All clubs go into the much-anticipated season opener every year with renewed hope. For Old Peninsula’s Shaun Payze it will be a different feeling as the clubs runs out for their season opener in 10 days time.
In 2021, Payze was lining up for his 400th game, after having to wait over a year being stranded on 399 due to the cancelled 2020 season.
In 2022, Payze played alongside his son Bailey against PEGS in Division 1 which added even more romance to the game’s famous father/son rule.
Leading into 2023, after playing 18 games in 2022, Payze will be watching from the sidelines, after announcing his retirement from the game after 428 games.
Equal with the VAFA games record holder, Peter Brabender. Starting out in the under 19’s, Brabender from Old Parade’s career spanned from 1987 – 2007 which saw him miss just 16 games across his twenty year career.
Payze’s career began in 1998, halfway through Brabender’s, he would go onto kick 1033 goals at an average of 2.5 goals per game.
In 2021, it was PEGS who spoiled the 400 game party, winning by 7 points. And again in 2022 when Payze lined up alongside his son Bailey. This year, it’s Therry Penola making the long trek out to Harry McDonald Oval.
Payze’s football ability can be traced back to his father, the late Travis Payze. A member of the Saints one and only VFL premiership in 1966. And, for 24 years, Payze has produced the high-level quality football that genetics gifted him from his dad.
Payze told VAFA Media at the beginning of 2022 that he’s been weighing up retirement for the “last 5+ years” for the Benjamin Button of the VAFA, father-time has caught up with him.
It’s a credit to Payze that he’s been able to stay at the top of his game for so long, with two of those years impacted by COVID “I have been lucky to be able to play this long and have loved every minute of it.” he said.
“I am so lucky to have stayed relatively injury free, and have a family that has supported me the whole way along.”
“Whilst I am sure Carla tires at times with all training sessions, meetings and Saturdays away from home – she has let me run my own race for the last 20 odd years.”
On the games record, a number that has chopped and changed with every season. It’s a number that has garnered more external interest than it has on a personal level for Payze, he won’t be losing any sleep on the official number.
The official number: 428 games, one reserves game, and one game in the Big V.
Congratulations to Shaun Payze, and the career he has put together with Old Peninsula. And, good luck with what’s next in your football story.
Old Peninsula’s 2023 campaign in Division 1 Men’s begins on Saturday, April 15 at Harry McDonald Oval at 2:00 PM.