Border Districts' Michael Bull to pull on the boots for the 600th time

MILESTONE: Border Districts veteran Michael Bull will play his 600th game of senior football against Mundulla this weekend. Photo: Paul Carracher.
MILESTONE: Border Districts veteran Michael Bull will play his 600th game of senior football against Mundulla this weekend. Photo: Paul Carracher.

Football players across the country dream of reaching the 300-game milestone, with some of the icons of our great game featuring in the prestigious club.

However, Border Districts legend Michael Bull arguably has a seat at the most exclusive club in football, with the Eagles stalwart set to pull on the boots for the 600th time tomorrow afternoon against Mundulla.

Bull grew up playing his footy on the border of South Australia and Victoria, first for the small Victorian town of Goroke when he was 17 years old and later for Border Districts when the two clubs combined in 1999.

Renowned throughout the region for more than his longevity on the footy field, the shearer has long been known for his impressive tales.

Bull's reputation for regaling crowds with his tales of the many countries he has travelled to, and the sound of his motorbike roaring through the gates of the footy ground is well known.

Long-time mate Grant Hausler summed up just how long his mate's career has been, by saying that a lot of the blokes he plays with now weren't even born when he was playing his best footy.

"He won the Border Districts reserves best and fairest award at age 45, and a lot of blokes have only seen him play in the last 10 or 15 years," Hausler told the Naracoorte Herald in 2015.

"But he was even better before that, it's incredible to have played for that long."

Over the years, the club has seen many players come and go, but one person has seemingly stood the test of time, Michael Bull.

Border Districts president Linda Skinner had nothing but praise for the loyal clubman, stating he has always put his hand up when needed.

"He has been our B-Grade team manager for as long as I can remember, he continues to umpire games, and he is also on our committee - he is such a loyal clubman," she said.

While he has many gameday roles, there are countless other duties that he undertakes throughout the week to help the club. Bull is one of the groundsmen responsible for keeping the oval at Goroke in good condition.

Mrs Skinner said it has taken some time to reach the 600-game milestone, with Bull's 550th game occurring against Naracoorte in June, 2015.

He might not play every single week - which is no surprise considering he is in his fifties - but when the club is in need of reserves players, club members know that 'Beardy' won't let them down.

"It has been a credit to him that he has still been able to pull the jumper on and get to 600, because it would be such a rare feat," Mrs Skinner said.

"The other week, he played half a game and then umpired the other half because our umpire had to go - he just continuously puts his hand up and is there when we need him."

For the countless fans set to converge on Frances to watch the Eagles take on Mundulla, they will be treated to a piece of footballing history.

"There will be a banner for him to mark the milestone. We are hoping to see a number of ex-Goroke people come down and celebrate his achievement - it's going to be a great moment," Mrs Skinner said.

Described as a man who isn't one for attention, it is fair to say that he will be one of the most popular people in Frances tomorrow.

And after the commitment he has shown to the club for over two decades, having the spotlight on him as he achieves a major footballing milestone is the least 'Beardy' deserves.

Border Districts' reserves take on Mundulla at Frances tomorrow at 12.10pm.

This story Border Districts' Michael Bull to pull on the boots for the 600th time first appeared on Border Chronicle.