2023 in review: Cranbourne stalwart reaches 200

A guard of honour for the milestone man. 350350 Pictures: ROB CAREW.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

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Scripting a day to give Cranbourne 200-gamer Glenn Osborne the biggest point-of-difference has landed on 17 September 2022.

The biggest match on the footy calendar was a low-scoring slogfest at a drenched RSEA Park.

Cranbourne’s six-point grand final victory was defined by defensive intent, one percenters and second efforts.

“The biggest thing is just effort,” skipper Brandon said about brother Glenn, the 2018 best and fairest.

“You know if he’s going into a contest he’s going to give it his best crack, he’ll put everything into it.

“If there was someone to lock down, he would do the job and win more ball than his opponent at the time.”

After Richmond VFL-listed Austin Johnson kicked three crucial goals for Cheltenham in the qualifying final between the sides, he was held goalless by Osborne in the big dance.

It was the first goalless game Johnson played since his first year of senior footy in 2019, and he came into the contest with multiples in 12 of his 13 local games in 2022.

Star play-maker Zak Roscoe won the best afield medal, but Brandon says Glenn got the players vote when they watched the game back on Mad Monday.

The game, described by Brandon as the best of Glenn’s career, was a microcosm of what Osborne’s career has produced: a tough brand of footy, crucial one-on-one wins and composure late.

“I felt like I had done my hammy at halftime so I don’t know how I went back on,” Glenn recalls.

“I was waiting for my hammy to go, it was grabbing the whole second half, I didn’t know how it didn’t…but I pushed through.

“I didn’t know at the time if it would be my last game ever so I kept working.”

Injuries are inexorable given the way Glenn puts his head over the footy, and the veteran has succumbed to hamstring, nose, ankle, shoulder injuries and concussions.

In between that, there have been three premierships from seven grand finals.

He has shared each success with brother, Brandon.

“Kicking the footy or playing cricket until it was dark, just wanting to make more runs than the other, we’ve always been competitive,” Glenn said.

“It’s funny how you go from that to playing footy with each other as best mates.”

Brandon: “I used torment him as much as I could because I was always faster, I’d push him until he was angry enough to chase me, then I’d just run away.”

“Not much has changed,” Glenn chuckles.

The pair have been the backline leaders in an era of triumph for the Eagles, arriving after a sustained period of adversity.

The brothers both put it down to the stability in the back six which allows each to play to their strengths, and knowing what each will bring.

Prior to 2022, Osborne won the 2016 premiership after four consecutive grand final defeats, a time-frame underpinned by Cranbourne’s inability to get it done on the big stage.

Osborne also played a crucial role in Cranbourne’s undefeated run to the 2011 premiership.

“It felt like we were beating teams before we stepped out on the field,” Glenn reflected.

“We had that confidence that we knew we were going to get the job done, it was a very good year.”

Brandon adds: “Everyone bought in. There were three kilometre time trials before training during season, we were fit as anything, and raring to go and steamrolling into finals.

“There was almost that fear in other sides because we were winning so strongly.”

It was fitting that the Cranbourne stalwart defender was named best-on-ground in his 200th game on Saturday.

It continued a purple patch of form for the 34-year-old who has been named in the best in each of the past seven games, a period that includes three where Brandon was absent.

That stretch without Brandon, in particular, served a reminder to the rest of the competition of Glenn’s important role, his achievements so often having been shaded by Brandon who gets the opposition spearhead.

“I’m not one of the most skilful players, others do the flashy things, for me it’s just about doing the hard work and my bit for the team really,” Glenn said.

“Going in hard and trying to win the ball – that’s what I enjoy doing.

“I probably haven’t been doing the work I normally do behind the scenes.

“Most years I’m working really hard, doing extra running, extra sessions, I’ve been doing bits and pieces but not as much as normal.

“I’m glad I’m still getting a kick and contributing.

“I think I’m just going for it and not holding back.

“It’s year by year at the moment, so I’ve just tried to make the most of it.”