A football fantasy that would have WA great Ross Glendinning in his prime manning up on Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich, or trying to kick goals in his latter years on Luke McPharlin, is a dream not lost on the man himself.
Glendinning said he retired at the end of 1988 because of the daunting pace and agility of full-backs Chris Langford and Gary Pert, despite booting a career-high 73 goals in the Eagles' second season.
But Glendinning often ponders how he and other players from previous eras would adapt to the rigours of the game today.
"I'd love to spend a week as a player now, just to sense what it's like … just to get a feel," he said.
"You think you know how intense it is, but to play the game, do all the training and have the capacity to build your fitness base and recover and have all the ancillary support they have, it would be interesting to see if you'd become a better player or would you still be the same player?
"We'd usually play on a Saturday afternoon, do 10 to 15 laps at Arden Street on a Sunday morning and then you might have a couple of cans and watch World of Sport. Some of the younger boys would go and watch the VFA game of the day and have a fair crack and then train again on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.
"It's not to say past champions couldn't adapt, but that's where it's interesting."
Glendinning marvels at modern midfielders who sometimes run more than 16km a game. He would have reached only half that distance in one week's training and a game put together.
It is remarkable that despite winning the 1983 Brownlow Medal, being inducted in the Australian Football Hall of Fame (2000), WA Football Hall of Fame (2004) and North Melbourne Hall of Fame (2012), and named the centre half-back in the Kangaroos' team of the century, Glendinning never won a premiership at any level, including juniors.
Agonisingly, a clearance wrangle between North Melbourne and East Perth forced him to miss the Kangaroos' 1977 flag, after an initial tied grand final against Collingwood, while he played in the Royals' first semifinal loss to West Perth.
The following year, after an agreed transfer that finally sent him to North Melbourne in a deal that saw champion rover Barry Cable head home to East Perth, he played in the Kangaroos' 18-point grand final loss to Hawthorn.
He was one of North's best, but could only watch as Cable led the Royals to a two-point premiership victory over Perth.
Glendinning did play a key role in WA's euphoric State of Origin victory over Victoria in 1977.
"I must have been a jinx somewhere," he said.
"I was just disappointed we'd lost the one at North in '78 because it was nip and tuck with Hawthorn during the year as to who was the better team.
"But you can't change it. You can get a bit 'if only, if only', but you can't change it.
"At the time, the decisions you make on and off the field you think are the right ones at the time, so you can't then say, 'if only I'd done that', because you don't know that at the time. You do get more philosophical, but why get cranky about it?
"I don't get dirty about not having won a premiership, but it would be nice to have one."
After nine seasons and 190 games with North, Glendinning and his wife Kerrie, who was pregnant at the time with their third of four children, had already decided to move home to Perth at the end of the 1986 VFL season.
Just as he was preparing for an East Perth return, a call from inaugural West Coast chairman Richard Colless came midway through that year to court him with the Eagles captaincy.
The timing could not have been more perfect and he quickly helped organise a Melbourne meeting between WA expatriates Simon Beasley, Jon Dorotich, John Annear, Dean Turner, Phil Narkle and Ken Hunter. Not all decided to make the move home, but his decision was simple.
Glendinning said he had been surprised by the 2009 approach from West Coast to return to the fold after a long absence to take up the coveted position as No.1 ticket holder, admitting he had "grown apart" from the club following his retirement.
He said the breach widened in 2001 and 2002 when he became Fremantle's chairman of selectors, but denied any animosity between him and the Eagles.
"That's been said to me before, but it wasn't generated by me saying I didn't want anything to do with the club at all," he said.
The Eagles' invitation came in the same year Glendinning's father, former East Perth defender Gus, passed away.
He had been a key influence on the career of his famous son, who initially started with the Royals under the father-son rule.
"Dad said he was a great kick, but I saw him put a few through the louvers in the backyard at home, so he probably wasn't that good," Glendinning said.
"Before most of my games, he gave me more positive stuff.
"He just loved it, but he was also pretty hard and you knew that if you didn't get a comment after a game you went all right."
Glendinning is now West Coast's full-time corporate relations manager, liaising with 32 sponsors and partners and overseeing the Border Patrol community contact program.
He said having the honour of being the Eagles' inaugural captain in 1987 was a special part of his career and he felt comfortable in his new role compared to a more hands-on football position after he had tested those waters at Fremantle.
"I don't feel at all disconnected to Freo and I quite like watching both the teams play," he said."But while it was a wonderful insight for me, it made me realise that being close to the coalface of footy wasn't exactly where I wanted to be a lot of the time."
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