Matthew Carey reaches 300 game mark for Western Districts

MILESTONE MAN: Matthew Carey leading his Western Districts team-mates off the field after the match against Wirrulla. Picture: Supplied
MILESTONE MAN: Matthew Carey leading his Western Districts team-mates off the field after the match against Wirrulla. Picture: Supplied

Matthew Carey has been playing football for Western Districts since before some at the club were born and he is not planning to hang up the boots yet.

Carey recently played his 300th game for the club in a career spanning 25 years, which has resulted in club and regional accolades, as well as two premiership successes.

The 42-year-old began his Tigers’ career in 1993 and is thrilled to still be part of the club to this day.

“After playing for 25 years you would expect to reach a milestone or two but it was good to do it for one club,” he said.

“I have gone season by season and if feeling fit enough I would play.

“We were struggling for players so I helped out – I coach the colts so was already at training and joined up with the seniors.”

Carey’s milestone appearance did not end the way he would have planned, as the Tigers were defeated by three goals against Wirrulla, 10-8 (68) to 13-8 (86).

“It was a good feeling to run out there, unfortunately we couldn’t get the win,” he said.

“It was normal too, because after playing so many games it wasn’t so different from any other time.”

Sitting in fourth after two wins and three losses to start the 2017 campaign, Carey said a top four spot was the Tigers’ aim.

“We won’t be top of the pack but we will be pushing for the finals.”

Mr Carey already knows what it takes to go all the way, having tasted premiership glory with the club.

He was the best on ground in the victorious 2002 grand final against West Coast Hawks and was part of the team that got past Wudinna two years later.

He was Western Districts’ A grade best and fairest in both 1997 and 2000, the runner-up in 1998, 2001, 2007 and 2009, and part of the 2002 Mortlock Shield Team of the Year.

”The first part of my career was a struggle, there was a lack of numbers at the time,” he said.

“The two premierships are a great memory, so too was playing association football and winning the Mortlock Shield.”

Having reached the 300-game mark, Carey said he would continue to be part of the club in some capacity in the foreseeable future.

“I was hoping to miss A grade this year and just enjoy the B grade – I want to play for another year or so in the B grade,” he said.

“I definitely see myself part of the club after I finish playing, it is community involvement during the winter season.

“I imagine I will be involved with coaching or something around the club in the future and there is always a need for volunteers.”

More than premierships, he said the camaraderie was something he would treasure.

“The club means good times and good friends,” he said.

“There is a great community feel here, you feel like you belong.

“Now I want to give back – I was coached well in my younger days and want to do the same.”