Loved Swan notches 250

By Meg Saultry

‘Subba’ is the Avenel Football Club.

That is how Swans president Bruce Rowley described Paul Arandt following the stalwart’s 250th match with the club on Saturday.

‘‘People love him. They come and watch Subba play football,’’ Rowley said.

‘‘He’s a great icon around the club.’’

And you can tell just how much those around the club love Arandt as you speak to his teammates and supporters.

Teammates yelled ‘‘legend’’ as they walked past Arandt after the game, and others spoke highly of his loyalty and character throughout his time at the club.

‘‘It’s a rare thing for someone to play 250 games at the one club. He’s been very loyal,’’ Jason O’Brien said.

‘‘He’s stuck with us, even through the bad times.

‘‘And he’s been good for the younger guys around the club as well.

‘‘He’s a ‘follow me’ type of guy.’’

Meanwhile, Martin White said Arandt was just a good bloke to have around.

‘‘His biggest thing is he is such a great person,’’ White said.

‘‘He’s always approachable to help out. That’s what sets him apart.

‘‘His hand’s always up first.’’

Avenel coach Kasey Duncan said Arandt had not only been an influential part to the team’s success in recent years, but also to Duncan’s own time at the club.

‘‘I came here as a 10-year-old and used to be Paul’s water boy, and now I’ve coached him in his 250th game,’’ Duncan said.

‘‘I couldn’t be prouder of him or congratulate him any more.

‘‘He was still one of our better players on the day, he just fights and fights.

‘‘He’s a weapon.’’

A talented cricketer — primarily a batsman — Arandt first came to the club aged 23 in 2005, and only started playing football to keep fit for cricket.

‘‘He was a very handy cricketer and played three years with Country Victoria, including the Australian Cricket Carnival,’’ his father Noel Arandt recalled.

‘‘But, like many talented athletes, he had great hand-eye coordination and took to football like a duck to water.’’

Fast forward 14 years and Arandt, who plays mostly in the ruck, is a three-time best-and-fairest winner for the club, taking out the award in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Arandt’s football highlight was making the grand final in 2016, although he admits the team ‘‘just couldn’t get the job done’’.

Celebrating after Avenel’s 26-point win over Stanhope, in which he was again named in the team’s best, Arandt said he hadn’t thought too much about his milestone moment heading into the match.

‘‘It’s probably one of those things you appreciate more when you stop playing,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m still enjoying playing and will hopefully play a few more games.’’

For Avenel supporters, that is music to their ears.