Friday 6 August 2010

Great Southport clubman Adam Devine becomes just the second Shark to reach the major 200-game milestone when he runs out against the Western Magpies at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday.

Devine, who turns 29 in a fortnight, has been an ultra-consistent performer over a long period of time and his teammates will no doubt recognise his special game in appropriate fashion.

A Southport junior, Devine has graduated through the ranks and sits behind only Shaun ‘Shakin’ Stephens on the most games record list (218) for Southport in the State League.

Club legend Zane Taylor managed 225 games for Southport across the Gold Coast and State Leagues, while Davey Burns played 238 games in the Gold Coast competition.

Devine goes into his big match with a different mindset – and body condition – than when he notched his 150th.

“The 150 and life membership was such a focus for me,” he remembered. “I did a hamstring in the last session before Round 1 (that season) whereas this time I’m travelling pretty well and I’m feeling fit.

“It would have been good to be playing an arch rival like Morningside or Mt Gravatt, but the Magpies gave us a real scare when we played them six weeks ago and need to be on our game. ”

The consummate team man, Devine’s mind was focused solely on victory in his previous milestone games, whereas this time he admits to having the odd thought about the big 200.

“Hopefully I can go out and enjoy it a bit,” he said. “We have lost three in a row so we’ve got to get back our winning feeling.”

He should have more personal freedom this Saturday, with coach Craig Crowley have relieved Devine of his regular tagging duties this season. Devine has run with the best midfielders in the League over the past six seasons, claiming more than his share of ‘scalps’. But he is loving the change nonetheless.
“Ever since Norm Dare threw me into the middle one day to follow somebody I’ve been doing it,” Devine said. “Playing on the (David) Lillico’s and (Ash) Evans’ has been good because they take you to the footy. I was fit enough to run off them and get some ball myself.

“But it has been really great to run around and get a kick this year,” Devine said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself when I’m tagging so it has lifted some of that, although no doubt if someone is toweling us up at finals time then I’ll get a tap on the shoulder.”

Devine played in losing Sharks grand final teams in 2001, 2002 and 2004 so he relished victory in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

The latter two were particularly special because the Sharks appeared ‘gone’ in both, but stormed home, especially 2008 when they trailed by 22 points 12 minutes into the final term against Morningside.

“We still couldn’t believe it a week afterwards,” he said of the storming finish to what was a classic grand final.

Devine, who freshened up for this week by taking fiancée Zoe to Bondi for three days for a long-planned mini-holiday, has plenty of kilometres left in his battled-hardened legs.

He will play for his beloved Sharks whether the new Northern League eventuates or not for at least the next two years. 

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