Bewick takes great pride in 100 South Fremantle games

Friday, August 3, 2018 - 11:13 AM by Chris Pike

REACHING 100 games at South Fremantle means the world to wingman-turned-defender Shaun Bewick having settled since crossing from West Perth and now his focus is on the ultimate success with this current playing group.

With the Bewick name having such a strong history at West Perth, there was great excitement at the Falcons when twin brothers Shaun and Rohan Bewick were coming through the development squad and colts ranks.

They would both go on to make their league debuts in 2009 with Rohan now having been at the Brisbane Lions ever since the end of 2010 having now played 103 AFL matches.

Meanwhile, Shaun remained at West Perth another year and ended up playing 30 league matches before departing for South Fremantle at the end of 2011.

Bewick didn’t quite know what to expect when joining a new club, but the attraction of playing under then coach Paul Hasleby and a new group of teammates enticed him to the Bulldogs and he has never looked back since.

He did bring up 100 WAFL games last year, fittingly in a South Fremantle win against West Perth, but it was bringing up the century for South Fremantle that he set his sights on.

Bewick reached that mark in the loss to Peel Thunder prior to last week's bye and it's a feat he deserves to be tremendously proud of given the dedication and commitment he has shown to fight through some tough moments along the journey.

"It's especially guys like Toby Bairstow, Googs, Jarrod Parry and to a lesser extent Dell who was drafted the year I went there, but those guys made me feel so welcome immediately and they've become some of the best mates in my life. From the start, I just felt so welcome and I've loved it ever since," Bewick said.

"It actually meant a really great deal to me. Playing the 100 in total was a good milestone to chalk off, but the 100 at the club means a lot to me. I loved my time at West Perth and my family is always going to be West Perth, but this kind of makes me feel like I really belong at South Freo with getting my name on the locker and everything. 

"A few of my best mates at the club like Adam Guglielmana, Cory Dell'Olio, Toby Bairstow, Adam McIntosh, Craig White and even Hamsy, Schloithey and Saundo, my name is up there with them now as 100-game players and it means a lot to me. Hopefully we can still achieve that ultimate success together but it's good knowing we went through that era and all played 100 games."

There have been times along the way in his South Fremantle journey where Bewick did fall out of favour at the selection table and he considered walking away. 

That included a run of playing eight reserves games in 2015, including the premiership on the back of playing in one in 2013, and another seven games in the first half of 2016, but it was the bond he felt with his teammates that made him stick at it and he's glad he did.

"I definitely had one or two times where I actually did pull the pin but within a couple of days a week or so I realised how much I'd miss it and how much I do love the club," he said.

"And all I want to do is play footy with my mates and most of my closest friends at the club were still playing at that time so I didn’t want to leave. 

"Cooky actually mentioned last week that I did get dropped a couple of times and it has been hard at times, and it's taken me a while to get to 100 games, but that makes it a bit more special now too."

Bewick has spent the majority of his 130 matches in the WAFL as a hard-running wingman renowned for his ability to run all day and put himself into courageous positions running back with the flight of the ball to help out the back-line.

That defensive approach meant it wasn’t too big of a jump when 12 months ago he was asked to play a more regular role in the back-line at the Bulldogs. He's thrived in the new position ever since.

"I was always a defensive winger and was never that attacking winger who kicked a lot of goals, so it came pretty naturally to me. But I was pretty luckily to even get the opportunity last year," Bewick said.

"It was supposed to be Jarrod Parry's comeback game and he got announced to play at Thursday night training, but by the end of the session he had broken a rib and couldn’t play anymore. I had to come back in and fill a defensive spot and I did OK, and have been doing that ever since. 

"I quite like it back there and how we are a team within a team. When you're playing on a wing, after a goal you just go and stand there by yourself. But now I quite like that after each goal you get back together with your opponent and we talk about what happened or what we are going to do now. I like that aspect of playing down back and I'm just happy to play wherever I can get a game really."

Bewick has now played seven finals throughout his career, including three preliminary finals firstly at West Perth in 2011 and then at South Fremantle the previous two years.

All those have been losses so far and he desperately craving that crack at a WAFL Grand Final, particularly with this Bulldogs group he has such a connection with after their preliminary final appearances the past two seasons.

"We haven’t lost too many people from our cracks at it the last couple of years so it's mainly the same group and we are just so desperate to at least get to a Grand Final and have a good crack at it," he said.

"It's Hamsy's last year too and we'll never play with this group again so we want to achieve something special. I would love to win something with my good friends and it means a lot to us, and we'll certainly give it everything this year if we get that chance."

South Fremantle is now gearing up for a game with second position up for grabs against West Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.

Even though the Bulldogs play well up at Joondalup Arena, they would certainly like to finish second and get to host a qualifying final that looks set to also be against the Falcons.

"Looking at the way the season is shaping up and how the finals are probably going to pan out, we're going to have to play West Perth shortly so it's a pretty good introduction for both teams to what's going to happen in the finals," he said.

"We need to play well and take some lessons out of this game because it's going to come around again in four weeks' time. There's no better preparation than playing them this week.

"A few years ago we both seemed to keep winning at each other's home ground and I can't really remember the last time we lost out there. We do want second position and we'd rather play a home final, but I don’t think playing at the Arena is something anyone is too scared of and it doesn’t hold any fears. What will happen will happen, but certainly we want that second spot."

While Bewick certainly feels at home at South Fremantle and is well and truly a Bulldog now, he does feel for those involved at West Perth given the club's current financial troubles.

"I'm very surprised at what's come out and seeing from afar how South Fremantle is run, it's not a whole lot different to West Perth and certainly the people I knew that were in charge there, without knowing the full story, leaves me very surprised that something like that would happen," Bewick said.

"As much as I'm not involved with West Perth anymore, my dad, his brothers and my grandma are and it's not great news. You don’t want to see any WAFL club going through that or any business at the risk of closing down. It's not good news for the club or the WAFL."