Former fullback having a Ball in the front row
IT WAS one of the more bewildering changes to a player's position in Bundaberg Rugby League's recent history.
The year was 2015.
Colin Scott coached Wallaroos, and in the number one jersey was a strong, speedy footballer by the name of David Ball.
He was reliable at the back, charged into the defensive line with no respect for his body when returning kicks, and crossed the tryline eight times as the team finished fourth.
That off-season, premiership-winning club legend Peter Waters took over as coach, and implemented a local-first player strategy.
The side lacked size in the forwards, which Waters fixed by adding a zero to Ball's fullback jersey.
"Instead of catching the ball and running I get passed the ball and run," Ball said of his move from custodian to battering ram.
It understandably took time for Ball to adjust to his new-found home in the front row, but the now 27-year-old tackled that transition with gusto.
Ball is not concerned about where on the field he plays, as long as he is there, and gets his job done.
"The biggest thing was sorting out my place in the defensive line," he said.
"At fullback you can roam - you don't have a specific place - but in the front row it's a bit different.
"It probably took the whole first year to get used to it but I don't think it's going too bad."
If there's any doubt about Ball's destructive power, a quick look at his 40m try in the preliminary final against Hervey Bay Seagulls is all you need.
He fended an unfortunate Hervey Bay defender into next week, and outran a chasing flock of Seagulls to score the try which turned the final in Wallaroos' favour.
"I think I've watched it about 20 times," Ball joked.
"I've played against the Seagulls for years so to finally get up was great.
"It's been a good year with all of the young fellas, they're all playing really well."
Ball has spent about 13 years at Wallaroos, but this is will be first BRL A-grade grand final appearance.
He, like many other long-term Wallaroos, plan to finish the season on a high.