2022 SANFL Premiership Captain Matthew Nunn has been named Norwood Football Club skipper for a third season.
Nunn – who has played at the Club since he was 12 – will Captain the side alongside a seven-man Leadership Group, which includes Jacob Kennerley (VC), former Captain Matthew Panos, Declan Hamilton, Nik Rokahr, 2022 Best and Fairest Harry Boyd, and Jack Heard.
“It is really special, I am into my third year now of being lucky enough to be named Captain of this Football Club,” Nunn said.
“I am really proud to be in this position, I got the Captaincy when I was quite young and I am still developing into the role. I am really lucky to be in the position where I can continue to learn and grow.
“I have a great support team around me in the other leaders and coaches which really helps.”
The 25-year-old took over the Captaincy at the age of 23.
“I felt a lot more nervous heading into my first year as Captain, I put too much pressure on myself and tried to do things differently from how I would normally go about it,” Nunn said.
“I maybe bit more off than I could chew (in my first year), but now I feel like I am better at delegating things to other leaders, leaning on the other players in the team and stepping in when I need to.”
Nunn said he had been in leadership positions throughout his time at the club, during his U16 and U18 seasons.
“I am used to the leadership role – I had a chat with Twig (Senior Coach Jade Rawlings) saying that I wanted to be a Captain of this club one day, and from there we resonated well with each other, understood what our directions were and how we could make the club better,” Nunn said.
“It was scary getting the Captaincy so young, but it has shaped me as a person and player.”
He said the role was a lot more than speaking up at training and leading the team out on game day.
“There are a few more responsibilities as Captain, you go to Club and SANFL events, and you always think as a Captain – putting your best foot forward on behalf of the club,” Nunn said.
“I love being personable with all of the players, because we are out on the field together in battle so you want their respect and trust that you and they will get the job done.
“If anyone is struggling I want to be the person that they look to for guidance or inspiration.
“I am big on being a friendly and approachable Captain, but at the same time when I need them to perform and bring high standards they are going to be there for me.”
Former Captain and Premiership hero Matthew Panos has been of great assistance to Nunn.
“I wouldn’t be the leader I am today without Nos (Panos) and Mitch Wilkins, I ring Nos all the time because he has such a cool head under pressure,” Nunn said.
“I have learnt a lot from him, about how to handle things when they are not going well, but also how to be a good person in those situations, such as injury.”
Nunn has fond memories of 2022, bringing home the club’s 31st SANFL Premiership, but admitted it was challenging at times when trying to lead the club when sidelined with injury for an extended period.
“It was such a topsy-turvy year,” he said.
“I haven’t had a year as Captain yet where I haven’t had a bad injury – in my first year I was out for nine weeks with a hamstring, and last year the same timeframe with a syndesmosis.
“These injuries have been character building, as Captain you feel helpless when you are on the sideline watching on.
“But that’s footy, things happen, you get injured, and then you win a flag a few weeks later.”
Nunn returned from injury for the Qualifying Final loss to Adelaide, and from there his side defeated Glenelg (Semi), Adelaide (Prelim) and North Adelaide (Grand Final) to hoist the cup.
“That was special (winning the 2022 Premiership), there were only three or four of us out there that lost the 2018 Grand Final so that one still burnt deep for me, so to lift the cup with Twig was unbelievable,” Nunn said.
“We had spoken about it many times over the past three years together that (winning the Premiership) was our goal, so to get there and see the satisfaction on everyone’s faces, coming back to the club and seeing everyone – that’s when you realise it’s bigger than the players and coaches, the whole club got to celebrate such a big event.”
Nunn now has a Premiership Medal at home, but is eyeing his next milestone – 100 games for the Norwood Football Club (currently on 91).
“The milestone is in the back of my head, I have had a couple bad years of injury so if it wasn’t for that I would probably be there by now,” he said.
“I am very excited – every day we walk past our lockers and they have the names on there of those who have played 100 games, so in nine games time I will be there on the locker. To be there alongside the likes of Garry McIntosh is special.
“I have been here since U12s and am about to play 100 games – that seems a bit surreal for me, it’s amazing how fast time goes.”
Looking forward to 2023, Nunn said the club had a clear goal in mind.
“Back-to-back is the main goal, it’s the goal every year to win it and we were lucky enough that last year was our year,” he said.
“I am looking forward to seeing the growth in some players and we have some new players as well which I am excited about – some have come from interstate, but we also have some young guys that are starting to find their way and dominate our training sessions and Trials.
“Rounds 1, 2 and 3 is going to be massive, we have three tough games against top teams. Hopefully we get 5000-plus here screaming for us on a Friday night in Round 1 against the Eagles.”
Norwood opens its season with three massive matches at Coopers Stadium against Woodville-West Torrens (Friday, March 31), Sturt on Easter Thursday (April 6), and North Adelaide on Anzac Day (April 25) in the Grand Final Rematch.
By Josh Teakle – Norwood FC