For Kane Goodchild, a third league-leading goalscoring title, or a minor premiership, was never the ultimate goal.
The imposing Hamilton striker, who has mixed police rugby union and league games with his Northern NSW NPL duties, dreams of scoring the winner in a grand final.
And with the challenge of returning to a rebuilding Charlestown next season, the 30-year-old wants to make the most of what he sees as a great opportunity to do that with Olympic this year.
Goodchild won his third NPL scoring title in four years, finishing with 14 goals for the campaign to beat Valentine’s Jalon Brown and Lake Macquarie’s Sam Walker, who both had 12.
The reigning NPL player of the year was “very happy” with his season and another scoring title but he was focused on the greater prize of team glory as second-placed Hamilton prepare for their two-leg semi-final against Lambton Jaffas starting on Sunday at Edden Oval.
And Goodchild was driven to make another grand final and go a step further after losses with Hamilton in 2015 and Azzurri in 2008.
“Two grand final losses and that’s it. There’s been no minor premierships, so I want to win something,” Goodchild said. “Next year is going to be a challenge. A different style of club, a different committee and coaching staff and a different calibre of youth, because Hamilton’s youth teams are spectacular. That shows in the back-to-back club championships they’ve won.
“It’s going to be harder next year, in terms of winning a grand final, so we’ve got a very good opportunity this year with a good, fit squad in the finals, so hopefully this is the year. I want to make my time playing first grade worth something.”
And for Goodchild, the greatest way of doing that is with a grand final win.
“I still have dreams of scoring the winner in the grand final, so hopefully that comes true this year,” he said. “I’m not so fussed about the minor premierships. I know a lot of people think it’s a big accolade but there’s nothing greater than winning the grand final in Northern NSW.”
Hamilton have given up leads to lose 3-2 to Jaffas twice this year but Goodchild was confident they could turn it around in the semis, especially with the extra motivation of sending coach Michael Bolch and several players out of Olympic as winners.
“We haven’t thought about the two losses to them because we were pretty confident with the way we played and we didn’t think the results really reflected the games,” he said. “I think out of the top four, we’re happy to be playing them. I don’t think it will be easy, especially with Jobe [Wheelhouse] coming back, but the boys will be up for it.
“I think everyone is pretty keen to finish it off with a win. The end is near, and we know that, and I think the boys will lift.”