Retired Peel Thunder legend Rory O’Brien will join his brothers Josh and Mackenzie at Pinjarra this year with the Tigers eyeing back-to-back Peel Football and Netball League flags.
The 2013 Sandover medallist and dual premiership player will don the black and gold with his two younger brothers as he enters his first year of retirement from an illustrious WAFL career with both Peel and East Fremantle.
While they will be missing brother Brock, who remains with the Sharks in the WAFL, the trio said they were enjoying the prospect of playing together for the first time this season.
I’ve found myself training with a smile on my face againRory O'Brien on his return to Pinjarra
“We’ve never had all three of us playing in the same game, so it’s pretty exciting that we’ll finally be able to do that,” Josh said.
“Mum’s pretty stoked.”
Mackenzie has already established himself as a three-time league premiership player with the Tigers, while Josh remains a long-standing member of the club.
Rory returns to the club that developed him through junior football for the first time since his colts days, and brings with him a wealth of WAFL experience.
The five-time best and fairest winner (three East Fremantle, two Peel Thunder) said his return to the country had rekindled his passion for the game.
“It’s been amazing being back at Pinjarra. I think I’ve come back and rediscovered that natural love for the game you have when you’re a kid,” he said.
“Obviously you’re still training hard and trying to get the best out of yourself, but it’s been nice to be out here without the pressure of a WAFL structure.
“I’ve found myself training with a smile on my face again.”
Rory brings to Tigerland the experience that comes with 244 games at the league level in the WAFL.
The two-time state representative said he was looking forward to sharing some of that wisdom with the club’s strong crop of juniors making their way through the ranks.
“I’m not really sure what kind of role I’ll play in terms of being a leader, but I’ll definitely pass on the things I’ve learned throughout my career to some of the younger boys,” he said.
“I really want to be a part of that next wave of footballers coming through and help push them to the next level.”
The 31-year-old never considered anywhere else upon his return to the country.
“I got a few phone calls, but it was always Pinjarra,” he said.
“The family ties are pretty strong here.”