Kane Barbuto relishes his time to shine on big stage

Kane Barbuto
Kane Barbuto celebrates a third quarter goal. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Tara Murray

Keilor skipper Kane Barbuto had to check that Saturday afternoon wasn’t a dream, as he led his side to an Essendon District Football League premier division premiership.

Barbuto starred for the Blues as they held off Aberfeldie to complete the perfect season, with their 20th straight win.

He said it was pretty special.

“I can’t really describe it,” he said in the rooms after the game.

“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in. I said to Mick [McGuane] straight after the game, is it a dream?

“It’s such an emotional year with the adversity that we’ve had to go through, it’s just a great feeling.

“It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Barbuto said for him, the focus was getting a good start and going from there.

He kicked the Blues first goal and would finish with three goals for the game.

“I had to get stuck in early. As midfielders we have to get the territory game going.

“To get on the end of a couple of goals early, you know it’s your day come up.

Kane Barbuto
Kane Barbuto. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

“I got a little bit more attention in the second half, but that’s what you play all the other 19 games of the season for. It’s what it is about, getting used to that sort of attention.

“To be able to finish off with a few goals, premiership medal around my neck and a Reg Rose [best on ground medal], I’m excited.”

It didn’t come as a surprise to many that Barbuto was named best on ground – five of the eight EDFL tipsters had Barbuto as their pick to take out the medal before the game.

The man himself had no idea as he tried to hold his nerves intact.

“I tried to keep as much of a social media ban before the game as possible. I do get a bit nervous and I hang for the ball to be balled up, then it’s my time to shine.

“I probably got a couple of messages from family, that think I’m a bit selfish.”

The premiership win didn’t come without a couple of hiccups.

Barbuto hurt his shoulder in the second quarter, before suffering cramp in the dying minutes.

“I copped a stinger right on the AC joint and got it strapped just before half-time and worked through it. I don’t know if I was as strong on the right side as I usually am.”

The premiership is Barbuto’s second with the Blues, having been part of the 2016 premiership.

He said both were special.

“The last one was amazing, it was my first premiership and I got to play with my brother,” he said. “To be able to captain a side and lead a team, that’s really special to me.

“At the moment I can’t separate them. In the future, if I reflect, I might be able to but at the moment I can’t split them.”