K rock Football

Giant Eagle prepares to play on

Veteran Newtown & Chilwell ruckman David Fanning will play on in 2021. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NEWTOWN & Chilwell’s quest for a first flag in 35 years has received a boost with veteran ruckman David Fanning set to play on.

The 36-year-old former Collingwood player was contemplating retirement following the Eagles’ finals exit last year before a conversation with coach Damien McMahon had Fanning commit to season 2020.

However, with COVID-19 getting in the way, Fanning will benefit from an extra 12 months of freshening his body.

“I got myself all fired up to play this year, and the body was feeling good after a little bit of a break,” he said.

“There was a disappointment in not being able to play this year, but it’s left me with a fair bit of drive to get another year and continuing improving at Newtown.

“The break does refresh you, and I probably feel a bit more mentally refreshed because of not having to travel all the time.”

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A move with his family from Melbourne to the Surf Coast later this year was also a factor in Fanning’s decision, with long trips in the car for training and match-day a thing of the past.

He also missed not being able to spend time with his teammates in 2020.

“It’s going to be a lot easier to duck up to the club, and you’ll probably see me up the club a lot more because of that,” he said.

“We’ve been able to create such a great place at Newtown that we want to be up at the club, and you want to be there and to see people.”

Fanning will enter 2021 on 88 matches in red and black, and he’s keen to reach the 100-game milestone before he retires.

However, despite turning 37 in July, he hasn’t locked himself into retirement at the end of next season.

“I have to keep playing it by year – with just how my body’s going,” Fanning said.

“As you get older, you get the quotes of “you’re a long time retired” going through your head, but it is just a year-by-year at this stage.”

Twitter: @tom_king79