The worst run of injuries he's seen in more than 30 years of Bendigo football was the reason behind Derrick Filo's shock return to the playing field on Saturday.
Filo, the co-coach of Castlemaine, hadn't played a BFNL game since 2011, but he pulled on the boots on Saturday out of desperation and played in the forward pocket for the Magpies.
"We had so many players out with injury and I couldn't ask another kid to double up,'' Filo said on Tuesday.
"I thought bugger it, it's the last game of the year, I'll just sit in the forward pocket and fill a number.
"I don't think people outside of the club realise how hard it's been for us this year.
"From the list of best 22 players we had at the start of the year I think we only had seven of them play on Saturday.
"Our top 10 players have missed something like 72 games between them for the season.
"The clubs at the top of the ladder like Strathfieldsaye and Eaglehawk can cover that because of their depth. When you're a club like ours that's trying to get off the bottom of the ladder it just kills you.
"It's been brutal. It's the worst run of injuries I've seen."
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Filo said the winless Magpies regularly had 20 players unavailable across the seniors and reserves.
"We would have needed a list of 65 players this year to make it sustainable,'' Filo said.
"Even in the last game on Saturday we had two players go down injured by halfway through the second quarter.
"It's not just the injuries that keep players from playing. Some players played in games when they weren't 100 per cent fit as well.
"People outside of the club can think what they like about our club, but it's been really hard to judge this year."
Star duo Angus Monfries and Jake O'Brien have indicated they want to return to the club next year.
With a dearth of one point players compared to the well-stocked power clubs of the league, the Magpies face the tough task of finding a way to recruit talent to help the likes of Monfries and O'Brien while still staying under their player points allocation.
At the very least the Magpies need to find a forward pocket to replace Filo who was happy to return to retirement.
Despite being on the wrong side of 50 (not for the first time in his career Filo refused to give his age), the BFNL great kicked two goals from set shots in the 25-goal loss to the Bloods.
"I should have kicked three. I missed an easy one,'' Filo said with a chuckle.
"I pulled up a bit sore. I haven't done much for a while. I'd much rather have not played, but that's the position we were in."
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