RUGBY LEAGUE: It was with mixed emotions Peak Downs Junior Pirate Dylan Kalinowsky ran onto the field for his under-17 grand final against the Emerald Brothers.
"I felt overwhelmed but it was a good feeling knowing that in my last season of junior footy I was about to play in the grand final,” he said.
"I was both excited and nervous, I knew it was going to be a hard game and that both teams were going to give it their all on the day.
"I knew that the Pirates team would come together and help each other out and that we would all do our jobs to ensure that we came away with the win.”
The team work paid off as the final siren sounded, declaring the Pirates the premiership winners for the 2017 the Central Highlands Junior Rugby League U17 competition, winning 42-26.
"It was the best feeling knowing that I was going out of junior footy with both the minor premiership and the grand final win and that I had done it with the boys of the Peak Downs Junior Pirates,” he said.
It was the second grand final appearance for the 17-year-old against the Emerald Brothers, who joined the Peak Downs club in 2015.
"I have played rugby league since I was six years old,” the forward said.
"My home town is Dysart but due to the lack of numbers I had to play in other towns.
"I have played with my mate, Willy Goodland since the under-7s in Dysart.”
Both Kalinowsky and Goodland have played for Dysart Bulls, Middlemount Panthers and now the Peak Downs Junior Pirates.
The pair aren't the only team members who have to travel in order to play with the Pirates which is made up of players from Dysart, Tieri, Capella, Middlemount and Central West.
"It is hard but we manage, all players travelled to Tieri this year to train twice a week and were committed to play every Saturday which is why we are winners,” he said.
"On behalf of all the boys I would like to thank our parents for getting us to training and games all over the Highlands.
"I would also like to thank our coaching staff for the commitment and support they have given us throughout our season.”
Though his junior playing days are over, Kalinowsky is unsure whether he will play in the senior competition until teams are confirmed next season.
But for the moment he takes with him plenty of winning memories plus friendships formed with his teammates.
"We are always supportive of each other in the good times and the hard times,” he said.
"We are great mates and consider ourselves brothers.”