Matt Sheppard – 100 Games – the High Flying Saint
There are players that make sure everyone knows who they are on the field and there are players that just get on with the job at hand with no fuss or fan fare, Matt Sheppard is one of those players, that lets his football ability do the talking on the field and on Saturday Shep will line up on the members wing, the wing that he has made his own, for his 100th Game in the Saints colours.
Matt’s journey with North Ringwood goes back to 1999, when as a 6 year old, Mum & Dad, Neil & Rosette brought a young Matt down to Warranwood Auskick Clinic at Warranwood Primary School. For those unaware, this clinic was established by our Junior club, now known as North Ringwood Auskick at the Junior oval.
After a couple of years of Auskick it was time for Matt to start his junior career, following good mates like Jack Whelan down to North Ringwood to play Under 8’s under the guidance of their first Coach, Mark Wilson and Under 9’s under Curtis Nunn. Unfortunately, Matt was only at the Saints for a short time before heading over to play at Park Orchards.
After 4 years with the Sharks, the pressure from his Saints mates and the help of Jimmy Darvidis having a good conversation with Matt’s parents, we managed to get Matt back in Saints colours, coming back to join our Under 14’s under the guidance of Colin Gottliebsen.
It was great to have Matt back at the Junior Club. He was a very skillful kid, tall, slim, super quick and boy could he leap to bring down a huge mark…..when you think about, apart from a 3 day growth, not much has changed with Matt since his Junior days.
While the ultimate prize in a Premierships eluded Matt at the Juniors, his last 3 years at the club did include 5 finals appearances, as well as racking up 72 junior games and 12 goals (U/14-U/16’s) but unbeknown to Matt a Premiership was just around the corner.
In the November of 2010, Matt made his way down to Quambee Reserve for his first pre-season joining our Under 18’s under Dallas van Unen.
In Matt’s first season of Colts, he racked up 15 Home & Away games and two finals appearances, kicked 10 goals and was named in the best twice and finally Matt had a Premiership medal after a 10 goal win, defeating Mitcham in the Division 3 U/18 Grand Final, 9.14.68 to 1.2.8.
The following year Matt was back for his second year of Colts and as it happened, 2011 was basically a repeat of the 2010 season. Matt finished the year with another 19 games, 26 goals and named in the best on 6 occasions but more importantly, Matt now had his second Premiership Medal after defeating Boronia in the Division 3 U/18 Grand Final, 15.13.103 to 3.3.21.
Unfortunately, Matt left the Saints at the end of the season to give Division 1 a crack and joined Balwyn for the next 4 seasons.
Finally, after repeated tries, Moyley convinced Matt to leave Balwyn Park and finally after 4 years, we had Matt back down at Quambee for the 2016 season.
In Matt’s first year back, he had a brilliant season and we realised just how much we had missed this young man running off the backline or breaking the lines in the midfield.
Matt played every game for the season, playing all 18 Home & Away games, capping off a brilliant season coming Runner Up in the Club B&F.
The next two season, 2017 & 2018, Matt once again did not miss a game, making it 3 seasons in a row along with booting 36 goals.
Matt has always been an incredible hard worker on and off the field and his attention to detail is second to none when looking after himself and his preparation before and after all games is to an elite level and has the runs on the board to prove it.
Basically since 2016 to RD3 of this season, Matt has only missed a total of 3 Games and considering all but 3 have been played in the top division is an incredible achievement.
Matt was also rewarded for his on & off field leadership by being named Vice Captain for the 2021 & 2022 seasons Matt has providing our Saints faithful over his 99 games with plenty of memories on the field, with his elite, sleeky skills but there is no doubting if you ask any of our Saints faithful what they look forward to every week and that is the opportunity to possible see Matt take an absolute hanger that even makes Jeremy Howe look like an amateur.
Matt has taken some incredible marks over the last few years but there is no doubting will also be remembered for the one he took against his old team Balwyn out at Balwyn a few years ago. We have attached a few of these marks, including the hanger at Balwyn as part of the photo scroll. Apart from all the hangers and Matt’s football ability, he will also be remembered for one other thing that has became part of Matt’s game……his number 4 jumper with long sleeves!
As mentioned in other players milestones recently, we cannot not finish without mentioning Matt’s wonderful Mum & Dad, Neil & Rosette as the club have been blessed to have yet another family that have been a massive part of our club and Matt’s success.
Just like the Sharpe’s and the Whelan’s as well as many other families, Neil & Rosette are always there to watch Matt and the boys, have attended countless club functions and just help out wherever and whenever they can.
Rosette has help out with ladies day as well as many other club functions as well as being a sponsor for a number of years with her Marriage Celebrant business Rosette Sheppard – Celebrant | Melbourne VIC | Facebook
Neil for a number of seasons played a very important role as one of Brett Moyley’s stats man and even more importantly for 4 years from 2017-2020, Neil was our Club Secretary.
Matt, on behalf of the NRFC, we have been blessed to have you pull on the Saints Jumper 99 times
and we hope there are many more games to come. Have a great day on Saturday in your 100th.
Matt ‘Shep’ Sheppard so far:
- Games played: 99 Senior / 36 U/18’s
- Goals: 52 Senior / 12 U/18’s
- Named in the Best: 16 Senior / 8 U/18’s