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250 for ‘Bongo’

Saturday, 11th July, 2015

Central’s Justin “Bongo” Heath will chalk up his 250th A-Grade this weekend when his beloved Magpies take on West. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke Central’s Justin “Bongo” Heath will chalk up his 250th A-Grade this weekend when his beloved Magpies take on West. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke

By Patrick Reincke

Central midfielder Justin Heath will notch up a remarkable milestone today at Memorial Oval when his side plays host to West.

The 2006 Lionel Johnston Medallist will play his 250th A-Grade game in the black and white with the 31-year-old reasonably calm about the whole thing.

“I think it’ll hit home on Saturday morning before the game,” he said.

“The boys are pretty excited and hopefully we can get over the line.”

The Magpies’ centre man was part of the 2001, 2006 and 2010 A-Grade Premiership sides with 2006 being a very successful year.

“It was a very good year for me personally but the team’s success was also great.”

Heath was awarded the Lionel Johnston Medal and also the Central ‘Best and Fairest’ award for his outstanding year in 2006.

But it wasn’t all good times with the 2012/13 seasons proving to be quite a strain on the Central Football Club.

A-Graders were dropped into Reserves games and then pulled back up to play A-Grade as well with some Reserves players having to make the jump up also.

Heath was the one to put his hand up and take the reins through the testing times and steered the Magpies out of danger and off the bottom of the ladder.

A-Grade Coach Jarred Hinton was full of praise for the milestone man but he couldn’t resist having a jibe at the 250-gamer.

“He’s a dream to coach, he does everything you want him to do, you wish all players were like him.

“He works hard; he gives 100% all the time and he never stops.

“If your daughter is going to bring someone home, you’d want her to bring someone home like Justin, because he’s a good lad and a top bloke.

“He’s got everything going for him ... except he’s short, fat and bald.”

Heath will turn 32 this coming August but says he wants to keep playing for as long as he can.

“Hopefully I still have a few more years to go,” he said.

“They’re going to be slow years but hopefully I’ll keep playing on.”

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