Still playing at 43

Angaston's Matthew Doecke, 43, played his first reserves game for the Panthers recently after a decorated career in the A Grade.

Angaston's Matthew Doecke, 43, played his first reserves game for the Panthers recently after a decorated career in the A Grade.

At senior level Matthew Doecke’s football career has already had spanned 25 years and has included 438 A grade games in our highly-touted Barossa Light and Gawler Football Association competition.

Last Saturday it all changed as “Dekker” - as is known to all his mates – playing his first reserves game in the Panthers traditional blue and white jumper against Gawler Central at the “Dog Track” in Angaston’s opening clash for the 2018 campaign.

Despite playing his inaugural game at reserves level Doecke still displayed that same passion an commitment for his club as he did since his A grade debut back on April 25, 1992.

“My journey is not over, its just changed,” Doecke told the Herald

“I still want to contribute and enjoy the team aspects of the game.

“I still enjoy training and being around the boys.

“I am a competitive person by nature and I am keen to prove that I am still capable of forcing my way back into senior team.

“You are always learning and growing in this game and there are aspects of my game that I wish to improve on.

“I want to work hard and I went into Saturdays game with the attitude that the opportunities are still available to play a role in our A grade team.

“I now need to produce strong performances to regain my place.”

Angaston B grade coach Mathew Booth said that Doecke played the defence and part of his roles was to teach his younger teammates as an on field coach.

“As you would expect he is a natural on-field leader and while he did not have a lot to do in defence his voice, leadership and knowledge of the game was important,” Booth continued.

“With his competitive nature and desire to be the best he can be, I still believe he is good enough to play A Grade football again.

“I have been around number a clubs and as far as ‘Club People’ are concerned, there are none better Matthew Doecke.”

Now 43 Doecke has a glittering career in BLG football, which includes becomes the first person to play 400 A Grade BLG games back in 2015.

In Angaston’s 2003 premiership, Doecke lead the side and he has an unprecedented tenure of 18 seasons as skipper of the Panthers, comfortably a record in SA rural football.

Back in 1996 Doecke was the BLG Footballer of the Year and he has collected an unequalled six Angaston Football Club best and fairest and has been a Barracker “Team of the Year selection on five occasions.

Doecke is among just four footballers in the three decades of BLG football to achieve 300 A Grade game milestone along with Sam Ryan at Kapunda, Gawler Central midfielder Aaron King and his Angaston team mate, Craig Hadden. He now joins them, and many others as a BLG reserves footballer.