Future unclear for Tiger great

Lui Zacher
September 1, 2022 / 9:14 pm

TORQUAY captain Ben Raidme says a call on his playing future will come after tomorrow’s BFNL grand final.

The 35-year-old is unsure whether he will join coach Dom Gleeson in hanging up the boots following the clash with Barwon Heads at Grinter Reserve or play on with the Tigers in 2023.

“In all honesty, I haven’t made a decision either way,” Raidme, who will return after missing the second semi-final win over the Seagulls, said.

“I think my wife would be more than happy if I said this was the last game.

“I just don’t want to lock myself into it either way until the game’s been played.

Raidme says preparing for a grand final coupled with work and family has given him little chance to think about whether he adds to his 106 games in yellow and black.

“Probably because I’ve grown up playing footy since I was five years old, it’s just the norm,” he said.

“It’s hard to just put a full stop on that, I find.”

After a hamstring issue sidelined him a fortnight ago, Raidme says he is “100 per cent” to take on Barwon Heads.

“I could have probably played the last one, and I was itching to play the last one,” he said.

“It really didn’t sit well with me that I had to miss.

“The coaching staff around me were really supportive and gave me reassurance that it’s worth cashing in on the double-chance.

“My ego was saying I wanted to play, but the wise heads around helped me make a smarter decision.

“It feels good.”

Raidme debuted as a 16-year-old in 2004 and was a premiership player and two-time best-and-fairest winner by age 20.

After being part of Torquay’s stunning run from an elimination final to a flag in 2006, he tried his hand at higher levels, firstly with Grovedale and then South Barwon in the GFL before becoming a regular member of Geelong’s VFL team.

Raidme returned to McCartney Oval ahead of the Tigers’ successful 2017 season.

However, he had to watch on as Torquay stopped Geelong Amateur’s quest for a record-equalling fourth consecutive premiership after rupturing his ACL for a second time earlier in the season.

Raidme says this is the chance to get the medal he missed out on five years ago.

“It’s definitely another opportunity,” he said. “2019 came and went, and we were unsuccessful in the attempt there.

“I’d love to taste success again with Torquay, absolutely.”

Torquay made light work of Barwon Heads in the second semi-final, storming to a 75-point win.

However, Raidme has played down the significance of that result heading into Saturday.

“We don’t read a whole heap into our result last time we played Barwon Heads because anything can happen on grand final day.

“We’re on a new deck, changes to both sides.

“So, it’ll be interesting to see who adjusts to the conditions and the ground quicker.”

Meanwhile, veteran Roscoe Holmes appears to be the player to make way for Raidme.

The 40-year-old triple-premiership winner with Queenscliff has been listed as an emergency in the team submitted online by the Tigers.

Image: Torquay star Ben Raidme. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)