200-gamer hard to miss at club

John Cotterell reflects on his 200 games with the Warwick-Greenwood Bulls.
John Cotterell reflects on his 200 games with the Warwick-Greenwood Bulls.

What makes this achievement more impressive is that this was the club’s 204th game.

Since the club’s inception in 2003, Cotterell has only missed four games ” none of them from injury.

‘I missed the first ever game for the club as I wasn’t picked,’ the 37-year-old said.

‘Three weeks later leaving for the game my car broke down. About five weeks later I went to watch North Melbourne play at Subiaco Oval, then in 2006 I had planned a holiday over a bye weekend but the league changed the fixtures so I ended up missing a game.’

Cotterell has always had a love for football.

‘I used to kick a balloon around the house as a kid because I wasn’t allowed to kick the footy inside,’ he said.

‘For me and my dad, Friday night through to Sunday afternoon was all about watching or playing football.’

He started playing Freeball at the age of six before moving up to Auskick, then playing for Sorrento Duncraig Junior Football Club, Sorrento Primary School, Wanneroo Junior Football Club, Duncraig Senior High School, Hamersley Carine Amateur Football Club and teams in the Mercantile Football Association. He was playing for the Greenwood Cricket Club when he heard they were starting up a Metro Football League team.

‘I hadn’t played footy in a few years and was keen to play again, so I joined up straight away,’ he said.

‘Being such a new club, you were creating the club’s history.

‘Now the club is like a big family and I’ve seen how we rallied together in the early years when the club didn’t have much money or success on the field and struggled for numbers.’

He said he had seen the club grow from only six or eight players training for games to more than 30 people turning up to Penistone Park twice a week, experienced the club’s first premiership in 2011 and been part of the 2007 ‘Supateam’.

‘Every game day morning we had to ring around to try and get players,’ he remembered.

‘Guys’ brothers, cousins and mates would fill in weekly just to keep the club going.

‘We only won two games that year but everyone had the best time not worrying about results but having fun and making sure the club survived.’

Cotterell said he was ‘really proud’ to be the first Warwick-Greenwood Bulls player to reach 200 games but wished his dad could have seen the milestone.

With a strong lead early in the game against Kwinana, he was ‘pretty happy’ to be able to move out of the backline, where he has played 198 out of the 200 games, and play forward, where he kicked three goals.

Cotterell was made the club’s first life member in 2009, was club president from 2008 to 2010, captain for six years, awarded best and fairest three times and now has the division one best and fairest award named the Cotterell Trophy in his honour.

‘I just love playing footy for this club while my body still lets me. I don’t know for how much longer but one more premiership would be nice,’ he said.

‘Some people think I’ll never retire, I love it too much.’