Sims pulls on boots for 350th game

Shaun Sims laced up for his 350th game on the weekend. (Shaun Sims)

By Oliver Lees

Diggers Rest football legend Shaun Sims has added yet another milestone to his storied career, as he ran out for his 350th match for the Burras on the weekend.

Sims’ tally includes matches from his first match as an under-18’s player in 2001, to seniors and reserves football in the Riddell District Football League.

Speaking before the Burras reserves match against Romsey, Sims said it was difficult to pinpoint a singular favourite moment from his 20-year playing career.

“It’s been about the journey,” Sims said.

“Definitely I’ve been thinking more about the friendships I’ve made and all of the opportunities that game has given me outside of football.

“I’ve been lucky enough to captain for a long time and I also moved into assistant coaching and then coaching. I’ve taken lessons from these things into my work life and professional life, too.”

Sims made an immediate impact upon arriving at the Burras, as he led the under-18’s side to a premiership as captain in 2002.

In 2001, Sims was awarded the club’s best and fairest as well as the RDFL’s Doug McIntyre Medal.

He went on to serve as the Burras senior captain from 2004 to 2012, earning a place in the RDFL’s team of the year in seven straight seasons.

Sims then went on to coach the seniors from 2014 to 2017, leading the club to a memorable 2016 premiership, their first since 1993.

“That 2016 win was a real highlight after losing so many grand finals before,” Sims said.

I still remember the feeling in the rooms afterwards, the relief that it was done. That year definitely played a major role in the years that followed.”

Burras club president Ben Morse said Sims has set the tone at the club for years.

“He’s done everything at the club, but more than anything, he’s led the culture of the club,” Morse said.

“He sets the standards through the way he treats people, his pride in the place, and the way he carries himself. He’s defined what is expected of a Diggers Rest player.”

Morse also said he was especially grateful for Sims’ contribution to the drought-breaking 2016 premiership.

“The amount of joy it brought the supporters and members was incredible,” Morse said.

“We’d had quite a few near misses, but Shaun’s work and effort throughout it all was unmatched.”

Now playing in the Burras reserves side, Sims has made a contribution in front of goal, slotting six goals in two matches.

The Burras reserves team sits third on the ladder with six wins and one loss after seven rounds.

Looking ahead, Sims said he’s doing his best to savour every match.

“Once you get to this stage, you just play every game like it’s your last,” Sims said.

“Someone once told me to just play until you can’t play again, because once it’s over you’re going to miss it.”