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Fabulous Phil: South veteran joins 400 club

Saturday, 30th May, 2015

South’s Phil Neal will make it 400 A-grade games this afternoon when his side takes on Central. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel South’s Phil Neal will make it 400 A-grade games this afternoon when his side takes on Central. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Patrick Reincke

Today at 2.30pm, after playing football for 22 years, South’s Phil “The Colonel” Neal will play his 400th A-grade game at the Alma Oval against Central.

Since running onto Jubilee Oval in 1993 in his first A-grade game against West, Phil has became an icon of the South Football Club and has more than a few accolades to his name over his prolific career.

Eight premierships and three Best and Fairest awards are just some of the honours Phil has achieved and he is honoured to reach such an enormous milestone.

“I feel privileged to get that far in my career, it feels pretty good,” said the 38-year-old, who is still fighting fit after all these years.

Phil only sustained one injury back in 2009.

“I’ve been pretty lucky and blessed,” he said.

“Hopefully I can play this year out and see what happens over the pre-season next year.

“The body hasn’t been too bad.”

Phil has spent all of his time at the South Football Club and loves the atmosphere down at the Alma.

“The culture here is really good.

“The young lads around the club are all enthused, they want to play football and they want to win.

“We all want to strive to do one thing and that’s win a premiership.”

South A-grade coach Craig Thomas was full of praise for the milestone man.

“He’s very passionate and he’s very proud to be wearing number 26 of the red and white.

“Week in, week out he gets himself ready for it.

“He’s very smart, he knows where to run to, he uses his body very well.

“400 games is a remarkable achievement.

“In my book, he’s a champion of the game.”

Phil continues to be a vital player in the Roos’ game plan as he consistently performs well up forward and on the ball.

Over the time he’s played with the South Football Club, he has become a well respected player and continues to be a major mentor in the development of up and coming juniors.

“I’ve got a role to play,” Phil said.

“As long as I’m playing that role and playing my part and I’m contributing to the team, I’m happy.”

Phil will join Central’s Brett Morris as the only two Broken Hill players to join the 400 Club.

“I’m happy to keep on playing my football, I’m enjoying it.”

 

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