Matho and son, the work is now done

PREMIERSHIP winning president, premiership winning coach, premiership winning reserve grade player and now Bathurst Bushranger Brian Matheson can add premiership winning first grade player to that list of accomplishments.

On Saturday at George Park, Matheson lined up as fullback for the Bathurst Bushrangers side which went on to defeat Cowra 14-6-90 to 9-11-65 in the Central West AFL first grade grand final.

For a man that had already enjoyed plenty of success, that victory still rated very highly. What made it mean so much was that it not only ended a 16-year wait to play in a first grade premiership side, but that his son Sebastian was there alongside him in the Bushrangers line-up.

It was also his last game of Australian rules for the club he is so passionate about.

“What a way to go out,” the 41-year-old said.

“It was ’96 the last time I won a first grade flag. I have missed a few since then with injuries, so ’96 was the last one and I have been playing since ’91.

“In ’96 I was with the [Bathurst] Eagles, so I had never won a first grade flag with Bushies. I was president the first year when they won, but I wasn’t playing.

“So to do that in my last game ever, get up for a win and do it with my son, I couldn’t ask for better.”

While Matheson was a proud wearer of the blue and yellow Bathurst Eagles colours, he was one of the men who worked hard to make the merger between that club and the CSU Bulldogs at the end of the 2003 season a successful one.

Matheson was the president in the Bathurst Bushrangers’ inaugural season in 2004 and he enjoyed remarkable success as the under 14s, under 17s, reserve grade and first grade teams all won premierships that year.

The president was also the coach of the under 14s side which defeated Parkes 17-8-110 to 1-6-12 in the decider, adding a premiership to the one Matheson steered the same age group to in 2003 when they were Eagles.

In 2005 Matheson again agreed to coach the under 14s. It was his last season in charge of the side and once more he guided the young Bushrangers to success as this time they beat Dubbo 10-10-70 to 7-5-47 in the grand final.

But Matheson did not give up coaching altogether.

In 2009 he was player-coach of the reserve grade Bathurst side, an outfit which included his son Sebastian. Together they celebrated on grand final day when holding on in a nail biter to beat Young 10-5-65 to 8-5-63.

The following season Matheson stepped up to mentor the first grade side and while he was once more able to guide a team into a grand final, this time they came up short.

It was Cowra who prevailed.

Heading into this year’s grand final with his son as a member of the Bushrangers first grade side, Matheson indicated it would be his last game.

He desperately wanted to go out a winner and while there was blood, bumps and broken bones by the time the final siren sounded, he achieved his goal as Bathurst emerged as 25-point victors over Cowra.

“I did re-break my hand today. I broke it in the round 14 game, so I had round 15 out. I broke it in the semi-final again when I punched the ball and I broke it again today,” he said.

“In warm up Sebastian broke Peter Yandle’s nose, so that was a good start, but I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out.

“I have won reserve grade ones with him, but first grade, that’s just even better. It is going to be a big three or four days, so, sorry I won’t be at work for a while boss,” he added with a chuckle.

HAPPY FAMILY: The Mathesons, from left, Sebastian, Kathleen and Brian, were delighted with the Bushrangers’ success in Saturday’s Central West AFL grand final. It was Brian’s last game for the club as he confirmed his retirement after full-time. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 082512caflgf12

– Western Advocate

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