They didn’t call Shaun Burgoyne ‘Silk’ for nothing — and it’s clear that the four-time AFL premiership champion still has it.
The Port Adelaide and Hawthorn legend booted two goals and showed ample class to, just like in his playing career at the top level, lead the Dalyston Magpies to a big 48-point win over Garfield in the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition.
Burgoyne, who played 407 AFL games — one of five players to hit the quadruple century — and only just retired at the end of last season, was the latest ex-great to play a game for a local footy club around Victoria as part of The Carlton Draft Series.
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The town of Dalyston, located 125km southeast of Melbourne in the Bass Coast Shire of Gippsland, had been doing it tough, with the proud 112-year old club struggling to retain junior players, while volunteers have been hard to come by as the current group fatigue experiences.
But Burgoyne’s appearance injected life into the club and community on Saturday in a wet and windy conditions.
After a tight opening quarter where both teams built into the game, Burgoyne set up his team’s first goal after typical class through the center of the ground to help Dalyston get out to a 15-9 lead at the first break.
The 39-year old put through his first goal of the match at the start of the second quarter with a stylish rove off hands and a silky finish — no pun intended — on the run from 35 meters out to really get the Magpies going and push out to a 34-11 advantage at the main break.
Burgoyne continued his brilliant command in the middle of the ground in the second half to, as excepted, look a level above his peers.
It was party time in the fourth quarter as Dalyston’s supporters enjoyed some cold beers in the freezing cold conditions, while Burgoyne capped off the day with the last goal of the match as he was mobbed by teammates in the 11.9 (75) to 3.10 (28 ) win.
It marked the second win in a row for Carlton Draft players (overall 2-2) after Dale Thomas’ epic triumph last week for Nhill Tigers — ending a 1029-drought for the club.
Great vision emerged post-match of Burgoyne signing the club song with team members in the black and white stripes.
“I would’ve preferred him in black and white stipes a lot earlier than this, to be honest. He would’ve been handy,” Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley said of Burgoyne on Fox Footy’s Best on Ground.
Saints great Nick Riewoldt added: “They’re great pictures, aren’t they? It was a big act to follow after Dale Thomas last week put on an absolute clinic and delivered the first win in over three years.
“Rolled into town, did his thing. Teams that Shaun Burgoyne plays for just win.”
Local MP of Bass Jordan Crugnale said post-match Burgoyne’s appearance had done wonders for the community.
“This is has been a whole community event. It’s great for the community to have Shaun down here,” he said.
“We (the local council) have supported a number of sporting clubs with grants during the pandemic as they fought hard to stay afloat. It’s remarkable to our communities looking after each other.
“We’ve had plenty of sausage sizzles and other fundraising events but this initiative takes it to the another level. To see all of the smiling faces is tremendous.”