Reigning best and fairest winner Scott Gower will join the club’s elite when he plays his 150th match on Saturday. “During the 150 games there’s obviously been a lot of ups and downs from a team and an individual perspective, but the reason why I come back every year is because I get to go compete for two hours on a Saturday with my best mates,” Gower said.
The club champion made an instant impact when he switched from the Vultures in 2008. Gower’s early years were spent inside the forward-50, where he became a frightening goal-kicking juggernaut, booting over 110 majors in two years.
His dominance made then-Sharks coach Jason Mifsud encourage the barrel-chested goal-kicker to tryout for VFL club Sandringham, alongside teammate Rob Cathcart. The pair became prominent figures at the Zebras, with Gower reinventing himself as a key position defender, a role he’s maintained and relished in when he returned to the blue and gold the following year. “I definitely enjoyed my time as a forward early in my career, but my body has been better off in defence,” he said. The 28-year-old defender reached football’s zenith in 2016, when he was part of the Shark’s history-making B-grade premiership.
“To also see the reserves win [the premiership] in the manner that they did was just an awesome day for the football club,” he said. “After what we accomplished in 2016, I know the club and players are as hungry as ever to win another B-grade flag. That has got to be the aim. It was an unbelievable feeling.” Gower says his durability, undoubtedly a result of his meticulous preparation, has helped him reach the rare milestone.
“I’ve been very lucky with injuries so haven’t missed a lot of footy,” he said. “Now that I’m nearly 29 the body definitely does take a little bit longer to recover, no doubt.” In his 10 seasons at the Shark, Gower has played with many of the club’s decorated champions. But he acknowledges the efforts of one player, Brayden Haynes, for shaping his attitude at a young age.“I’ve been lucky enough to play with many legends of the football club some who have retired and some who are still playing, like Robbie Cathcart, Matty Petering and Cootey, but Brayden Haynes was my captain in my early years was definitely someone I looked up to and wanted to play hard for,” he said. “He was a great leader on and off the field,m. A true champion.” And as for this season, Gower simply hopes to: “grow as a leader, play hard and stay injury-free. That will do for me.”
The Sharks take on the Vultures at home in front of the club’s newly-built clubrooms.