A life of playing football
THE longest serving member of the Douglas United Football Club currently playing is Matt Smith who has been associated with the club for 29 years.
“My Dad introduced me to the game and to the club when I was 6 years old and although he’s an American, he knew less about Aussie rules and league so it was the best of the options,” Matt said.
Matt was born in Port Douglas to local business people, Larry and Robyn Smith, and, apart from a five-year stint at boarding school in Cairns, has lived here, in the shire, all his life.
“I played football and basketball until I was 15, but at boarding school I was told I could choose only one sport and football won,” he said.
Matt has always played as an attacker, in the midfield or upfront and admits he is “a lousy defender”.
Some of his fondest memories of being a member of the Dragons are playing in finals when in the Premier League.
“The bus trips home when we won the premierships were memorable,” Matt said.
“When we got back to Port, there were, of course, celebrations in the pubs with all of us still wearing our medals.”
But it seems the best part of being a member of the club is the friendships built over the years.
“You spend three nights a week for eight months a year training or playing games with the same guys,” he said.
“So it’s a given they’re going to become good mates.”
Matt’s partner, Stephanie, watches most home games and joins in the after-game socialising.
“She’s asked what I will do if I ever give up,” Matt said.
Matt is 35 years old and he laughs when retiring from the game is mentioned.
“I have been saying that I will retire for the past few years, but I think this could be the year,” he said. “It’s been a good run.”
But he is convinced that he will always continue his association with the club, going to games and enjoying a few beers with his mates.
Douglas United Dragons Nick Houghton, Oliver Moffat, Ciaran Lemon and Matt Smith and, inset, Douglas United Dragons #12 Matt Smith.