A life of play­ing foot­ball

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

Pic­tures: SUP­PLIED

Dou­glas United Drag­ons Nick Houghton, Oliver Mof­fat, Ciaran Lemon and Matt Smith and, in­set, Dou­glas United Drag­ons #12 Matt Smith.

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