Swan Districts’ Tony Notte will play his 300th game this weekend. Picture: Blake Parry/The Sports Photo

Tony Notte set to achieve a rare feat

The thing that means more to Tony Notte than any individual milestone is being part of winning football matches for Swan Districts, and getting back to playing finals football in 2024.
May 30, 2024
Chris Pike

TONY Notte will run out in a black-and-white jumper for the 300th time when Swan Districts play Subiaco on Saturday.

It is such a rare feat that the only Swan Districts player in 90 years to reach 300 games previously is the legendary Bill Walker and in the entire WAFL competition, only Mel Whinnen (371), Bill Dempsey (343), Jack Sheedy (332), Brian Peake (315) and Kris Miller (303) have ever achieved the milestone.

What it highlights is what a remarkable part of the Swan Districts Football Club Notte will always hold and it’s only fitting that he came right through the ranks of the club, had a successful colts career and has never looked back since.

He did spend time at the West Coast Eagles and played two AFL games, but his legacy has been cemented with Swans over 299 games now with 194 of those also being consecutive before Covid-19 got in the way.

He also had to fight back last year from a knee reconstruction in 2022 and he still is playing on in 2024 while living and working down south, but already as a captain of the club, a three-time Swan Medal winner and six-time state representative, his legacy is secure.

The thing that means more to Notte than any individual milestone is being part of winning football matches for Swan Districts, and getting back to playing finals football in 2024.

When he made the decision to play on in 2024, he knew there was the lure of the milestones to come, but he would have willingly given them up if he didn’t think he could play an important role in helping Swans get back to finals action.

Notte is holding up that end of the bargain well and truly, and with fellow defenders and long-time teammates Brandon Erceg and Alex Howard having somewhat interrupted seasons of late, his presence down back has been crucial.

The 34-year-old had another strong impact in Saturday’s win at home against West Perth with 18 possessions and eight marks.

While he’s proud to get to 300 games, he never would have got there without still feeling like he was making a strong contribution to the team’s performance.

“That was the reason for coming back again this year, I wanted to make sure I could still contribute the best I can,” Notte said.

“I didn’t want to be that player just clinging onto a spot, I wanted to be able to help us play finals this year and I wouldn’t have played on if I didn’t think I could do that.’’

While there has been some memorable wins that Notte has been part of over his career and he did play in the 2008 grand final as an 18-year-old, it’s more than just what happens on the field that stands out as he takes a second to reflect.

A 16-year journey of senior football at Swans and more going back to his teenage years, it’s more about the relationships he’s built and the life-long friendships and bonds that he’s formed that will mean more than everything else.

“I always just kind of think of it being a bit of a rollercoaster ride along the way, and that’s probably what football or any sport is going to be like,” Notte said.

“You have your ups and your downs, and I was lucky enough to get drafted and have that experience.
“Then you have that bit of a downward spiral when you get delisted and having to work out what’s next with your life.

“In terms of your football, you go back to the WAFL and want to prove yourselves and get back to enjoying footy, and trying to play good footy.’’

“That’s just what it is and you get your ups and downs, and you go through losses and our club went through some hard times.

“But you want to stick around to see the club through those times and what stands out is the relationships that you build through that time.”

“What stands out to me is being part of something at a club with people who have been around for so long, and that goes beyond just the players.

"It's also people who were there before I started and are still there now, and having those relationships is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life more than anything that's happened on the field."

Notte knows that his football career never would have started without the support of his parents, and he also is fully aware it wouldn’t still be continuing to 300 games without the help, support and understanding of wife Jessica.

Those are the ones, along with two-year-old daughter Alaska, who will be first on his mind when he runs out onto the field on Saturday for the milestone occasion.

"Then there is the playing group you share it with.

When you play for so long you see a lot of guys come and go, but you really do remember the ones that mean a lot and more so the ones that you still keep in contact with now," he said.

"I've got some really good friends who might have gone over east or what not but I still stay in contact.

Then there are so many other people around the club with all the support staff and everyone who have been there part of my career, and been at the club since I started as a young kid.

Putting the team first is not something he just says, it's something that he lives by and that's why all he cares about is winning Saturday's game against Subiaco.

Whether it's his 300-game milestone or not, all he is worried about is Swan Districts making it back-to-back wins to consolidate their position inside the top five by the end of the WA Day long weekend.




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