West Football Club held its annual Past Players and Officials Reunion on Sunday, headlined by well known sportsman and guest speaker David Parkin.
The event was an opportunity for the football club to remember and relive the past with former and current players, as well as the stalwarts that make the club special today.
West is steeped in Broken Hill sports history, with 123-years to it’s name.
As part of the event, volunteer David Winter was announced as the club’s ‘Top Robin’ for 2023.
David Sedunary, Chairman of the West Football Club Past Players and Officials Association, said the function had enabled the club to get more people involved with putting something back into a place that means so much to them.
“We rejuvenated the Association in 2015, and since then, we’ve picked it up. We’ve had more people come to our functions. We’re now seeing 200-plus when previously it was 60 to 80,” he told us.
“This event is recognition of those people who deserve it. It’s recognition of a volunteer who doesn’t get paid, turns up and is either a coach, an official, a manager, works in the bar or in the kitchen. They deserve accolades that make them feel good about themselves and what they’ve done.”
David Parkin was the function’s guest speaker, entering to a rapturous standing ovation that caught the five-time VFL/AFL Premiership-winner off-guard, before being invited atop the stage later in the afternoon to speak about his career, leadership, and the game, all from a personal perspective.
Speaking to the Barrier Truth, the former VFL/AFL player and coach who’s in the Australian Football Hall of Fame said it felt special to receive such an enthusiastic response. He says he’s followed the club’s results over the years due to connections with locals in the club.
“The kind of function they’ve run tonight, their interest and concern for the fraternity, male and female, young and old who support them, it’s unique”, he said, adding, “I don’t do these things any more unless it’s a special place and special people. This is the first one I’ve done in 12 months, probably. When they invited me, I didn’t know whether I was up to it or not!
“When I walked through the door and the whole place stood and clapped, I got quite a shock, to be quite truthful, and you get quite nervous that your response won’t equal theirs.
“It’s only when you come to a function like this you realise how important sports clubs are in a country town. It’s quite moving to see this response and it’s nice to think you can contribute and learn something from it because most of the clubs I’m directly contacted by, they don’t have the same culture.”