Having been born and bred in Kalgoorlie, Ryan Borchet has played plenty of games at Sir Richard Moore Oval — the home of his boyhood club.
But none have been quite like Subiaco’s brave come-from-behind victory against Swan Districts on Saturday.
The 25-year-old kicked four goals, including two during a tense final quarter to cap a stunning homecoming and lift the Lions to their second win of the year.
He and forward partner Ben Sokol combined for five majors in the last term as the reigning premiers turned a 20-point three-quarter-time deficit into a morale boosting 14-point triumph.
Borchet said it was “really special” to perform in front of a raucous “home crowd”, including a balcony full of Railways Football Club supporters and his family and friends.
“It is always nice to kick a few goals but it means even more when you come back to your home town and put in a good performance,” he said.
“Kicking the first of the game settled the nerves a lot actually.
“It was good to see everyone, it brought back some really good memories that I had at the club. It was great.”
Having played “countless” games at the ground, he said it brought some home comforts to return.
“I played all my under 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and league footy there… I guess having set shots it is a little bit of an advantage,” he said.
“It is a bit smaller compared to a Leederville or Claremont Oval, it is a lot narrower. But we addressed that at the start of the game and what we wanted to do with our ball movement and stuff.”
And the beauty of the moment wasn’t lost on coach Beau Wardman either, who said his Lions made an extra effort to get around the Kalgoorlie forward after his biggest bag at league level for nearly three years.
“Obviously he got off to the best possible start with that first one and I just thought he competed all day,” Wardman said.
“Swan Districts have got a really organised and disciplined backline and they often hold up and they’re difficult to score against and we knew that was going to be a challenge for us.
“The way he continued to fight through and kick four for us in front of the home fans was great for him and it was really acknowledged and the guys really got around him which was terrific.”
Borchet continues a long line of Subiaco legends to hail from the Goldfields — one of the club’s most prosperous catchment zones — including legendary midfielder Kyal Horsley and two-time West Coast premiership player Dean Kemp.
“We spoke about that during the week — the rich history that Kalgoorlie has provided us in terms of players, and to celebrate those players and celebrate the community that has been a really strong breeding ground for footballers that have come to Subiaco,” Wardman said.
“Football has a rich history in Kalgoorlie itself so to be able to bring that to town and really celebrate it was great.
Wardman heaped praise on a number of his senior players, who lifted in the final term to turn the tide in a contest that had threatened to get away from them.
The Lions made life difficult for themselves with a flurry of forward-half turnovers in the third term, before cleaning up their act in the final term.
The revival was led by premiership skipper Leigh Kitchin, who finished with 33 disposals, imposing ruck Lachie Delahunty, former Docker Stefan Giro and Sokol, who kicked the go-ahead goal and two more after that to sink the Swans.
“Obviously we were in the game and competing well but we just had some costly errors,” Wardman said.
“I thought Benny Sokol had some critical moments but there were a number of individuals who stood up.
“Kitchin and Marsh through the midfield, Stef gave us some really good run and Chaddy Harris off the wing continued to fight and got us going forward which was really important.
“I thought the way that our forwards were able to compete and lock the ball in was pivotal.”
Subiaco also appear to have escaped with a full bill of health, despite initial concerns for former Fremantle livewire Brandon Matera, who had his right knee locked under a Anthony Stephens tackle.
Wardman said Matera had reported hearing a “pop” when he was caught underneath the Swans defender, but after some initial treatment, was able to run out almost a full game.
“He heard a pop but was able to continue on. I just spoke with the physio and the doctor there and they weren’t too concerned,” he said.
“He was able to run out the game, he was probably a little bit proppy and we had the opportunity to use some fresh legs right at the end.
“We are fairly confident he will be right for next week.”
The Lions boss said there was “terrific optimism” among his group after two straight wins but an end to a concerning start to the season in which they lost the first three games of their premiership defence.
The Lions return to Perth and face East Fremantle in footy’s historic return to the WACA Ground on Saturday.