K rock Football

Milestone for loyal Eagle

Matt McMahon will play his 200th game for Newtown & Chilwell in Saturday’s clash with South Barwon. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

MATT McMahon has lost count of the number of phone calls he’s received at the end of every season from football clubs enquiring about his services.

The two-time Mathieson medallist, who will make his 200th appearance for Newtown & Chilwell against South Barwon on Saturday, has received a range of offers over the years; some he’s entertained, some he’s politely declined.

But, in the end, none have been able to lure him away from his beloved Eagles.

“I’ve been totally upfront with Newtown, and they’ve known about everything that I’ve been offered,” McMahon said.

“And they also know my No.1 priority is to play all my football at Newtown.

“It’s difficult at times when you have a family; you’ve got kids, a house, a mortgage to think about.

“But I just love being around the environment Newtown has and the people that are really close to me.”

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A Newtown & Chilwell junior, McMahon made his senior debut in Round 4, 2007 against Geelong West-St Peter’s, with recently retired Geelong great Peter Riccardi his first opponent.

“I had no idea he’d be standing next to me at the start of the game,” McMahon recalled.

“But when you’re playing GFL football, you’re going to come up against really good players and ex-AFL players.

“In a way, it made it a bit more special playing against someone that had had a really good career at AFL level.

“It’s a good story to tell. I was about half his size; he had the big barrel chest, and he was bloody hard to tackle, that’s for sure.”

Team success has so far eluded McMahon, with a grand final appearance in 2015 the closest the 29-year-old has come to helping Newtown & Chilwell to its first GFL senior premiership since 1986.

“You think about it all the time. I don’t know if losing one is the driving force, but you play a team sport to get the ultimate success,” he said.

“I guess it’s a driving force altogether. You see sides that win a premiership, and they are always around the mark because they love that feeling of success.

“If I wasn’t striving for a premiership, I don’t whether I’d be playing because I’m competitive and that’s what’s on the line.”

However, if that drought-breaking flag doesn’t come to Elderslie Reserve, McMahon will still be content with what football has given him.

“The thing that keeps me at Newtown every year is that I love the people, I’ve got all my best friends, and it’s just a really good environment there,” he said

“I’ve built a lot of good friendships, and I’d walk away from footy pretty happy if I weren’t lucky enough to win a premiership.

“But, we’re on the right track, and I feel like the club’s closer now than what it has been since I’ve been playing senior football.”

Twitter: @tom_king79
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