Western Magpies hard as nails midfielder Gareth Crawford played his 350th Senior match when he took the field for the Western Magpies in their QAFL clash with Mt Gravatt at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer on Saturday.
The balding Crawford is your footballer's footballer, socks down and always at the coal face in the midfield tussles, loving the contest and using his footy smarts to win the footy time and again for the Pies.
Some players are Ferraris, some are V8s, but Crawf is your tractor who just keeps going all match, never looking flash but always on the go and when the going gets tough he will get going!!
He played just his 54th match for the Magpies on Saturday and says he is loving his footy at the Magpies. The popular Crawford says it is obviously a proud club with a lot of good people and great players and has made lots of close mates in the process. How could you not like him with with his lopsided smile and waddling running style!!
It was good mate Ricky Dudley, who joined the Pies in 2015, who lured him to the Magpies when he moved north in 2016 looking for new employment opportunities. They had player together at Eaglehawk in Bendigo where Crawford played in a premiership in 2008.
He grew up in Hamilton in Victoria's western district where he made his senior debut and then played in close to 150 senior games for the Hamilton Magpies, including a premiership in 2004.
He was highly regarded in the western district of Victoria and arrived at the Western Magpies with a big reputation, having won the Brian Hennessy Medal in 2012 as the Western Border Football League Best & Fairest when representing the Hamilton Magpies. Crawford is also a 5 time Inter League representative and multiple senior best & fairest winner for Eaglehawk in the Bendigo League and at Hamilton Magpies.
Crawford has brought leadership skills and experience to the Pies having served as Captain, Vice-Captain and Senior Assistant Coach at the Hamilton Magpies, Hamilton Kangaroos and Old Collegians. In 2015 before moving north Crawford played for Merrivale Tigers in the Warnambool District League where he was among the Tigers best in their Grand Final lost to Dennington. Crawford joined Merrivale as part of a desire to have a season with a good mate.
That was a bit of a theme as he played for 9 clubs in his career with the main reason for moving around was to play with good mates.
His senior games tally is:
--Hamilton Magpies --142
--Lake Wendouree (Ballarat) --9
--Palmerston (NTFL) --15
-- Kerang (Mid Murray league)-- 16
--Eaglehawk (Bendigo) -- 51
--Old Collegians (Warrnambool) --19
--Hamilton Kangaroos (amalgamation of Hamilton Magpies and Hamilton Imperials)--27
--Merrivale (Warrnambool) --17
--Western Magpies -- 54
Total = 350
He says the standard of football at the QAFL is the equal of any he played in Victoria and he stamped himself at the Western Magpies by being the joint winner of the Bill Peirce Medal with Drew Mitchell in 2017.
He moved north to further his accounting career and has been lucky enough to meet his girlfriend Miranda while in Brisbane and will be around for awhile yet. He thinks the Pies are on roll now and reckons they will win their final match and if they sneak into the five are good enough to go all the way. That would be a very proud exclamation mark for a wonderful football career.