Good sportsmanship shines in Masters footy
Batavia Mariners player Brad Fehlauer chuckled as he explained how both games in the Midwest Masters football carnival ended in draws.
“It always does, mate,” he said.
“A few people keep scores, but it’s always written up as a draw to keep the good sportsmanship.
“Masters Association is about playing for kicks, not for premiership points.”
The 40-year-old and his teammates laced up their boots on Saturday to take on Geraldton’s other Masters side, the Mighty Blues.
The carnival also saw the Dongara Eagles and Northampton Rams clash at GBSC Sports Park.
Fehlauer said the games drew the biggest crowds he had seen at a Midwest Masters event.
“It was a brilliant day, and at one stage about 200 people were there,” he said.
Fehlauer — or “Fluffy” as he is affectionately known by teammates — said Masters footy was all about mateship and community spirit.
“It’s about the camaraderie out there between the boys and the families,” he said.
“We had a lot of help from all the ladies.
“The wives made meals and worked in the tuck shop and got the kids involved.”
Fehlauer said players ranged from talented veterans to first-timers. The competition’s oldest player, Willow “General” Williamson — who was sidelined with a shoulder injury — is 65.
“I could almost compare it to watching a reserves match in local league football,” Fehlauer said.
“You’ve got some of the older guys who sit back in the pockets, and then you’ve got the younger guys who play in the middle. Everyone can have a crack.”
The only major injury of the day came when Mariners’ Brad Zis took a knee to the ribs during a contested mark, resulting in three broken ribs.
After a quick trip to hospital, the stoic Zis returned to let teammates know all was well.
“He was actually more concerned that they had to cut off his Mariners guernsey than he was about his ribs,” Fehlauer said.
The event also saw Mariners founder Jeff Clarke inducted into the AFL Masters Hall of Fame, and fellow club stalwart Warren “Blowie” Blowe recognised for his long-running membership.
The next Midwest Masters carnival will be hosted by the Mighty Blues at Geraldton Recreational Ground on June 8.
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