Decorated Damon puts team before milestone
THE UNFLAPPABLE Damon Stebbings has never shirked a challenge on the football field for his beloved BITS Saints.
However when the Gladstone Observer sports reporter Nick Kossatch asked what the upcoming 350th game milestone match against Glenmore on May 21 meant to Stebbings, he baulked.
"I don't really hold that well, the individual stuff because it's a team game," Stebbings said.
He has just played his 348th match against Yeppoon for the reserves side and although it was a thumping, he recalled the 10 senior premierships he was involved in.
"I was just 17 at the time when the club was struggling back then and played my first game against Yeppoon in 1990," Stebbings recollected.
"I played my first A grade grand final in 1993, but we won in 1994 against Yeppoon in Glenmore."
Stebbings became captain of the club in 1995 before a two-year stint in a competition in Brisbane before returning to where it all started.
From 1998, Stebbings was a member of another successful dynasty of flags where he played in seven more grand final triumphs.
It included a golden run of four flags from 2000-2003.
It did not stop there.
"I started playing reserves and won two more grand finals with the last in 2011," Stebbings said.
2011 proved a double dose of challenges for Stebbings.
But he took it with aplomb.
"I was president of the club and it was a battle to juggle both," he said.
The decider was tougher than anticipated especially when Yeppoon (again) mounted a challenge.
"We went through undefeated all year and it was a tight tussle until the last quarter where our fitness was too good," Stebbings said.
Stebbings did back-pedal a little and said that he is looking forward to the night where he can celebrate his 350th match with his mates.
While this is an incredible milestone, Stebbings wants to continue in what is the start of a second generation family tradition.
"I played footy in the same team as my dad Noel when I first started and my goal is to play with Freddie my son," he said.
"That's what I'm looking forward to."
Like his dad, Freddie 15, is a strapping ruckman-cum-defender and once that is accomplished - once Freddie matures - that will be when Stebbings will entertain the idea of hanging up his boots.