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Family Man Reaches Major Milestone in PilbaraThursday, May 26, 2022 - 3:26 PM

The town of Tom Price will come to a standstill on Saturday night to celebrate a major football milestone. 

Kevin Walsh will lead out the Townsite Eagles for game number 300 in the Fortescue National Football League. 

Given the FNFL only plays an average of 12 games a year, it’s taken Walsh more than a quarter of a century to reach 300. 

“The aim of my first 150 games was to stay healthy, physically and mentally. 

After my wife Shakira and I had two daughters, the motivation for the next 150 matches has been to set a good example to our girls, who’ve since gone on to play footy themselves. 

Being a competitive person and someone who occasionally enjoys being the centre of attention, I’ve had a dream of playing the greatest number of games for my club,” Walsh explained. 

When Walsh started playing at Towns, success was rare. 

“The club was mediocre when I joined in 1997, with Towns struggling for numbers each week. 

 Coming from a rugby background the game looked foreign to me, but at the age of 25 I played my first game of Aussie Rules. 

1997 was a tough year for the club, but it laid the foundation for success which included 13 premierships over the next 24 years.” 

Walsh has just turned 50 and admits father time is catching up. 

“Recovery after matches is taking longer. 

I also spend a fair bit of the game running away from trouble, that might explain my longevity.  

I’m a wingman and smaller than your average player, but genetics means I have pace to get away from being cut in two by 110kg beasts. 

The beauty of footy is that there’s a place for all body types,” said Walsh. 

Having an understanding employer in Rio Tinto has ensured footy is a constant in his life. 

“I’ve been on shift work for my entire footy career, but I try to provide a good service while I’m at work and my employer allows me to fulfil my training and playing commitments. 

Availability is a constant juggling act for people in these small mining communities,” he said. 

Footy for Walsh is firmly a family affair, with Kevin at times answerable to his wife on game day. 

“Our daughters help by running water for the team and my wife has umpired a few times also. 

I’m very proud of how involved the whole family is. 

But I’m not sure having your wife umpire you is too flash! 

She knows too much about my playing style and when I attempt a suspect handball or tackle illegally, she takes great pleasure in awarding a free kick against me. 

I just put my tail between my legs, give her an evil look of displeasure and move on,” he laughs. 

Walsh would like to thank his family, the Fortescue National Football Association and Townsite Eagles Football Club for their ongoing support. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people including Ponny and Amanda McKenzie, Chris Pilot, Big Col and Matt Hutchison, Dave and Kylie Kammerer and so many other terrific friends over the past 25 years. 

Moving forward, hopefully I can still play to a decent level and my girls can be proud of their dad for still giving it a go. 

If I have one message it’s get involved and stay involved in the great game of footy,” Walsh said. 

Townsite Eagles play the Tigers at Clem Thompson Oval in Tom Price on Saturday night at 7.15pm