700 games - and Billy's still got fuel in the tank
WHEN the Pomona Demons' roughest of diamonds, Billy Magin, first strapped on the footy boots, Richard Nixon was President of the US and the first F-111C swing-wing wonder landed in Australia ready to take on the Viet Cong.
Those "flying Pigs" are not long retired, but 58-year-old Sunshine Coast midfielder Magin is still going strong.
Well, at least the lower half of his body is willing and able to run okay for a bloke about to play his 700th senior game of Aussie rules, against Caboolture in the masters comp.
As for the top half - it's what you call a renovator's dream, but plenty of cocky young pups Billy has come up against in recent years, after his 40 seasons of on-field skirmishes, certainly know there is plenty of mongrel in the old Demon yet.
Pomona officials such as secretary Paul Bruce are in awe of Magin's durability, sheer pig-headed toughness and unwavering commitment.
"He still gives as good as he gets out there on the field," Bruce said of one of Australia's greatest club men.
SINCE debuting in the seniors straight out of under-18s for Seaford on the Mornington Peninsula, the construction worker has played around Australia, including South Australia, Perth, Darwin and Cairns.
He is in the Queensland AFL hall of fame representing South Queensland, North Queensland and the Sunshine Coast, and has won an imposing nine country carnival flags.
After playing for Noosa in the early 1980s, Magin was talked into a move to Pomona in 1983. He has been there ever since - as a player, coach, committee man and now club president.
In recent years this noted high-ball leaper has done the hard yards for the Queensland Masters side and been named in the All Australia masters side twice.
So what about the dreaded "r" word - has retirement ever entered his mind?
"It's a really big thought in my mind now, but I'm not going to make a commitment that this is my last year," he said.
"My body is giving a good indication - it's saying you're an idiot.
"I've had a couple of bad injuries (over the years). I've broken my cheek, broken my jaw twice, my nose about six times, but I've been pretty lucky around the leg area and haven't any serious knee injuries."
What keeps Magin, whose playing weight is 75kg "ringing wet", going is not a need to defy time, but the sheer enjoyment he gets from everything about the sport.
And it is a family passion, with all his six sons having played. Two of them, Rhys and Alik, were signed by Essendon and the Gold Coast Suns respectively, and his daughter played one year of footy.
So how does he find competing with opponents so much younger than him - which is just about everybody?
"You've got to give as good as you receive out there on the football field," Magin said.
"You've got to use your footy smarts against them. When it comes down to a one on one, it's the only thing you've got - because they're younger and harder."