SFL 2017 Round One Mercury Article
NATHAN Brown has spent more than 10 years playing for the Claremont Football Club — a show of loyalty that will be typified on Saturday when he takes the field in his 200th game for the Magpies against Sorell.
The Claremont captain made his debut in reserves back in 2006 and since then has skippered the side in back-to-back SFL premierships in 2015 and 2016.
Brown, the 2015 William Leitch medallist, said he was eager to kick off the Magpies’ quest for a third consecutive premiership in their season opener against the Eagles at Abbotsfield Park.
“It’s a great way to start with a 200th game and it’s been on my mind a lot,” Brown said. “I have always been part of Claremont, my brother always played so I was always watching him before I started playing.
“I used to play soccer then I got asked to fill in for a reserves game [in 2006] and that was it.
“There is a bit of pressure with that [the milestone], but I will put it to the back of my mind and focus on getting the win.” Brown believes the SFL will be a lot more evenly contested this year and was conscious of the fact a three-peat would be no easy task.
“Other teams have improved a lot so we have to as well,” Brown said.
“A lot have improved and it’s good now the competition is not a one-horse race. We have new blokes in and have kept some of the older players too.”
Coming off an eight-point grand final victory over Lindisfarne last September, Claremont coach David Hunt said the goal of a third straight crown was alive among his players.
The club has lost important players Sean Salter and Nathan Matthews to retirement but has gained two former Glenorchy players in Simon Spence and Michael Badcock.
“The boys are definitely not satisfied with winning two premierships,” Hunt said.
“Three [straight] is very difficult but that’s our aim and we are not shying away from that.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves in any sport and the boys realise it’s got to be earnt.”
Elsewhere this weekend, New Norfolk kicks off its journey to return to premiership contention against Brighton at Boyer, while Huonville hosts Hobart and Dodges Ferry takes on Cygnet at Shark Park. The 2016 minor premier and losing grand finalist Lindisfarne opens 2017 with a bye.
ANOTHER Magpie reaching a milestone is Scott Webster. The former senior coach and player will play his 300th game for Claremont in the reserves on Saturday.