Footy Smarts

Footy Smarts

Peter Burgoyne, Indigenous Community Liaison Manager at Prominent Hill speaks about his sons currently playing in the AFL.

When his sons were boys taking their early footy strides, Peter Burgoyne senior let the coaches take care of zones, match-ups and game plans. The advice he gave them was all to do with “the smarts”.

“If there’s a game to be won you can do it, back yourself, take them on,” he says. “Use your pace, use your smarts, get around them and have your go – try to win matches when the game’s there to be won.

“When the pressure’s really on, a lot of it comes down to footy brains, footy smarts.”

Accepting that pressure never has a sharper edge than in finals, Peter’s middle son Shaun qualifies as a master at freeing himself from its perilous hold. Friday night will be the 30th final of his career; only Michael Tuck and Gordon Coventry have played more.

His brother, Peter junior, admits surprise not only that Shaun is still playing so well, but playing at all. After 13 seasons and 240 games with Port Adelaide, Peter Burgoyne left the game at 31 acutely aware of how hard it is to play, and the toll it takes.

Peter senior says Shaun has never been hard to guide, describing him as an organised person, a friendly and grounded man who’s always been respectful and responsible. “He doesn’t go out and yahoo. He’s not your local party boy, he’s a family man.”

Peter senior has a growing crop of little Burgoynes to school in the art of football smarts. “I always say it’s in your genes, but the one who’s the most dedicated and works the hardest will come through. We’ve always tried to make that the message.”

Peter hails from Port Lincoln, where he played well enough to get a run with Port Adelaide in the SANFL. He met Gabriella while playing and winning premierships with St Mary’s in Darwin. He says he was an “okay” midfielder who didn’t favour his left or right side. He doesn’t want to pump up his own tyres, but when pushed offers a comparison. “Like Sam Mitchell, but quicker. Twice as quick.”

The year he spent with Port he was the only indigenous player at the club, and missed family, friends and home deeply. He works in the mines for Sodexo as an indigenous liaison project manager, is proud of the company’s commitment to Aboriginal Australia, its reconciliation plan that sets a benchmark for other businesses to emulate.

Read the full article on The Age website: