* required fields
Nedlands club legend George Forster-Jones has become the first player to record 500 competition matches for The Foreshore club.
The outside back took to the field for the 500th time in Neddies’ Fourth Grade home fixture against Cottesloe. However, the celebrations were shot-lived with the Nedlands stalwart forced off the field with an ankle injury 15 minutes into the match.
While the Gulls took the 7-3 win, Forster-Jones’ achievement was recognised with members of the club tunnelling him onto the field for the match while Nedlands President Hans Sauer presented him with engraved glass tankard at half time in the Premier Grade match.
“I didn’t even know it was [my 500th game] until the Friday as I’d been interstate,” he said. “But the club was great in terms of putting the word out – they let me know it was my 500th game and then I started getting text messages from all around the world from people I’ve played with over the years saying ‘congratulations’.
“The club had a guard of honour made up of first graders and supporters for me to run onto the field which was very special.”
Forster-Jones began his Nedlands career as a 17-year-old in the 1982 Colts side, having represented the WA Schoolboys and making his First Grade debut in the same year. He captained the Colts side to a premiership in 1984.
Forster-Jones says there have been many highpoints across his 31 seasons with the club.
“My first game for Nedlands was against a touring New Zealand Army side and that was my introduction as I’d just come over from Africa,” he said.
“Winning the Colts grand final was great after having been at the bottom of the table and there’s been a few first grade grand finals and representing the state – there’ve been many highlights.
“But it’s been more about meeting so many wonderful people in the rugby family, including guys like [All Black] Paul Koteka and Tom Fearn when he was playing first grade for Nedlands.”
Forster-Jones played more than 150 Premier Grade games, including the 1986, 1989, 1995 and 1996 premiership-winning sides. More recently he tasted grand final success with Nedland’s Third Grade (1999) and Fifth Grade (2008) squads.
He also boasts an impressive senior representative career having recorded more than a dozen caps for WA, including matches against Wales (1991) and Ireland (1994).
In 2000 he was made a Life Member of the Nedlands club.
And while his ankle injury has prematurely ended his 2012 campaign, Forster-Jones admits there’s been no thought to retirement at this stage.
“Next year is another year and I love playing the game,” he said. “We’ll wait and see.
“Reaching the milestone was a goal when they made me aware of it but now that I’ve reached it there’s no pressure to carry on playing, or if I want to I can, so it’s a good position to be in.”