If you are looking for the definition of loyalty then look no further that Sean "Smack" McEvoy, who played his 200th Senior club match for the Western Magpies on Saturday.
Sean has been a constant at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer since he started Auskick as a little tacker in 1994 then began in Under 8s in 1996 and went through the ranks in junior football to the Colts then Reserves and Seniors.
He played his 183th Reserves game on Saturday to add to his 16 Senior games and a lone outing for the Woodsmen earlier this year.
Sean has Black and White flowing through his veins as a member of the McEvoy family. Dad Michael was club President for many years and is a Life Member, Mum Julie was club Treasurer for 6 years, brother Tim played over 200 Senior games and is also a Life Member and brother Brett also played for many seasons at the Pies. And there is brother-in-law Reid Dobson who also played over 200 Senior games and is another Life member of the club.
Sean played most of his football in number 8 but he says he wore number 5 in the 2007 Reserves premiership, which is one of the highlights of his career. This year he was a late starter so lost his coveted number 8 but as per usual there were no complaints from him and he wore whatever jumper was available—number 17 on Saturday.
He graduated from Sherwood juniors in 2005 to the Colts team, which is still regarded as one of the best teams to don the Black and White. Sean reckons it could have taken on any Under 18 side in the country and been competitive.
Coached by the legendary Alan Hagley, the Pies defeated Southport in the Grand Final at the Gabba with a side that contained the likes of the Scott brothers, Luke and Andrew, Mick Hamill, Val Pope, Rohan Bail, Ben Heffernan-Roper, Adam Peel and Dean Nipperess to name a few. He regards that as the best team he has played in. Sean missed the premiership as he was recovering from a fractured tibia but says it was comfortably the best team he played in.
The other highlight was the 2007 Reserves premiership when the Pies defeated Surfers Paradise at Zillmere. The disappointments were the Reserves Grand Final losses in 2008 to Aspley after leading by 6 goals and then the loss to Sandgate at Maroochydore in very windy conditions in 2011.
He played mainly in defence and had the occasional run in the ruck and in many matches was giving away height and weight but he always managed to win many of the contests. He has never won any best and fairest awards but was always a consistent performer and won a couple of best player in the finals awards which says a lot as he played well at the business end of the season.
Going back to the beginning, his first mentor was Kevin Kluver in Auskick then had Graham Shaw from Under 8s through to under 12s where he captained the side for one season. His father Michael also coached him for a couple of seasons before Graham Shaw again and Steve Mitchell coached in Under 14s and Under 16s.
In Colts he had Alan Hagley and then Craig "Sounda" Barden and he credits all his coaches for the skills he learnt and also for continuing to teach as well as further develop his love for the game. In Reserves he had some excellent coaches in Peter McClennan, Des Lashman and Craig Allen.
Other than his fractured leg, he says he has been lucky with injuries, only missing with a back injury several years ago. He also says, tongue in cheek, that his night shift work as an electrician at Australia Post was a blessing in disguise and has probably extended his career as he has missed training so has not worn himself out too early!!
Some of the better players he has played with include Val Pope, the Scott brothers, Mick Hamill, big Gerard Moore and was always amazed at what Matt "Clock" Thompson was able to do.
Sean has spent 26 years at the club and has probably donned the black and white of Sherwood and Western Magpies for about 350 matches in total. He is forever thankful for a supportive family and that now includes wife Jasmine who has supported him in playing footy and the club can look forward to another dynasty of McEvoys with his 2 boys, Ted 3 years and Hugh, 6 weeks, probably not having much choice in their preferred footy code or club!!
So to loyalty you can also add dependability and putting club before self. Sean has had his ups and downs selection wise but you never hear him complain and in recent seasons he has always been ready to fill the gaps in the Reserves when and where required.
All at the Western Magpies and extended Sherwood family congratulate Sean "Smack" McEvoy on reaching the 200 match milestone, a great achievement for any footballer.