Jack Crisp driven to make legendary Pa proud

BOB Crisp lived for the day his grandson’s football achievements would overshadow his own claim to fame as a star of his rural Victorian town’s only ever premiership side.

He was heartbroken when Jack Crisp was overlooked in last year’s draft, but when the Brisbane Lions took a punt on the gangly

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speedster and called his name in the rookie draft, Bob’s dreams for his beloved grandson were realised.

Tragically he died before he got the chance to see Jack make his AFL debut.

The 18-year-old is from the third generation of Crisp men to have footy in their blood.

His dad Matthew was a promising junior before he suffered severe injuries in a car crash in his late teens.

Although he was never the same athlete after the crash, he returned to the game he loved and battled his way to more than 200 games of tough bush footy as a key forward and then went on to coach Myrtelford, where his brother Simon also had a distinguished career.

Matthew was an inspiration to his son, but as a builder with a busy local business the job of ferrying the aspiring young midfielder around fell to his proud Pa, who owned the local hardware store that Jack’s mum Kate still works in.

Jack made a fine start to his AFL career, debuting in the Lions’ round 4 QClash win over the Suns, has held his place in the team and will line up against Collingwood at the Gabba on Saturday night.

“I got asked to play my first game the week after he died,” Jack said.

“I was very close to him and really wanted to do my best for him and do him proud.

“He took me to just about every footy training I ever went to and he never missed a game.

“It meant a lot to him that I got drafted, he was very happy for me.”

Bob was too sick to attend Jack’s debut in the NAB Cup but his final weeks were brightened by the DVDs the Lions sent down for him to watch.

Bob Crisp is a legend in Myrtelford, having starred in the footy-mad town’s Ovens and Murray league’s 1970 premiership.

He played alongside former Richmond star Len Ablett, an uncle of Geelong great Gary, in that Myrtelford side but his greatest football interest was always his grandson.

“He loved footy, our home town Myrtelford only has the one premiership and he played in that,” Jack said.

“He was a bit of a tough nut playing footy. He loved taking me to the footy and really wanted to see me to succeed.

“That’s what I’m trying to do for him.”

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