By Gary Stocks
To play 300 games of football, regardless of the level, takes character, commitment and more than a liberal dose of ability.
Tomorrow, one of the legends of North Beach, Brett Anthony will celebrate his 300th game for North Beach when the E2-Grade plays Fremantle CBC under lights at Morris Buzacott Reserve.
Unlike the superstars of the club, like Chris Perkin, Luke Smith, Simon Pearce and Matt Fong, he doesn’t have eight, nine or 10 A-Grade premiership medals to hang around his neck. Yet his contribution is no less significant.
Only a few of those 300 games were played in the A-Reserves, with a sprinkling in the A-Colts, but he has been a part of the fabric of the North Beach Football Club since 1994. He is one of the men who define our club.
And it probably says a fair bit about the bloke that he wasn’t overly excited at drawing any attention to his milestone celebration.
Anthony, or BA as he is universally known, has played for 20 years at the Tigers and started with a premiership in the C-Colts. Disappointingly, while the club marked the past two decades with a string of premierships, BA never played in another.
“The highlight for me was winning a C Colts flag in my first year,” Anthony says. “At the time I took it for granted and it didn’t really mean that much to me.
“For a few different reasons it never really came together for me after that and I missed out on a few grand finals.”
While BA did not savour the sweet taste of success himself, he was an integral part of the amazing run of the Beach and while others enjoyed the ecstasy of premierships he was ensconced in the club culture.
Every player in every grade wants to play in a successful team, but premierships are extremely difficult to win.BA is not defined by flags, but North Beach is defined by people like him.
“I wouldn’t be where I am in life without the footy club,” he said. “Most of my close friends are at North Beach, I met my wife at North Beach and I wouldn’t be where I am with my business if I hadn’t been involved down there.”
BA, who has his own architectural design and drafting business, is also enjoying life in the fifths where there is a unique camaraderie and team ethos which has been developed under coach Peter “the philosopher” Panagopolous.
At 36 years of age Anthony needs to ice his post match sore spots a little more than he once did, but he still enjoys the battle which gives him those bruises.
On a weekend when the club marks the end of an era, it is fitting to pay tribute to the achievements of a great club man.