By ZAC MILBANK
Sturt premiership wingman Steven Slimming jokes that his coach Marty Mattner would have him covered for distance in a long-kicking contest.
The similarities between the pair’s playing style are obvious, with both being hard-running, long-kicking left-footers plying their craft from a wing or a half-back flank.
And if you ask Slimming, if it wasn’t for Mattner, his coach at the end of 2016 after missing out on the AFL Draft, he may not be preparing for his 100th Hostplus SANFL League game at Wigan Oval on Sunday.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, the 24-year-old said he spent a considerable amount of extra time with Mattner, honing his craft while being reassured that playing at Unley was the best thing for his future.
It didn’t take long for the Unley Jets product to taste the ultimate success as a result, playing in the Sturt’s memorable 2017 premiership, a famous one-point win against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Slimming learned plenty during his first full season of senior football, playing alongside the likes of captain Zane Kirkwood and Jack Oatey Medallist Jack Stephens.
Now, as a member of the Double Blues’ leadership group, he is thriving on helping usher through the new generation at Oxford Terrace as he takes great joy in seeing the likes of Tom Lewis, Casey Voss and Will Coomblas thrive in 2022.
Having already donated his time for several years as an assistant coach in Sturt’s U15 development program, the corporate lawyer would again like to resume coaching once he hangs up his boots.
But first, there’s every chance Sturt’s No.39 racks up another 100 games to join SANFL’s 200 Club.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!