Hawks hero reaches 300 games

Stalwart: Morwell East veteran Brad Gibson played his 300th match for the Hawks last weekend. photograph liam durkin



MORWELL East Football-Netball Club welcomed a new name into prestigious company when Brad Gibson ran out for his 300th game last weekend.

The Hawks veteran had a milestone to remember, booting five goals in a 74-point victory over Boolarra.

Reflecting on his football journey, Gibson said it was an honour to have his name alongside those in the 300 club.

“It’s been a long time, over 21 seasons now, it’s a lot of training nights but it’s nice to join some company up there with that sort of record,” he said.

“I still remember my first senior game out on the Morwell East ground as a 17-year-old, you don’t forget that.”

Like all great club people, the man known as ‘Gibbo’ has been at the Hawks through the highs and lows, and said it was simply a love of the game and the people around the club that kept him going.

“It’s been a good club for all those years,” he said.

“I’ve played with my mates most of the time and played for the club and the jumper.

“One thing I want is to see the club succeed in any grade of footy or netball … I’ve always tried to do the best for the club rather than any individual team.

“I’ve never been the star player or been paid to play but it’s the longevity and the dedication that’s dragged me to 300 rather than pure skills.”

On field success has come at intervals along the way, with a senior premiership in 2005 and a reserves flag in 2009, both of which Gibson pointed to as high points.

“Premierships are always the big one, they’re always ones that stick in the head,” he said.

“They’re definitely the highlights as a team, that’s what you aim for.”

The 2005 senior title was of particular note, as Morwell East broke a 25-year drought under the coaching of Danny Millar.

Going into the decider against an undefeated Yinnar, the Hawks put it all together on the big stage to win 11.5 (71) to 6.8 (44).

“It was absolutely huge, it’s something I won’t forget,” Gibson said.

“After winning the prelim by 10 points to sneak in we had a pretty good day in the grand final.

“You still see the blokes you played with every now and again, it was a pretty special day for the club.”

The 2005 premiership ignited some boom years for Morwell East, as the Hawks played in three more senior grand finals during the next five seasons.

Morwell East also enjoyed particular success in the reserve grade during this time, playing in seven grand finals in a row from 2006 to 2012 and winning four flags in succession starting in 2008.

Gibson, who featured in the best players in the

2009 reserves premiership, said this was his most enjoyable time.

“It was a very successful period for the club, the seniors were probably unlucky to miss a couple through those times but it was probably the brightest patch for a while,” he said.

“We had a lot of good players and there was exceptional depth back then, some of those players in the twos teams could have been playing senior footy but it was very tough to crack into the senior team in that four-five year period from 2005 to 2011.”

As well as the playing side of things, Gibson said he has made some terrific friends at the club.

“Rob Semmler would be one of my best mates, I played a lot of footy with him,” he said.

“Dougie Lock, Brandon Francis and Eric Semmler, have been a pleasure to play with.

“Some club legends as well from Dave Walker to Darren Tatterson, there has been a lot along the way.”

Although he has played in every position on the ground, Gibson has been used mainly as a forward during his career.

When asked how many years he had left, the 39-year-old said “not many”, adding “maybe a couple more but we’ll see.”

Gibson’s 300th game coincided with the Morwell East FNC mid-season ball, which capped off a superb day as the Hawks faithful was able to formally toast someone who has given the club so much.