than two weeks ago.
"We obviously were going into that first final wanting to win the game but we knew pretty quickly after the things we did wrong during it and we talked about it as a playing group and what we needed to fix up," Cockie said.
"We went out to play against Souths and got back to what we had done well during the season. That's just the way the finals go and you have to take it step by step and we just had to do what we had to do last week against Souths and now against Peel. But having played them in the first final and seeing what worked and what we need to change is something that we can take out of that."
Cockie had a good first season back with Subiaco last year playing in the Grand Final side and battling through a knee complaint that he had surgery on in the off-season.
That meant he couldn’t do a pre-season and he had to spent the opening five games of the season in the reserves and copping a one-week suspension along the way.
The Lions made him earn his place back in the winning side, but once he's been back he has shown his value playing some outstanding football in the second half of the season with his ability to lay ferocious tackles, win the hard ball, get plenty of clearances and power the ball forward.
Having had to earn his place back in the team, he's been happy with his season to date leading into Sunday's Grand Final.
"I had the setback at the end of last year with knee surgery which put me out for the whole pre-season and I only came back just before the season with only two and-a-half weeks of training," he said.
"I had good chats with Schoey and the coaching staff and I had to build up my fitness and match fitness so the appropriate approach was to start in the reserves and work my way back into the side.
"I had to work hard to get back in and there are no walk up starts at this club with everyone having to fight for their position especially with them winning 19 games straight. That makes it a hard team to get into because it's not easy dropping anyone when the team is going so well."
Cockie will always be glad that he took the chance to move to Melbourne and spend four years playing in the VFL even if it meant he missed out on two Subiaco premierships.
"I have no regrets about moving over to Melbourne and playing with Sandringham Football Club. I got to experience what Melbourne football is like with the wet weather and the football I like with the in and under, contested ball," he said.
"I thought I fitted in very well over there but coming back the big difference is the bigger grounds and how much more running you have to do. But coming back and playing with friends made the transition a lot easier."
Cockie always saw himself coming back to Subiaco at some stage after leaving following the 2011 Grand Final and the thing that has impressed him most is the culture he has returned to that has been led by captain Kyal Horsley and coach Jarrad Schofield who he shared the 2008 premiership with.
"The biggest change would have been the change in personnel and people at the club, but our culture is pretty similar to what it was back in 2008," Cockie said.
"It has continued to be driven strongly all the way through and now with our captain Kyal Horsley he is very strong and driven to keep that going. We pride ourselves on that culture and that's what everyone on our team lives up to.
"Coming back over I talked with Schoey and the fact that I already knew him and had played with him before I left made it a lot easier because we already had that relationship. Playing under him has been great and we are where we are because of him.
"He has high expectations of us and we have that of each other because we want to achieve something as a group. If we don’t get that buy in from everyone with him driving it, we wouldn’t get to where we are now."