Dean’s decades of service

LONG-SERVING Gawler Central Football Club volunteer Dean Tobitt has finished as a finalist in the SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award.

Mr Tobitt has been a volunteer at the Tigers for over five decades, which includes his playing and coaching career at the club.

He started his playing career in 1963, racking up over 250 games in the senior grades.

After hanging up the boots, Mr Tobitt coached from under nines through to under 17s, guiding various sides to a total of seven premierships.

The 70-year-old has served as the club’s secretary for 22 years over two stints, and is currently in his 15th consecutive year in the role.

Mr Tobitt admitted he was surprised and excited to be nominated, but said he volunteers out of habit.

“I’ve just always enjoyed the game, known a lot of kids coming through,” he said.

“I’ve coached two generations of some players.

“I think the important thing is sport in general; it’s important to kids and the community.

“The main thing, in my mind, is the game, that’s what I enjoy the most, and the people that are involved in the game.

“Volunteers are getting harder and harder to find, and it’s becoming a serious problem.”

Mr Tobitt started at the club through his brother after moving from Williamstown, and has never left since.

“I’ve had a few favourite moments, the first premiership I coached back in 1973, that was a big thrill,” he said.

“The 2001 A-grade premiership as well, I was team manager and my son was playing in it.”

A usual Saturday for Mr Tobitt involves getting up at 7.30am to help set up at Gawler Oval, putting results in throughout the day, and watching the game.

Despite more than 50 years of volunteering, he’s got no intention of stepping back any time soon.

“I guess it’ll be up to my body when I stop,” Mr Tobitt said.

Jack Hudson

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Growing up in Gawler, Jack has taken on a variety of journalistic roles while still studying for his Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing degree. He began his career at The Bunyip as a weekend football writer, before taking on roles with The Footy Budget and The Cricket Chronicle and then earning his first part-time gig at the Barossa Herald. Now returning to The Bunyip, Jack also has a keen interest in footy and soccer, as well as a passion for gaming and reading.

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