Hongell bleeds black and white

VETERAN: Tanunda Hockey Club's Trev Hongell took over as the games record holder at the club. Photo: Steph Konatar.
VETERAN: Tanunda Hockey Club's Trev Hongell took over as the games record holder at the club. Photo: Steph Konatar.

Trev Hongell always intended on becoming a Tanunda stalwart, but the local hockey legend almost chose the big sticks over the hooked one.

As an eight-year-old, Hongell went out to both Tanunda football and hockey training sessions, but could not pass up the sport steeped in history.

“I went to school on the Monday and all the (football) boys asked where I was on the weekend – I told them I’d played hockey and wasn’t coming back to footy,” Hongell said.

Three decades later, the experienced sweeper celebrated 350 games with the Magpies, taking over as Tanunda’s games record holder.

However, the modest Hongell said he hadn’t given much thought to the impressive achievement.

“I don't really think too much about being the highest game player for Tanunda,” he said.

“It's probably something to reflect on when I'm finished, but I've got years left to play anyway.”

The 40-year-old has played every game of his career in the black and white, and said loyalty means more to him than the milestone.

“I love playing for Tanunda, plain and simple,” he said.

“I’m a Tanunda boy… unless I moved somewhere else, which I'm not going to, I will only play for Tanunda.

“It's where my wife and kids play, my good friends play, and their kids play – it's really just one big family.”

Hongell said the Pies’ 2013 premiership win over Nuriootpa was a career highlight, with just one regret – it taking the club so long to get there.

“(Nuriootpa) had won 10 or so (premierships) in a row – it was pretty good to be the team to end that run, and it being the last final on grass, we became the grass champions forever,” he said.

“It took me just short of 300 games to win one, and it was celebrated long and hard after.

“The funny thing was all through the finals we never actually led a game, until after the final whistle was blown.

“Josh Hancock's final series was phenomenal and Dan Southern in goals, particularly for the penalty shootout, was brilliant.”

Meanwhile, keeping on track with Tanunda milestones, Magpies champion Nathan Gogoll also celebrated his 300th club game last month, but modestly declined an interview.