Rarely mentioned or praised, this dashing 35-year-old sales representative can still cause just about any forward to have nightmares when he lines up on them. He’s not built like the modern prototype centre-half back, but why go for the looks when you’ve got someone who is willing and able to do the job week in, week out.
He might not be the flashiest player around, but you can count on him any day of the week. He wears number seven, plays centre-half back, and he goes by the name… David Black.
Name: David Black
Job: Sales Representative
So David, how did you become hooked on football?
Growing up in Portland, South West Victoria-football was my winter sport from the age of 12. I used to play markers up against my brother Tim and cousin Shane, who early on used to beat me regularly. Football was lunch and after school Wednesdays (Auskick) and I’ve only missed one full season since. It’s easy to get hooked on the best game in the world.
What’s your football journey been like?
I’ve had ups and downs via premiership wins and losses, injuries and personal success and won’t complain about any of it. 15 Grand Final appearances for 6 wins tells you how hard they are to win. Always been lucky enough to be around quality clubs, players and people. Some people don’t play in any GF's.
What’s been your greatest moment?
Would be hard to split the 2008 GF win with Portland and the 2014 GF win with Thuringowa. The 2 best teams I’ve been a part of. Portland- 22 local boys. No ring-ins or highly paid players. Thuringowa- A mixture of the Townsville transient nature by bringing 22 highly skilled individuals together by chance and unleashing a 100+ point win in a GF. You can’t top those efforts...close second was finally beating a team called South Gambier in Portland after nearly 10 years of local dominance. They were beasts and won 8 GF's in 10 years at one stage.
And to keep some symmetry, what's been your worst?
2 sides to that. Missing out on a Senior GF in 2003 & 2006 by being named emergency & doing an ACL in the first 5 minutes of the 06 Reserves GF. Just made winning in 08 that much more special and worth the effort.
You’re one of the more experienced members of a relatively youthful squad, how has it been mentoring them this year?
I haven’t had to do much, most of the young blokes do their own thing. Ha. I’ll speak when I think it’s important, otherwise I’ll keep quiet. It’s not all about being loud with voice but an overall style for me. The boys ask questions from time to time and I give them my opinion, but at the same time tell them they need to find what works best for them. Not everyone has the pace I do so they need to react accordingly. There isn’t 1 young guy who doesn’t listen when you speak to them in our team. But they have talent so it makes it easier.
You’ve taken on the important role as captain this year, sharing the duties with Damon Szabo. How have you taken to the job?
Loving it. Something that I’ve been able to work my way into since arriving at the club. Very proud to be voted in alongside Slabz. Although I never believed in 2 captains, we both have different styles which work in our current setting. Like I said earlier, I only speak when necessary as we have a plethora of leaders at our club which is rare. No voice is more important than the other. Maybe Sull's.
Captain’s aren’t generally appointed in their twilight years, barring the recent appointment of Western Bulldog’s champion Bob Murphy, do you see this as a hindrance or advantage to the long-term future of the playing group?
No they aren't, you are correct. We have a lot of young players in the Seniors at the moment and very soon some will become leaders of the club, some not. All they need to do is focus on playing good footy and having fun-which they do. Their time will come if they want it and are prepared to do the right things for extended periods of time. I became Vice Captain of Portland in 2005 and didn't Captain a club until 2016. I'm very lucky. Hopefully these guys who want it to get some success.
A backline of Scarlett, Taylor, Enright, Sullivan, Hollis and Black. Can anyone kick a winning score against it?
Sullivan a definite liability since the rest of us are still willing and able. Not sure you can have 2 guys down back who play off their opponents. See Paul Sanson for information about this. I'd hate to see Harry Taylor without the number 7 on his back too. Joel Newman emergency.
What is it with you and kicking goals?
When did this happen?? I can't remember the last time… Oh, wait, yes. It was the 2014 GF and I got us over the line with the last goal of the game. Would have only won by 104 points without that one. Thanks Tony Burke. I keep hinting about playing forward but everyone thinks I’m joking.
You once described AFL Townsville as, “a league where you come to retire”. Can you elaborate on that statement please?
Geez aren’t you all over it. Think I was referring to myself. The league where I’ve come to play until retirement. You'll have to fill me in on the context as I don't recall. Must have been the umpires.
With the-the recent birth of your beautiful daughter Sedona, you’re fourth out of the “fabulous five” (Sanson, Sullivan, Butcher, Hollis and yourself) to have kids. How does this impact the way you attack the challenge of fatherhood? Have you learnt the ins and out from their mistakes?
Have you met Cecil, Minis and Mullet’s kids? Enough said. Opposite is the best way forward. Plus we’ve had a girl and they all had boys started well so I’ve started well. They're all hands on Dads which is impressive, actually something you've seen them do and hopefully I can imitate in my own way.
How has she changed your life?
Sedona is awesome when she sleeps, just the best. Awake not so much, but even with the screams at midnight you're looking for your own little girl. Extremely hard and satisfying at the same time, it's a weird feeling. She’s in charge and I’m trying to figure out how to trick her into letting me take over.
You can take any person from the football club out for one night in Townsville, all expenses paid. Who do you take? Where do you go? And why?
Would have to take Mullet as he hasn't been out much since he became a father (part of the job). He used to know how to party and although he has a weird dance style, was always impressive to watch. Close seconds include Trende (he'll do anything) and some guy named Sypott. Smooth.
What’s the most important advice anyone can take out onto the footy field?
Follow your instincts and don't go into a contest half-hearted- you're more likely to get hurt.
Thanks for your time David... Thanks mate