Sport

Xavier Leslie plays 250th

by
June 22, 2017

Xavier Leslie will play his 250th senior game this Saturday.

Yarrawonga's star centreman Xavier Leslie will play his 250th senior game this Saturday against Wangaratta Rovers where it all began in Round 2, 2002 - at the Hawks W J Findlay Oval.

When he played his 246th game, he overtook the late John (Oscar) Ryan to become the second highest senior player with the Pigeons, second only to the late and great Ken (Pascoe) Ellis who notched up 265 games.

Pascoe's total will be next on the list for Xavier, which will be next season all being well for the 31-year-old local real estate agent.

"When you're starting out you don't think about those things - you play each game on its merits," Xavier told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

"It's a fair bit of footy. I've had no real serious injuries. I've missed a few games (all up about 20).

"Pascoe was a real legend and a ripping bloke. You don't play footy to set records. It's something if I get it I get it, if I don't I don't."

He's certainly on track to break Pascoe's record, with excellent, consistent form this season and, although naturally spending more time with recovery than a decade ago, still enjoys training.

Many achievements are apparent by the Morris Medallist. At age 16, going straight from the Thirds to the Seniors, playing in his first match, Xavier's first kick was a goal against Wang Rovers which was a thrill.

But its gets much bigger. He won the club's best and fairest awards in 2005 and 2008, the Morris Medal in 2013, represented Ovens and Murray for four years at carnivals, a 2007 VCFL representative, runner up in best and fairests on three occasions, third three times, top five on 10 occasions in 15 seasons, team vice captain on numerous occasions, stand-in captain on occasions and nearly 100 goals.

in the premierships of 2006, 2012 and 2013, Life Membership in 2013, featuring in the best players in all three flags, playing in seven grand-finals and 30 finals.

"The biggest highlights obviously were those flags. With the first one, I was only 20 at the time and probably didn't appreciate it as much as the back-to-back flags in 2012 and 2013. They were pretty special," Xavier said.

Thriving on a challenge and always the team man, Xavier rates Wangaratta's 'Hoppa' McCormack as his toughest opponent but at the same time, the one he liked to play against the most.

He rates former Pigeon Jarrod Sutherland as the player that makes you stand taller, "simply because he frightened the life out of opposition".

Nick Dykes and Clinton Shoppee are two Pigeons deserving huge respect according to Xavier, for the way they represented the club and the success they achieved in winning three Reserves premierships and getting respect for their club.

"In the Ovens and Murray competition, the three smaller clubs Myrtleford, Corowa/Rutherglen and Yarrawonga have always got the hardest job in remaining competitive," Xavier said.

"I've appreciated the work done by the Pigeons to be one of the top clubs for the greater part of my career. I thank everyone for their support and believe only good things will happen for the Pigeons this season.

"There's probably never been a more passionate clubman than Glenn Brear . He's certainly been a mentor to me."

Before his senior career at Pigeonland, Xavier played junior football in Yarrawonga, two seasons, starting at age 14, in the Thirds, one more game in the Thirds to start off season 2002, then into the seniors, having been introduced to football by proud dad Rod who played with Robinvale in the Sunraysia League.

enjoyed the journey to 250 games and urge every Pigeon supporter to get on board and support the club," a real club favourite Xavier said.

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