A familiar face to many of our players, Peter Dwyer knows everyone’s weak points, tender parts and sore bits! A trainer at our club for almost 13 years, Pete is relied upon by over 60 footballers and 50 netballers every week to make sure that they can go onto the ground or court knowing they are covered should injury occur. Pete has kept a book for years with all of the players injuries and treatments, a record of the club that is not about games played or goals kicked but probably just as interesting. Peter believes he has worked as a trainer at over 840 games of just football, let alone the netball competition! He has undertaken courses for massages, taping, first aid, concussion and is most probably Ballarat Football Netball League’s leading trainer. Pete has participated in the BFNL interleague approximately 9 times, works as a trainer with the GWV Rebels development squad and has traveled as head trainer to Cairns with the BFNL U/16’s squad. He is dedicated to his role and spends hours away from the club preparing for game day, packing gear, stock taking and will even strap players at his home if they need it to play a representative game for example. In fact, players that are no longer with us will still seek Pete out for attention.
Why would you sacrifice all of your free time to devote yourself to what is purportedly a hobby? Maybe it is to keep yourself awake and busy in your downtime? Pete’s nickname has been ‘Snooze’ for a very long time, attributed to his tendency to have forty winks whenever he sits down or has a few drinks! I think that could be why he keeps his life full with so many activities, both with work and the football club, no time for snoozing! A devoted family man, Pete’s wife Sally and both daughter’s have also been adopted into the North family. Laura is part of the succession planning with her role in training increasing, Em’s been a netballer at the club in the past and Sally helps us all out on game day. And it is the family feel at the club that keeps Peter here season after season. Always raring to go after the brief pre-season break, Peter enjoys the company of the players, watching them develop and progress through the club from young boys to senior players.
Originally from Daylesford, Peter was once running out from the opposition bench against North Ballarat and the likes of Peter Brown and John Orr. A Life Member at the Daylesford Football Club, Peter played over 100 senior games and won the Reserves Best and Fairest, playing only nine games to get the trophy. He regularly played CHB of CHF and it was only injury that stopped his play. Retiring after the birth of his first child, Peter was enticed back into playing at Learmonth when Malcolm Scott went to Learmonth to coach. At the fittest point of his life, Peter did his ACL during a practice game and was given the choice of retiring or divorcing. It was easier and cheaper to give up his football! He remains involved in the game he loves however with his love of training.
He has been with the club through the difficult Bendigo years to the Robbie Waters era and two premierships. When he first came on board, he had no ambitions to be head trainer but was happy working in the background, looking after the players. He was also chief bus driver in those days. Picking the bus up at 6am and heading out with the U/18’s, staying all day doing the training duties and then driving the senior’s home after their game at the end of the day. And if anyone remembers the Bendigo results in those days there were several stops along the way home to drown a few sorrows.
Pete has seen the club and the team progress from those years into the strong club North Ballarat has now become. He has watched as the club has gained great players like Derick Micallef and Jason McNamara who have contributed to the improved play of the whole playing group. He felt Daniel Ross Smith was one of the best players the club has seen but who’s career was short due to the toll on his body, Ayden George and current players Simon McCartin and Ryan Luke, who he admires both for skill and for the work they put in to keep themselves fit and prepared for this level of football. The excitement of being part of the premiership group in 2013 and 2014 was something he had never experienced as a player. And the injuries he has seen, punctured lungs, broken bones and concussions. The worst was the ruptured spleen sustained by Nick Sullivan at a game against Darley and the worry that Nick was not going to recover as his body began shutting down waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Probably one of his funniest (maybe) moments was when he ran out onto the ground, strapped up and ready to play in the reserves………..a bit of a joke for his wife Sally which backfired when Sally walked out of the club and didn’t speak to Peter for two days afterwards. Sally heard the crowd talking about the “old blokes” playing and turned around only to see Peter running out and completing the warm up with the team, that was enough for her and out she went. Pete had no intention of playing and only did so to stir her up. It certainly worked!
Peter’s role at the club is one that is vital and we wouldn’t be able to have the team’s run out onto the ground without people like Peter, Laura and Mick turning up on game days and training nights to make sure our players are receiving the best support possible with first aid and management of injuries. And it is getting harder to attract people like Peter to the club to help with these roles. The fear of making the right decision, strapping the player incorrectly and being responsible for treatment holds back many who may be interested. So hopefully, we will be seeing Peter still turning up at the club for sometime to come! I am sure there are many players at the club who would agree.