Southern Suburbs will celebrate an incredible 500-game player milestone when club president Antony Owen dons the red and green with his beloved Third Grade side against Barossa this weekend.
“I started playing for Souths when I was 17 all the way back in 1987 so it’s taken a while, but we’ve got there slowly but surely,” Owen said.
“I did miss a few years there in the middle and did a lot of time reserving and coming off the bench for the Twos but it’ll be nice to have a run this weekend and hopefully retire afterwards.
“I think the trick was quitting training a long time ago – I always said it’s 70 minutes on a Thursday or 70 minutes on a Saturday and you can’t have both!”
RUSA Competitions Manager and former Souths coach Chris Graham paid tribute to Owen’s service to community rugby while noting the latter’s altered training regime.
“I don’t think he ever attended any of my sessions – maybe that’s the secret to his longevity – but he’s been a great servant of Souths and if he’s not lacing up the boots, he’ll be opening the bar and draining the kegs,” Graham said.
“He’s got a hell of a dummy as well, so hopefully he can pass that on to anyone who wants to learn a thing or two before he calls it quits.”
While Owen’s Third Grade side are out of finals contention, a massive crowd is expected at AA Bailey to mark his milestone along with two critical games for the finals-bound Premier Mens’ and Women’s sides.
“We’re hopeful the Ones can go a bit further along in finals this year and obviously our girls are going really well, so very excited for the weekend,” Owen said.
In other Round 17 Premier Grade fixtures, Adelaide University will look to back up last week’s drought-breaking win in the weekend’s live-streamed clash with Port Adelaide while Woodville host Old Collegians at Gleneagles Reserve.
Ladder-leaders Brighton return home to tackle Onkaparinga with minor premiership rivals Burnside facing a tough trip to Womma Park.