100 UP FOR BIG KOUTA

Published on: Aug 21 2013 | Author: admin |

Angus Kurtze was only 10 when he was branded ‘’Kouta’’ by his football coach.

By ZAC MILBANK | Twitter @zacmilbank

Angus Kurtze was only 10 when he was branded ‘’Kouta’’ by his football coach.

Little did the Sturt ruckman realise, the nickname – made popular by Carlton star Anthony Koutoufides – would still be used readily by his team-mates after playing 99 games at SANFL level.

But the 27-year-old’s story gets better when he reveals the man who titled him Kouta was none other than Double Blues great Jim Derrington.

Now, 17 years later, Kurtze’s name will join Derrington on the No.17 locker at Unley once the 199cm giant plays his 100th SANFL match against Port Adelaide at Alberton on Sunday.

‘’There’s a supporter who walks around with a No.17 guernsey and she is quick to remind me that it is for Jim and not me,’’ Kurtze said with a laugh.

‘’Jim is certainly a bit of a legend around the place.

‘’When you look at the names at the locker and realise you have met a couple of them, it is a nice feeling. I guess you are part of the history of the club and no doubt over time I will come to realise what it (playing 100 games) actually means.’’

Recruited to Envestra Park from Pembroke College as a teenager, Kurtze began his career with Sturt in the Under-17s in 2003.

After progressing through the ranks at Oxford Terrace, Kurtze made his debut in Round 4, 2006 under lights against North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

‘’All I can really remember from the night is that we got smashed,’’ said Kurtze, a lawyer at Thomsons Lawyers in the city.

From there, the raw ruckman resembled a yo-yo for several seasons as he was regularly forced to make way for fellow ruckmen such as seasoned star Simon Feast and Power-listed Fabian Deluca.

‘’It was a bit tough at the time,’’ Kurtze admitted.

‘’But there were some obvious players to replace me at the time so I understood it from a coaching perspective. At the time, it was good to have so many mates in the reserves so you were going back to a team that you still felt a part of so it was a lot easier.

‘’It was frustrating in that you want to play as many league games as you can to develop as a player but that is part of footy, you take the good with the bad.’’

The good Kurtze took with the bad was the opportunity to be guided by Feast, a premiership ruckman and duel best-and-fairest.

‘’He was great as he was obviously a fantastic player and mentor,’’ Kurtze said of the former Sydney Swan.

‘’He knew he wasn’t going to be around too much longer so he really took the time to teach the younger ruckmen by passing on some hints and tricks along the way.

‘’He taught me how to spread from contests effectively as he was always very smart in how he did that. Towards the end of his career he wasn’t the best runner but he always knew where to run, the angles to take and when to push back. That was the best advice he gave me.’’

Suddenly the tables have turned with Kurtze playing a mentoring role to the younger ruckmen at Sturt such as former Power stringbean Mitch Curnow.

‘’We’ve got a few good young ruckmen coming through so I am sure one of them will step up next year,’’ Kurtze said.