The Western Magpies celebrated the loyalty and contribution of Gabe McKinnon last Saturday when he played his 200th game of Senior Football for the Western Magpies (in addition to countless junior games!)
His fine contribution to the club was was acknowledged last week by club historian and "keeper of the flame" Kevin Kluver after the match against Palm Beach-Currumbin.
Gabe "Heinzy" McKinnon has played 81 Senior and 119 Reserves games. He played in the 2006 Seniors Premiership when the Pies defeated Noosa at Carrara and played in two Reserves premierships in 2005 and 2007.
He was awarded best on ground in the 2005 Reserves Premiership playing at centre half back.
He grew up in Brisbane but his family was from Adelaide so Australian Rules was always his preferred choice of footy. He started at Yeronga but after 2 years moved to Sherwood in 1995 to play Under 12s and has not missed a season since.
His junior career was not as successful premiership-wise as his senior career as he played in four losing grand finals and in a tied grand final while at Sherwood and also lost an Under 18 Grand final for the Western Magpies in 2003.
He also laments the one that got away as the Pies lost the 2008 Reserves Grand Final after entering the decider undefeated throughout the season.
He was runner-up in the Reserves best and fairest in 2005 and has a been consistent performer in every season he has played for the Pies.
"Heinzy's" jinking runs make for entertaining football and at times have mesmerised himself, his teammates and opponents alike with his unpredictability. His flamboyance and "will I kick it or handball it or take on the entire opposition with long bouncing runs" has left a few of his coaches a little less hirsute . Speaking of coaches, a few he has played under include Des Lashman, Kevin Stephens, Alan Hagley, Andrew Farr, Paul Grentell, Peter McClennan, Craig Allen and current coaches Glenn Humphrey and Quentin Johnson.
This season he has been in best and fairest winning form in the Reserves, playing across half back and his intercept marking and run out of defence have been highlights of the Pies' season. That he has still been amongst the best players whether the Pies have had weak and strong teams this year, which is testament to his consistency this season.
He has been at the club for 20 years and has been a loyal and uncomplaining player. He is the epitome of Rudyard Kipling's hero in his poem "If", taking the good with the bad with equal measure, never complaining and happy to play where he is picked and trying his hardest every match.
Heinzy has a ready smile and is just a good bloke to have around the club.
He is scrupulously fair in his football and is fearless in his attack on the ball.
And his nickname? As Gabe tells it, he had curly red hair when younger and Tim McEvoy gave him the nickname Heinzy-- Heinz tomato sauce was dubbed "Big Red" at the time.
He says he has had a lot of fun times at the club and has made many life long friendships.
He has also done well off the field and works as a solicitor for a law firm in the city.
Congratulations to Gabe on reaching a substantial footballing milestone and being one of the blokes that makes this football club a great place to be.
The Western Magpies are pleased to welcome Metis Wealth Management - as a proud 2015 community partner and financial sponsor.
As part of Metis Wealth's partnership with the Western Magpies, you can contact Daniel George for a free consultation, the first step to achieving your financial goals and create your plan.
Daniel will be holding a seminar on Wed 9th of September at the club, so don't miss out and make sure you attend to take the first steps to securing your future.