200-gamer in rare company at Sharks

Rupertswood Football Club and Leigh Brennan go hand in hand.

Brennan started his football career at the Sharks in under-10s and hasn’t played anywhere else, despite approaches from other clubs.

On Saturday, he became the second player to play 200 senior games for Rupertswood – he started when the club played in the Victorian Amateur Football Association and crossed with it to the Riddell District Football League.

Brennan kicked two goals in the Sharks 13.7 (85) – 10.10 (70) win against Broadford at the weekend. For the man himself, it was just another game.

“It is surreal and not what I expected when I started at the club,” Brennan said. “I’ve played there my whole life.”

The 200-game milestone is just the latest honour for the star forward.

They include two VAFA premierships, being named in the VAFA division 1 team of the year, VAFA division 1 leading goal-kicker, eight times John Jordan medallist for Rupertswood’s leading goal kicker and RDFL interleague and RDFL team of the year selections last year.

He was co-captain of the Sharks in 2013 and was named at full-forward in the club’s team of the decade.

For the man known as “Rug” or “Ruggy”, the 2009 premiership is the one that stands out.

“The last game of the year we knew we would win,” he said. “The work ethic was huge as we had lost in three preliminary or grand finals in the seasons before. The flag is the ultimate.”

Another premiership is the aim for Brennan, who has no thoughts of pulling the pin just yet.

“I’m a bit of a sports nut and play footy and cricket all year round,” he said. “I’ll keep playing until the body gives up.

“Hopefully, we will steal a flag in the next few years, especially with such a young playing group.

“Some of the older guys – like Nash Egan, Niall McGovern, Brett Chambers and Mitch Gaunt – have played a lot of football together.

“They have a real good football ethic they are passing to the others.”

Brennan and fiance Clare Beatson, who has cystic fibrosis, have left another mark on the club through their fundraising for helping in the fight against the disease.

“I’ve been with Clare for six years and it’s a massive part of our life and to get the playing group involved means a lot to us,” Brennan said.

“Her family is involved with Macedon [the two clubs play an annual game] and it has been pleasing.”

He said raising awareness and helping people was very satisfying.

Sharks president Paul Ross said Brennan was a consummate footballer.

“His loyalty to the club, dedication to everything he commits himself to and unselfish giving of his time to others, including the cystic fibrosis cause, is an inspiration to us all,” he said.