The latest player to reach the impressive 100 game milestone for the mighty Blacks is none other than Lachy 'Sunshine' Huntington.
Arriving at the club in 2014 with the swagger of a young man who'd just arrived off the back of a VFL pre-season, the backwards running cap was flicked clean off his head by fellow 100-game veteran David 'The Reptile' Cooper and Sunny quickly made a positive impression on the playing group.
We asked Coops for some words on Sunshine for this momentous occasion:
“The first time I saw him at training I thought he wasn’t the right fit for Blacks. Long hair underneath a backwards Nike cap, really playing up his Port Melbourne status. He soon found a place on the wing in the twos and a place in my heart. His piss poor warm ups suited me perfectly and we took pride in languishing at the back of the pack before games. It was a sad day when he explored greener pastures in the 2pm show, but every father knows that the hardest part of bringing up a child is when you must let them go out into the world on their own. Don’t deny yourself any privileges on this most historic occasion, Sunny. Welcome to the centurion club.”
Finding it hard to break into the senior team that year owing to a savvy 2013 off-season recruiting campaign, Sunny forged the beginning of an outstanding Blacks career under Xavier 'Carrots' Maloney in arguably one of the strongest Reserve grade premiership sides the Blacks have ever seen. It is here that he began to earn his self-appointed nickname of the 'VAFA's ultimate swingman', bouncing from backline to forward line as the team required and becoming an important cog in what became a Senior/Reserves premiership double for the ages.
2015 saw him experience what every young man should in their lives, an opportunity to be mentored by none other than Kent Hannam. He continued to thrive both on and off the field at the Blacks and he may agree some of his favourite Blacks memories were the intensive 2-3 minute warms ups completed with his favourite Riverina pairing of the Reptile and the Foracle in preparation for the 11.40am showing.
An elite performer on footy trips too, the 2015 Thailand trip saw bonds forged with upwards of 25 Blackers that will not soon be forgotten.
From 2016 to the present day, he has turned himself into one of the VAFA’s most talented full forwards. Kicking a swathe of goals and winning games off his own boot (with only the odd mid-game tantrum), while at the same time being able to switch to full back at the drop of a hat and shut down any opposition player as needed. One thing he has not and will not ever improve at however is manning the mark, he'd be the first to admit he's as useful as a witches hat there.
Possibly the most impressive aspect of his career is his diligent application to keeping his body in the condition required to take the field each and every week. He’s completed many sessions away from the club to get himself up and ready for games each and every week.
More importantly, as is the case with so many other ripping individuals at this great club, he's a kind, caring, compassionate young man who always has time for his teammates and his friends, and everyone who has the opportunity to play meet and/or play alongside our boy Sunshine speaks so very highly of him.
We wish Sunshine all the best in his 100th game for the Blacks. No doubt you've got many more match-winning performances left in you!
If you're at the game this weekend, we have the inside word that he may start down back and be swung forward at half time when they need a match winner so look out for that!
- Written by Jordan 'Foracle' Foster