The Singleton Bulls will welcome a seventh member to their 300-game club when they host Nelson Bay tomorrow afternoon.
And this addition has been worth its weight in gold for his club since his debut at 18 in 2003.
“I love the game and that’s why I always play it,” Dr Mitchell Tanner said this afternoon when he received a visit from the Singleton Argus.
The 35-year-old will join former players Gary Buckton (who reached the milestone in 1992), Shane Thompson (1994), Bruce Robinson (1997), Michael Cruickshanks, Ashton Partridge and current club manager Matt Staff (2012) .
Still, his main goal is to secure a victory for his third-year team (currently ranked fifth) to secure their place in the NHRU Final with one round to lose.
“Tomorrow’s speech to the boys will be, ‘although it’s a very special day for me, the most important thing is just to go out and win’ because we’re one game away,” he explained.
“I was a freshman captain in my 200th game and we lost that one.
“I don’t remember my 100th, but chances are we probably didn’t win that one either, so best of all I’d like to win tomorrow and celebrate that.”
Highlights of Tanner’s career include serving as premier, captain of the Bulls’ freshman team (during his 100+ game stint in the upper tier) and playing alongside his youngster Brother Blake.
His off-field qualifications include a Bachelor of Medicine (University of Newcastle), a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) and a Fellow of the Australian Medical Association.
So it’s fair to say that his help has been requested on the sidelines on several occasions.
“Most of the patients who recognize me on game day are actually playing and I think some of the opposing teams are surprised when they find out what I do for a job,” added the Singleton-based doctor.
“The crowd also knows who you are and that tears you up a bit, but it’s all in the right nature.
“(I’ll admit it) Saturday afternoon (during the postgame) is probably my busiest day of the week to tell you the truth, but that is contact sport territory.”
Having played in a handful of first-year-level positions, the proud Bull even admits this year that he has had four different roles on the pitch for his Finals-linked third-year squad.
“You could say I’m the jack of all trades but the master of none,” he laughed.
“Most of the guys unfortunately pulled the pin out due to injuries, but I was very lucky in that regard.
“I love the game and I love the club because together they are an outlet to catch up with your friends.”
When asked what advice he would give young Mitchell Tanner ahead of his first game in April 2003?
“My advice would be to calm down a bit and collect a few less yellow cards in the future.”
Meanwhile, the Singleton Bulls will also recognize Mitchell Bayley’s milestone (200 club games) in the sophomore game before Daniel Jordan becomes the 129e member (joining his father Mark) to play his 100e in the freshman game.