Meet The Local Dream Teams: Dads & Sons Who Play Footy Together

As we all know, Singleton loves its sport.

No matter what code you support, it’s something that binds our community together. In celebration of Father’s Day, we’ve found four father and son duos who’ve taken to the field together as part of the same team.

It’s rare for fathers and sons to get to play at a high level together – it requires the dads to have longevity in their sporting career.

Representing AFL are Travis and Jesse Bates. Al and Cooper Harris played Rugby Union together. Anthony and Jared Castledine played senior soccer together. And Pat and PJ Ling played Rugby League.

Naturally, there’s going to be some tongue-in-cheek father and son ribbing but as you can see, behind the laughs, there’s no greater honour than to play your favourite code with your son.

The AFL dudes

 

Travis and Jesse Bates play AFL together.

What team did you play for?

We both play for The Singleton Roosters AFL club.

Do you have a team nickname?

Travis: ‘Buckets’ – I’m not sure why though. It’s something to do with taking marks, I think! Jesse might know?
Jesse: ‘JB’ for Junior Buckets, obviously, because I am the son of Buckets. They called Dad Buckets because he kicked a bucket load of goals each game.

Who got the most trophies and who is the biggest show-off about the trophies?

Travis: Jesse smashes me in that area. I show off his trophies! I think it’s called living vicariously through your kids. Still, when your own achievements are lacking…
Jesse: I have to agree with Dad that I have the most trophies, but I show them off a lot more than he does too. Although, he probably has more accolades but is just too humble to show them off.

What was it like playing together?

Travis: Fantastic! It was the highlight of my footy playing days. Jesse even kicked it to me, which was nice!
Jesse: Besides taking a mark over me, it is great to play with him. In our first game together, we got the win, so it was a great way to start my senior football career.

What position did you play? Who is tougher on the field?

Travis: I play Full Forward. Jesse is a midfielder, which many consider a tougher position. I’d dispute that as there are some rather large full-backs to contend with!
Jesse: I play in the midfield and swap through the forward line with the other players. As I have experience in both positions, I know that the midfield is a harder position to play. Dad is just talking it up!

Who has scored the most?

Travis: I’ve got him covered on that one.
Jesse: Dad would have kicked more goals in one season than I did in my entire football career.

Who was the better player?

Travis: Jesse has got me covered on this one – he is by far the superior player.
Jesse: Dad has the legacy of the football club and has a much better kick than I do, so I would have to say it’s Dad.

Who got the worst injury? Who whinged the most?

Travis: Jesse has picked up more long-term injuries than I have. I whinge the most when injured as my playing days are numbered, so missing any games is very disappointing.
Jesse: I have picked up a few injuries but I haven’t had recurring injuries come through. Dad tends to keep his injuries and aggravate them. Dad won’t shut up about his hamstring at the moment, so I would have to say it’s Dad!

The Union Boys

Al and Cooper Harris played Rugby Union together.

What team did you play for?

Al: Singleton Bulls Rugby Union.
Cooper: Singleton Greyhounds League and Singleton Bulls Union, both first grade.

Do you have a team nickname?

Al: Angry Ant. I don’t know why when I was such a placid player.
Cooper: Not that I am aware of…

Who got the most trophies and who is the biggest show-off about the trophies?

Al: Being an old fart I would have the most trophies but Cooper would be very close, due to the fact he is the biggest show-off in Singleton!
Cooper: If we are going off an average of age versus trophies I would have more. Overall, it is very hard to compete with an old man who has played for around 60 years.

What was it like playing together?

Al: I enjoyed it. I loved watching Cooper playing juniors – the boy has some skill – but being out there with him was pretty special for me. Cooper probably didn’t like it as much, as I could yell at him from a close distance to give me the ball.
Cooper: Not everyone gets to play sport alongside one of their parents, especially at a high level, but we did. Dad had taught me from a young age about the game. I did get sick of him saying every time that I gave a try assist, “How come you didn’t pass the ball to me? I would have scored!”

What position did you play? Who is tougher on the field?

