Robertstown’s own Chris Schmidt, still just 28, played his last game of SANFL football on Saturday, retiring after the round 18 home match against Glenelg.
From a Roos football family in the little hamlet on the World’s End Highway, he played his 132nd game for West Adelaide against the Bays and has won the club’s best and fairest trophy twice, in 2013 and 2016.
Schmidt led the Bloods to a 30-point premiership victory over Woodville-West Torrens in 2015, the club’s first flag in 33 years.
“My body and mind needs a rest,” Schmidt told the Herald.
“It’s time to move to the next phase of my life.
“Naturally the highlights are the 2015 flag and playing AFL football with both the Crows and Brisbane.
“It is fitting that I’m retiring alongside my mate, Daniel Caire, as we started together at Westies in our early teens in the development squads.”
In the Bloods’ breakthrough premiership, Schmidt’s history-making Jack Oatey Medal winning performance included a mammoth 44 disposals.
The tough as nails midfielder later revealed he had suffered a broken rib during the game.
Schmidt is the second Mid North footballer to win the highly acclaimed award on the biggest day of the season, following Jason “Buckets” MacKenzie with Central District back in 2008.
Schmidt is a special part of West Adelaide history as well, joining six other Bloods premiership winning captains Bernie Leahy (1908, 1909), Jos Dailey (1911, 1912), Bruce McGregor (1927), Johnny Taylor (1947), Neil Kerley (1961) and Ian Borchard (1983) over 140 years of football at the club, being one of just four West Adelaide premiership captains since World War II.
Schmidt has a strong family history in the code, with his father Micky and older brother Nick.
Nick, the 2016 BLG football association Mail medallist, along with Chris, wears the number five jumper into battle. Their parents would regularly travel to watch their boys play most weekends.
His cousins, Tim (Sydney Swans) and Sam (West) are also top level footballers, while Chris’s uncle, the late Lindsay (Foxy) was a three-time Mail medallist at Robertstown.
A tennis protegee in his youth, Schmidt was originally drafted by the Brisbane Lions with the 34th selection in the 2006 AFL Draft, after playing for his state in the National Under 18 AFL Championships.
He debuted for Brisbane in round 10, 2007 as an 18-year- old against Richmond.
Schmidt moved back to Adelaide, made his Adelaide Crows debut in the round three loss to Melbourne in 2010, and picked up 20 disposals, playing 20 AFL games across the two clubs.
Schmidt sits comfortably in the top echelon for West Adelaide footballers, noted for his skill, work ethic, along with a never say die attitude and leadership.
He is undecided about his football commitments in 2018.