Darren Bennett 'overwhelmed' at Blues life membership honour

LIFE MEMBER: Darren Bennett said he was surprised and overwhelmed at being awarded life membership with the Blues. Picture: Luca Cetta

LIFE MEMBER: Darren Bennett said he was surprised and overwhelmed at being awarded life membership with the Blues. Picture: Luca Cetta

Darren Bennett said he was “overwhelmed” to be named a Blues life member at its recent Back to the Blues reunion dinner.

The former premiership player and president was recognised for his efforts at the club both on and off the field, but said he was not expecting it.

“I was very surprised, I think ‘overwhelmed’ was the word I used when I spoke on the night,” he said.

“You don’t do these roles for the accolades but when they come about it is an honour.”

Mr Bennett has been a Blue since joining the club as a player in 1989.

He only stopped playing football two years ago in a glittering career which saw him played nearly 200 games and win the A grade premiership in 1997 and 1999.

In addition to life membership, Mr Bennett was named in the Blues greatest team at full back on an evening hosted to commemorate 20 years since that first premiership triumph.

“Those grand final victories were the highlight of my career at the club,” he said.

“As part of the weekend we had quite a few teammates back for the celebration and it was a very good night.”

In 2010 he became president of the club, a reign which culminated last year in footy premiership success.

Mr Bennett said he took on the role because he felt he could make a difference.

“It was a highlight after six years of being president to be rewarded with the premiership last year, that was special because we were a long way from it six years before,” he said.

“It came about from a lot of hard work from a big group of people – we have an exceptional group of volunteers in our club and that has been the backbone for our success.

“To be plucked out of that group as a life member makes you feel honoured as there are a lot of others who are deserving.”

He said being part of the club was a big part of his life.

“Country footy clubs are a way of life and it is imperative they survive, even for the towns themselves – I don’t know where we’d be without footy clubs,” he said.

“We might think sometimes it’s a chore, but without it there would be little to do.

“It’s all about that association, that camaraderie.”

Having stepped down as president at the end of 2016 and taken a role in the football club committee in addition to assisting the new president in 2017, Mr Bennett said it was time to take a backwards step.

“I will still be involved in some form for years to come, but I won’t have an official role,” he said.

“For next year I will be happy to be a fan.”

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