By: Daniel Cencic
Wandering into Schramms Reserve at 11 years of age in 1991, Nick Goodwin would begin a 26-year involvement at the Sharks.
A trip to the footy on a Saturday afternoon to watch his older brothers Anthony and Dean would quickly turn into goal umpiring and time-keeping duties, followed by taking the field – which more than two decades later, has culminated in 300 games for the club this weekend.
“I did it (goal-umpiring and time-keeping) through necessity, there is always something to do, that’s for sure,” Goodwin said.
“Between us (Nick, Anthony and Dean Goodwin), I think we’ve had 700-odd games of footy.
“They’ve definitely got me beat by a couple of pegs.
“I think of myself as Danny DeVito in the movie ‘Twins’!”
Goodwin began playing under-18s in 1995, where he would play until 1997.
A premiership in 1996 as well as third-place in the best and fairest in 1997 saw Goodwin enjoy a successful run into the transition to senior football.
“Football’s great game – you play for finals and to win premierships and I was lucky enough to win one in ‘96 in the under-18s – unfortunately, not in the seniors at Doncaster,” Goodwin said.
In a career which Goodwin has achieved numerous honours, including the reserves best and fairest in 2007 and 2013 – and runner-up on four occasions – third in 2000 and reserves best first-year player in 1998 followed by the reserves’ most valuable player in 2010, the motivation for the selfless Goodwin hasn’t been in individual awards.
“Individual awards are nice but I think the reason you play should be to play finals,” Goodwin said.
“I didn’t achieve the pinnacle (a senior premiership) at ‘Donny’, but that’s life.”
Remembering his first senior game, Goodwin recalls the nail-biting dying moments and the hours after.
“My first senior game was in 1998 and it was against Mulgrave at Doncaster,” he said.
“I would’ve only racked up a few touches I’d imagine, but I do remember ‘Chopper’ my brother, (Anthony) having a shot late in the game and we got done by a couple of points.
“You couldn’t really talk to him for a couple of hours after that game!”
Playing alongside his brothers Anthony and Dean serves as a career highlight for Nick, who remembers the Goodwin-trio line-up fondly.
“It was great,” he said
“I don’t know how many people that have had another two brothers that play at the one club.
“We only played six to eight games together in the ones only but that’s six or eight more than a lot of people.
“I do remember a couple of occasions where the line-up read – Goodwin – Goodwin – Goodwin. That was pretty nice – I wouldn’t quite say it was Krakouer-brothers-like but it was really good.”
In 2012, Nick Goodwin was awarded life membership of the Doncaster Football Club for his tireless years of service on and off the field.
It is an honour the 300-gamer will never forget.
“It was a huge honour,” Goodwin said.
“It gets nominated at the AGM and I knew about it earlier – but for what ever reason on the night, I couldn’t really speak once I stood up.
“It took a little time to sink in – that’s probably the highest individual honour that you could get at the club.
“I was only 32-33 years of age – I suppose you don’t have to be 50 or 60 to achieve life membership and do plenty around the club.”
It is also an honour Goodwin believes would never have been possible without his parents.
“The helping side of things, I think, gets ingrained through your parents,” he said.
“Mum and Dad ran junior clubs when we were kids, they’re also on the committee at Doncaster, the old man’s the vice president and a life member as well.
“It gets ingrained in you from an early age.
“Volunteers at any club are hard to come across so any time you can do something to help out, it is a tick in everyone’s box.”
Goodwin couldn’t be more grateful for the role his parents have played across the journey, and his wife who has been there since the early years.
“They (my parents) wouldn’t have missed too many games for the first 10 years or so,” Goodwin said.
“My wife would have only missed 20 or 30 games through my whole career.
“We’ve been together for many years prior to (starting senior football in) 1998.”
Four players standout as among the best Goodwin has seen don the blue and white – but one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
“Fairly or unfairly, I think Nathan Thompson’s the best footballer to put on a Doncaster jumper,” Goodwin said.
“He was pretty hard to beat.
“Chris Annakis is a freak, he has been so consistent over the years, (and) my brother (Anthony Goodwin) is a six-time best and fairest winner, a life member, who won the ball inside and outside.
“(David) Mazins only played at the club for three years but kicked 70-plus on all three occasions – he was just a monster – you had to be (a good player) to get around him.”
26 years after strolling down to Schramms Reserve, and Goodwin couldn’t think of a better place to be playing his footy.
From goal-umpiring and time-keeping at 11 years of age, to etching his name on the honour boards yet again at the age of 37, over two-decades of tireless service could not bestow a more iconic family at the club, as the Goodwin name and legacy will be proudly represented again this weekend in game 300.