FEW have done as much for sport at Laharum as Ben Peucker, and now the reserves footballer will enjoy his time in the spotlight.
Peucker will play his 300th game for the club against Harrow-Balmoral on Saturday.
The milestone means Peucker will also secure his life membership with Laharum.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“There’s been a bit of a countdown for a couple years now. I was unlucky in 2016 to have a bad knee injury which set me back a bit. It’s a hard milestone to get and not too many people get there.”
The last person to play 300 games for the Mountain Men was Stuart Combe in 2004.
“I’m pretty sure mum made a banner for Stuart Combe to run through and I remember playing that day but not realising the importance of it,” Peucker said.
Peucker first played in the reserves when he was 13. He remembers playing alongside Laharum legend and record games holder Des Roberts.
“It wasn’t structured like it is now, so you just rocked up and if you were lucky you got a game and I was 13 in my first,” he said.
“I remember playing in Des Roberts’ 400th game and it was my sixth game or something like that. You think those guys will just keep playing but now I’m at the end of my career and am playing alongside a lot of young guys.”
In his 299 games so far for Laharum, Peucker has kicked 343 goals, putting him eighth on the club’s all time goal-kicking list. 201 of those games were in the seniors and 98 in the reserves.
He has played in five grand finals and was part of Laharum’s 2013 premiership side.
“Kalkee were red hot favourites and they smashed us a couple weeks before the grand final,” Peucker said.
“That was a very exciting day. I’ve been lucky enough to play in five grand finals but to have that one win was very special. I have the jumper framed in the shed and I’ll remember that for a long time.”
Peucker’s dedication to Laharum goes a lot further then pulling on the jumper for a game of football.
Laharum is in Peucker’s blood and he involves himself with the whole community. He is president of the cricket club, secretary of the Laharum Sports Inc. and is currently in charge of grant applications for the football and netball club.
For the past decade he has worked tirelessly to bring new changerooms to Cameron Oval.
“I inherited a lot of it from mum and dad – Libby and Russell – and my grandparents too,” Peucker said.
“They have all done a lot for Laharum in their lives.
“The last 10-15 years we put a lot of planning into the changerooms. The last couple of years have been pretty hectic getting that project off the ground.
“We officially opened that at the end of June and everyone has been enjoying it, especially the netballers because they really didn’t have anything before that.”
After years of work on and off the ground, Peucker said it was fitting for his 300th game to be played against Harrow-Balmoral.
“My wife, Stacey, is from Balmoral and over the years we have spent a fair bit of time down that way at their functions and that kind of thing,” he said.
“We always enjoy a fair bit of banter with them on and off the field.”
Peucker hasn’t put a limit on his football career, but said he had plenty of years of junior sporting commitments ahead of him.
“I’ve been really enjoying the mateship this year with the team, both on and off the field after training and games,” he said.
“Our daughter Lilly is eight and had her first games of NetSetGo and Dusty is four and has had a couple of runs in the minis.
“It’s been enjoyable seeing that transition into junior sport. It’s fantastic to see the smiles on their faces. We have Maggie at home who is six months old now.
“I guess we have 15 years of early starts and junior games ahead of us now. That makes reserves football pretty enticing so we’re not there from the morning until late in the afternoon.”