Werribee has formally acknowledged the contributions of departing player Nathan Laracy and departing coach John Lamont by bestowing both with life membership.
The pair were officially inducted as life members of the club at Thursday night’s Bruce Montgomery Trophy count at Chirnsides by the River in recognition of outstanding service that has provided measurable benefit to the club over an extended period of time.
Laracy was the longest-serving member of 2018 playing group, having arrived at Avalon Airport Oval ahead of the 2010 season from the small town of Barnawartha in Victoria’s northeast.
He played a total of 102 club games in his nine seasons though was restricted to just 34 VFL appearances through injury and a lack of opportunity during the alignment with North Melbourne.
Nonetheless, he remained steadfastly loyal to Werribee and developed a reputation as the ultimate clubman, his “Werribee’s Greatest Shave” campaign in 2017 – during which he shaved off his trademark bushranger beard to raise more than $10,000 for Werribee Mercy Health – highlighting his commitment to his club and its local community.
He ultimately managed to establish himself as his side’s number-one lockdown defender before being derailed by persistent injury problems beginning in early 2016, but he was able to produce one of the feel-good stories of this year with his return to the VFL ranks 854 days after his last appearances to play in Werribee’s final two home-and-away wins and what would be the final two games of his VFL career.
Laracy said it was an “amazing” honour to be granted life membership and paid particular credit to Werribee for helping him through personal tragedy in his early days at the club.
“This [club] has been a massive part of my life for nine years,” said Laracy.
“It was pretty tough coming down here. The first pre-season I was down here, my brother passed away in December, so it’s been a tough road.
“But with this amazing club and this amazing family that I’ve got, I got through those hard times. I just thought of [my brother] every time I ran out or did something for this football club because that’s what he would have wanted.
“The people who are involved in this club just make it such a fantastic place, and it’s not goodbye; it’s 'see you later'. I’ll be back down here.
“It’s been a massive part of my life, so I’m not just going to walk away.”
Lamont’s Werribee connection began as a player in 1992.
A classy left-foot half-forward, he spent two seasons at Chirnside Park and was a member of the club’s sole senior premiership in 1993.
He rekindled his connection with the club through his time as a development coach with North Melbourne, working closely with then senior coaches Paul Satterley and Scott West at training and in the box on games days from 2011 to 2013.
That grounding provided the perfect platform for Lamont to take the reins as senior coach in 2014.
In his five years at the helm, he led the playing group through one of the most challenging periods in the club’s history, which included the move from partial alignment with North Melbourne to full alignment in 2016, a 2017 season without a home ground or home training facilities due to the Avalon Airport Oval redevelopment, and the move to go standalone in 2018.
Lamont said the honour was an unexpected one.
“It’s a complete surprise,” said Lamont.
“I spoke about feeling privileged to have coached the club, and to now to be awarded life membership, I feel honoured. Thank you.”
The Werribee Football Club congratulates Nathan Laracy and John Lamont on their induction into the rank of life membership.