CLUB loyalty is important for Otway Districts footballer Dean Mahoney.
Mahoney is nearing his 150th senior game with his club and will play an integral role in the Demons’ chances when they meet Western Eagles at Gellibrand Recreation Reserve tomorrow.
The 26-year-old has endured the highs and lows as a Demon since playing his first senior game in 2002.
Back then, Otway Districts, who were known as the Roos at the time, were one of the top teams in the Heytesbury-Mt Noorat Football League.
Mahoney played in a grand final in his first year of senior football two years after winning a junior flag.
He had learned to play against much older opponents, taking up under-17 football at Princetown as an 11-year-old, though the experience didn’t help his side take home a premiership.
“I was 17 at the time in my first season of senior footy, I don’t remember much about the season but I remember we made the grand final and lost to Heytesbury by quite a bit,” Mahoney said.
“There was a massive fight that day, everyone was involved,” he said.
Mahoney shifted to the Colac and District Football League with Otway Districts and fellow team-mates like Lenny Perkins and Matt Zurbo the following year, after the HMNFL folded.
The team has since had mixed results – a third-placed finish in 2004 its best result and 2010’s 1-15 record one of the worst.
This season however, the Demons are on the incline with four wins to their name already and Mahoney, who now plays alongside younger brothers Leigh, 24, and Aaron, 20, said he was glad he had stuck by his club.
“I guess it is pretty important, it’s a loyalty thing, I keep playing for friends and family and trying to have that elusive premiership,” he said.
“It’s good to be loyal and stick around because it helps out smalls clubs like Otway.
“Country clubs have got to rely on those sort of local people sticking around.”