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Attard named Top Robin

Wednesday, 30th June, 2021

By Emily Ferguson

The West Broken Hill Football Club’s Past Players Reunion was held last Sunday, with Paul Attard named as the 2021 Top Robin.
The event was somewhat hindered by COVID restrictions, but went ahead nonetheless.
The guest speaker for the day was Scott Cummings, winner of the 1999 Coleman Medal who played at AFL level for Essendon, Port Adelaide, West Coast and Collingwood. While Colin Casey resumed the role of MC for the event, with John Lynch unable to travel back to Broken Hill.
The most special recognition of the West Old Timer’s event is the crowing of the year’s Top Robin, which this year went to Paul Attard.
Attard started at the West Football Club in the juniors, he went through winning premierships under Colin Tonkin. He coached successfully himself in the junior grades, winning premierships and educating the young men of the future.
He was described as someone full of determination and hard work, always prepared to do a little bit extra. Attard played 198 senior level games for the Robins and played an integral part in playing and winning a senior premiership of 1990, the club’s last.
Attard also coached the seniors, he helped out when the club found it difficult, as well as instigating improvements outside and inside the West clubrooms, providing many hours of dedication to volunteer work.
He has been involved with the West Football Club for over 43 years, either playing, coaching, mentoring, volunteering, working as a trainer, a first aider and anything else needed. He is also considered a stalwart of the red and black in cricket as well.
Paul Attard was emotional after he was announced as the 2021 Top Robin, initially choked up when he began his speech. He said what a great honour it was to be named as the Top Robin and spoke to his fond memories and love for the club.
“I really love this club. It’s been a part of my life for a very, very long time, I love the people around it,” he said.
“We haven’t won a premiership since 1990, but the club itself stuck together and stayed strong through that whole time and that comes down to the character of people around the club.”
Attard gave some advice to the current senior playing group, instilling his belief and their potential to go all the way.
“You young players these days, you’ve got the ability to win in. You really do have the ability to win it, but you need to work harder for it.
“Not only the seniors, B Grade boys, girls, it’s great to see the ladies here and you all do have the ability. But ability only means one thing, that’s all it is, ability. You’ve got to work hard and if you’re not going to work hard for it, it’s not going to come. No one is going to give it to you on a silver platter, you’ve got to work your ass off.
He shared his memories of hard work to win a flag, “I remember when Sprigger (David Sedunary) coached and we won. We were I suppose back then a bit blas‚, 19 years old playing in a grand final, playing a premiership, but we worked our ass off. Sprigger made us train Monday nights, Tuesday nights, Thursday nights and me and one of my mates were a bit overweight and unfortunately I still stayed that way.
“But me and my mate, we used to live down the road, Mick Bourke. We used to run out to the airport every Wednesday, out to the airport and back so a bit over ten kilometres every Wednesday so we could play A Grade football,” said Attard.
“I think some of you boys, like I said ability is a great thing but you’ve got to work that little bit harder to get to that next level. To get to that next level you’ve got to have that want, that desire and that commitment to get there. I think you’re committed to each other, now you’ve got to be committed to yourself as well. Be a little bit greedy, work that little bit harder to push yourself to the next level.”
Attard said at the end of the day he loves this club, “I love the people around it, you couldn’t get a better bunch of people. It’s great to see a good roll up today... As a club, stay strong, that’s what it’s about. It’s about staying strong and when you think you can’t do it, try harder, try harder and make it happen. Things just don’t fall in your lap, you’ve got to make it happen.
“So if you go around saying that ball is going to come to me, don’t stand there and watch, go and get the bloody thing. If someone is standing over the top of it, you knock them ass overhead and get that thing and get it to your mate - That’s what it’s about, it’s a team game.”
He shared what a great honour it was to be awarded Top Robin, “A great honour to be put up here with a lot of greats, that’s for sure. But I’m definitely not one of those, I’m just a person who loves this club and loves being around the people that are involved with this club, so thank you.”

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