Sunrise is a magical part of the day. Growing up on a farm in the west of Australia afforded me a lifestyle of early mornings and golden rays of light peering over the hills to the east as I headed off with Dad to do the things that farmers do.
On Sunday a quietly spoken, highly respected and unassuming kid from Kimba will run out onto Simonds Stadium to play an AFL game for the 300th time. He wears No.44 and he is Geelong’s sunrise. Predictable, dependable and full of warmth from a big heart, Corey Enright is someone who just brightens up your day.
When a player is verging on 34 and about to play his 300th game, we are often talking about twilight and sunsets, but when it comes to defining Corey Enright, I believe sunrise is a far better parallel to draw.
When I arrived at the Geelong Football Club in November, 2007 Corey Enright – or Boris as I would soon come to know him – was at the top of his game. My eyes were wide as I walked into the Geelong family.
“His mind and body are the parts of his make-up that many will rightfully pat him on the back for this week, but it is his spirit and his heart that I believe will leave a legacy far greater once No.44 heads off on his next great adventure.” – harry taylor on corey enright
I devoted my first few months at the football club to observation, and Boris was someone who grabbed your attention. Not in the same way the dazzling display of dexterity demonstrated by Gaz jnr did, nor the way the commanding voices of Lingy and Scarlo made you stand still in awe. Boris’ method was from a more subtle angle.
He led the way with his commitment to the values of our team and the care he showed for his teammates – not just for one training session or one quarter of a game, but in every moment, every day. It was the accumulation of his high standards of commitment to our team’s values that left me clear as to why this guy was held in such high esteem.
Eight years on nothing has changed. Boris stills takes point when it comes to showing care and commitment for our culture and every teammate within our group.
Let me talk about his on-field influence first. Consistency is a key component of any great player’s definition. Boris is the expression of consistency within our team. In a world where the moods and momentum of individuals generally swing like a pendulum, Boris has maintained equilibrium. A constant in a place where things are constantly changing.
Eight years of living in and observing the AFL world has convinced me that this is not an easy thing to do. Like the morning sun, Boris just keeps getting himself right for the occasion, turning up and doing the job that’s required of him. Predictable and dependable. Great teams are great because of the Boris types.
Sometimes you watch that sun come up and you think it’s a bit more memorable than the sunrise before. Ever now and again Boris has one of those games where you just walk off the field and, in a quiet moment of reflection you realise how lucky you are that in your 170 games of AFL football, Boris has been there looking out for you 161 times.
The sunrise was full of colour on September 5, 2009 in front of 74,000 fans at the MCG, my 41st game for the Cats and Boris’ 173rd. He started the game on fire with 15 first-quarter possessions, and ended up with 35 touches of the Sherrin, helping book the Cats our spot in the preliminary final. I walked off the ground that day thinking this was a sunrise to remember.
On-field influence is one thing, but Boris’ influence around the change rooms has been profound. His mind and body are the parts of his make-up that many will rightfully pat him on the back for this week, but it is his spirit and his heart that I believe will leave a legacy far greater once No.44 heads off on his next great adventure.
He is a very caring individual who always wants the best for the team. For many that’s an easy ideal to have and perhaps perform for periods of time, but Boris has managed to both preach and practice a team-first attitude for the length of a 299-game career. Sunday will be no different.
He is affable and authentic, the type of guy you want to have a beer with and run out through the banner with. He embodies the culture we as a football club have tried to create.
The kid from Kimba is a breath of bright light that wakes you up and gets you in a good mood. As the sun rises on June 21, Boris will rise, too, continuing to shine his ever-consistent light on the Cats.