Al: I played wing, fullback and sometimes centre. Cooper played in the halves, which automatically makes me the tougher player.
Cooper: I have always played in the halves. Everyone who has watched me play would know I am not known for my defence. Definitely can’t argue this, Dad is tougher.

Who has scored the most?

Al: That would be me, playing on the outside backs and playing alongside so many great talents over the years. I’ve scored some great tries, plus I was a goal kicker. I don’t think Cooper will ever catch me in this one.
Cooper: Once again, very hard to compete with a 60-year-old man. He has played for more years than I have been alive.

Which one of you was the better player?

Al: Cooper would have the best skills out of both of us and deserves to play first grade but I would have to be the ultimate package and therefore the better player.
Cooper: Like all good footballers would know, wingers are just boys who hang around a football team. I was always the first pick for first grade. The coach would say, “We are short on players this week. Can anyone back up for firsts?” Dad would always be the first to put his hand up. The coach would then continue to ask several more times. “Anyone else?” I was and I still am the better player in the family!

Who has had the worst injury and who whinged the most?

Al: Cooper has broken a few fingernails and whined all the time. I did snap my Achilles tendon and missed a full season but didn’t complain much. Just don’t ask my wife to confirm that.
Cooper: The worst injury would have to go to Dad with his Achilles but he didn’t whine too much. I can confirm he did whinge for several days about how sore he was after every game he ever played. When he used to get up out of bed the next day you could hear him from the other end of the house!

The Soccer Lads

Anthony and Jared Castledine played senior soccer together.

What team did you play for and when?

We played together for Singleton Strikers in 2007.

Do you have a team nickname?

Anthony: Cab.
Jarrad: Not really.

Who got the most trophies?

Anthony: I reckon Jarrad might have pipped me there.
Jarrad: Me, for sure!

What position did you play?

Anthony: Striker.
Jarrad: Midfield.

Who scored the most?

Anthony: I did! I currently hold the record for the most goals scored for the Singleton Strikers.
Jarrad: Definitely Dad.

Which one of you should have been picked to play professionally and what is your dream team?

Anthony: Me! I should have been picked by Manchester United.
Jarrad: Probably Dad. I was the better player but I sort of lost interest. Like Dad, I’d play for Manchester United.

Who got the worst injury? Who whinged the most?

Anthony: I got the worst injury and he whinged! I did my ACL in 2002.
Jarrad: Yeah, I was definitely the whinger. One hundred percent!

What does playing sport together mean to you?

Anthony: When your kids play in the same code as you, it’s special to play alongside them when they’re good enough to step up to it.
Jarrad: When I was younger I looked up to Dad, especially his involvement and input into soccer. So it made me feel very proud to be able to share playing alongside him years later. Looking back now, I wish it had happened more. Although we didn’t play alongside one another much, I feel Dad shared it with me throughout my junior career, and with his coaching and endless dedication to getting me everywhere I needed to be. He helped me be the best I could be. I feel we played that journey together.

The League crew

Pat and PJ Ling played Rugby League together.

What team did you play for?

Pat: I played for the Narromine Jets and Singleton Greyhounds.
PJ: Singleton Greyhounds.

Do you have a team nickname?

Pat: Earthling.
PJ: PJ.

Who got the most trophies?

Pat: I played for 35 years so I had the advantage there.
PJ: Dad.

What position did you play?

Pat: I played Front Row.
PJ: Centre and Wing.

Who scored the most?

Pat: Front rowers aren’t prolific try scorers but again time is on my side with this one.
PJ: Sounds like it must have been Dad.

Who got the worst injury? Who whinged the most?

Pat: I’ve had some broken bones and things but you get thrown out of the Front Rowers Union if you whinge.
PJ: Dad says that backs whinge for practice.

What does playing sport together mean to you?

Pat: I have been fortunate to play in and win a few grand finals but the day in 2016 that I got to play alongside PJ was one of my proudest moments and the favourite game I ever played. PJ was playing consistent footy with his Under 18s team and was called in to play from the bench with our Reserve Grade side. I got the honour of handing my son his first (grade) jersey in the change room prior to leading him out onto the field.

Wishing all our local Dads a Happy Father’s Day.

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