Story By Mark Jonas:
Never like to miss a milestone game for one of our players, especially when he is your step-son, so to avoid another hit around the back of the head from the wife, here it is!!.
Last Saturday, while I was away soaking up the rays in Noosa, Jake Tyler (Opray) notched up his 150th Senior game and taking his tally to just over 300 Games (including Juniors) with the mighty Saints. l do have to be honest, I was hoping he may miss a game earlier on in the season so I didn’t miss the big game having missed only around 20 games in total over his 23 years at NRFC.
Jake reached the exclusive “150 Game Club” at the Juniors in 2005 while playing Under 16, this was helped by the fact that he started playing U/10’s in 1996 and then found himself back in the U/9’s for two years when the club went straight age in 1997, finally getting back to U/10’s again in 1999.
It is fair to say that in Jake’s first 5 seasons, his size held him back but to his credit he just kept going and finally in 2002 while playing U/13’s, Jake finally started to get a bit of height to him and his footy just went to another level.
Coming off a great season in 14’s, Jake was named Captain of the 15’s, but a mishap at training while trying to take a big leap on the marking bag brought a halt to his season with a broken collarbone.
In his final year at the Junior Club in U/16’s, Jake was rewarded with both the U/16 B&F and also the Club U/16 award for the most votes at NRFC as per EFL Field Umpire Votes. Jake and his mates never played a final in their 5 years of competitive Junior football, coming close in their final game of the year but a loss had them finishing in 6th spot and missing an elimination by percentage.
In 2006, Jake made his way up Wonga Rd to play Colts along with a lot of his Junior mates.
Jake played all 18 Games in his first year of Colts (U/18’S) and was Runner Up in the B&F, finishing just one vote behind 2nd Year Colt, Nick Distefano.
In 2007 in his second year in Colts, Jake’s end to the Season was his highlight, not only did he make his Senior (2’s) debut in RD14 against Mitcham, he also played in his first ever final with the Colts the following week when we took on Montrose having a big win 13.16.94 to 10.7.67
In Round 1 2009, Jake finally made his Senior (1’s) debut, once again Mitcham at Quambee, which is still one of Jake’s biggest highlights.
Now in his 12th Year of Senior footy, Jake has been entertaining us for years now with his high leaps when marking and his very colourful boots!! His coach of 5 years now, OC, still rates Jake’s mark at East Ringwood, the highest he has seen in his playing and coaching career, but unfortunately being a 2’s game was not recorded, so we still gather at the family Christmas party each year and get OC to tell us how good the mark was and yep each year Jake gets that little higher!!
Still yet to play in a GF, like many people, Jake’s individual award shelf is full with 2 Reserves B&F and 2 Reserves Runner Up B&F.
Jake just has one more achievement he would like to get to now and that is to reach another exclusive club and that being “200 Senior Game” Club with his beloved Saints before his body gives way.
Well done again mate and we all hope you get to 200 and Congratulations on your 150 and your years of loyalty to your club.