317, the Devlin’s number

Picture by Shot from the Boundary.

By Abby Collins  

Chris Devlin knows how to celebrate a milestone. It is no surprise, he’s had plenty of practice.

The Ipswich Eagles stalwart powered his way to the club’s games record in Round 1 of the 2024 season and being named the best player for the round added to the momentous day for Devlin and his Eagles family.

Previously, the record held was by one of the club founders who played 314 games since the Eagles’ inception in 2001.

Their longevity is no fluke, but rather an example of an incredible player retention record that has seen three players reach the 300 club and another handful reach more than 250 games.

Devlin sits on top with 317, an impressive number for a man that didn’t know the rules of AFL when he first turned up at training in 2004. His first question for the coaches when he signed up was, “Are you going to take my registration money and just not let me play?”

His fear of not getting a game was unnecessary. With his passion and determination to master the fundamentals of kicking, marking and handballing, he had elevated himself from the Reserves to Seniors by the start of his second year with the club.

His drive hasn’t been limited to just playing the game. He is described by many as being the biggest contributor to the club off the field too, having held every committee position at one time or another. His stint as President and Vice President left big shoes to be filled by great mate Scott Humphreys.

The current president says Devlin is a legend who they don’t plan on losing anytime soon.

“He’s a good teammate and friend,” Humphreys said.

“He’s very much loved and respected around the club. He’s been with the club for more than half of his life, it’s an amazing effort.”

Devlin’s passion for footy didn’t fade when he suffered his two ACL injuries. In the two separate years he spent recovering, he missed playing so much he turned to coaching for his footy fix and helped steer the Reserves into a Grand Final.

Blue and gold courses through his veins and it is no wonder his family have inherited that passion. His wife spent 13 years in charge of the canteen and the kids are part of the furniture too.

Devlin has stayed loyal to the Eagles guernsey from the age of 17 all the way to 38 and has no intention of parting ways. He has a love for the family values in play at the club and the friendships made over his 20 years.

“It’s a family orientated environment,” he said.

“It’s not just me receiving the team’s respect, it’s my kids and wife too. It’s a great club to be a part of and I have built some amazing friendships.

“I reckon I could go to any state now and have somewhere to stay thanks to the people I’ve met through footy.”

Playing for 20 years, Devlin has left his mark on the competition and is universally regarded as one of the great blokes in the game. It no surprise he has mates from each club he has played against over the years.

“The teams we play against know my name, I’ve been around so long,” Devlin said.

“I get some of the players asking me if I’m still playing when we see them each season.”

Our Supporters