CHRIS O’Dwyer described himself as fortunate to be able to present life membership of the Numurkah Football Netball Club to Shane Miller, and was then astounded to also be presented with the same honour.
Paul Arnel described Chris as a long serving player, coach, netball husband and dad, football dad and devoted and loyal Blue.
Chris debuted with the club in 1998 playing a total of 138 senior games and 17 reserves games.
He won the senior best and fairest award in 1999 and played in the premiership teams of 1999 and 2000.
He coached the senior side for three seasons, in 2009, ‘10 and ‘11, co-coached from 2015 to 2017, and was assistant coach in 2013 and ‘14.
Chris’ coaching prowess wasn’t just limited to the seniors, though. He also coached the fourths in 2005 and under 12s in 2013 and ‘14.
“Chris has certainly enjoyed the good times at our club, including having played in two premierships and coached us to a number of finals series, but importantly, he was around to guide us through the tough times,” Arnel said.
“In 2011, Chris stood tall as the senior list fell away, only to be left with three players from the previous year’s team.
“He worked hard and built a team of young Blues which created the foundation for the success the club now enjoys.”
Arnel made comment on O’Dwyer’s competitiveness, saying he was always up for the battle, always has the Blues’ best interests at heart, and is never beaten.
“He is a devoted husband, a loving dad and a Blue whose loyalty can not be questioned,” Arnel concluded.
Shane Miller played his 200th game for the Blues in July this year, overcoming some personal hurdles in order to reach this milestone.
“Most people here tonight haven’t, and won’t, reach this milestone. I am one of them,” O’Dwyer said.
“It takes a special person, because it’s bloody hard work, even harder in Shane’s case.”
Miller arrived in Numurkah in 2003, coming from Lara Football Club in Geelong, a skinny cheeky, confident, street-smart kid with only a couple of tatts on his legs, according to O’Dwyer.
“He was still eligible to play junior footy, but showed no interest in it. Playing senior footy was his only priority, and you knew the kid could play.”
Miller played with the Navy Blues until 2010, racking up 142 senior games, and proving himself to be a genuine, outstanding, country footballer.
He headed back to Lara in 2011 to be closer to his family, playing footy with the Belmont Lions, and playing in a losing grand final with the Torquay Tigers.
His five years in Geelong were full of ups and downs.
“Shane had to make some tough decisions, and that’s where his story becomes remarkable. Most of us here know a little of what Shane went through just to be standing next to me tonight, let alone playing 200 senior games with the Navy Blues,” O’Dwyer said.
“But, that’s his story to tell.”
Since his return to Numurkah in 2015, Shane has played in several finals games, and a grand final in 2017. He has represented the Murray football league, and developed into an inspirational leader, setting a high standard for all to follow.
“He asks a lot of himself, and has earned respect, internally and across the league from rival clubs and players.
“If I had to find one word to describe Shane, I would say loyal. Dedicated. Passionate. These are all okay, but the word I think best describes him would be durable.
“Synonyms for durable are dependable, enduring, permanent, reliable, stable, strong and tenacious,” O’Dwyer concluded.