“Mate, I’m 40 this year. I don’t think I can help you out in a playing capacity.”
That was Mark Armstrong’s response to Queanbeyan Tigers coach Kade Klemke after he turned to the club legend amidst the chaos of trying to build a list for 2015.
The Tigers entered 2015 having lost upwards of 40 players from last season’s squad, leaving Klemke with a list lacking in experience.
So, five years in to retirement, the 323-game veteran affectionately known as ‘Merv’ agreed to pull on his Number 2 jumper and help out.
“We put together a bit of a plan that might see me out there some weeks,” Armstrong said.
“It stems from the loss of players last year, and a desire to help out the club that have been so good to me.”
Legend has it that the towering full-forward has worn the nickname since his Tigers debut in 1993. During the game, the great Alan Muir took notice of Armstrong in his new black and gold jumper and quickly asked around for his name.
Muir heard ‘Merv’, and off to The Queanbeyan Age he went with beaming reports about a young ‘Merv Armstrong’ that had been recruited from East Wagga.
And so in time this new recruit would go on to become one of the best that Aussie Rules in this region has seen, booting hundreds of goals on his way to three flags.
“My highlights in my footy career are, like most blokes, winning premierships. I was fortunate enough to be involved in three – 1998, 1999 and 2000, which was some time ago,” laughs the 27-time Canberra representative.
“Football has been great for me. I’ve met so many people and had the opportunity to travel the country through the representative program with the ACT side.”
Since his retirement in 2010, Armstrong has had a front-row seat to observe just how much the game has changed since he came to Queanbeyan.
“The game is always changing. It’s probably changing at a quicker rate than at any other time in football history.
I have been involved in coaching capacities at different levels, including the Giants. That gave me a great opportunity to see what’s happening at the AFL standard,”
“There is lots of things that have evolved since I first started footy in 1993 with Queanbeyan.”
Armstrong has proven age is no barrier by adding two more goals to his impressive CV in his comeback game, and here’s hoping the AFL Canberra legend nabs a few more throughout the year.
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR AFL CANBERRA: http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-1051-0-247306-0&sID=283705&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=34543062