Legend hits 40 years
WHEN the Pomona Demons' roughest of diamonds, Billy Magin, first strapped on the footy boots, Richard Nixon was president of the US and the first F-111C swing-wing wonder landed in Australia ready to take on the Viet Cong.
Those "flying pigs" are not long retired, but 58-year-old midfielder Magin is still going strong.
Well, at least the lower half of his body is willing and able to run okay for a bloke about to play his 700th senior game of Aussie rules, against Caboolture in the master's comp.
As for the top half - it's what you'd call a renovator's dream but plenty of cocky young pups Billy has come up against in recent years, after his 40 seasons of on-field skirmishes, certainly know there is plenty of mongrel in the old Demon yet.
Pomona officials, such as secretary Paul Bruce, are in awe of Magin's durability, sheer pig-headed toughness and unwavering commitment.
"He still gives as good as he gets out there on the field," Bruce said of one of Australia's greatest club men.
Since debuting in the seniors straight out of under 18s for Seaford, on the Mornington Peninsula, the construction worker has played around Australia, including South Australia, Perth, Darwin and Cairns.
Magin is in the Queensland AFL hall of fame representing south Queensland, north Queensland and the Sunshine Coast and has won an imposing nine country carnival flags.
After playing for Noosa in the early 1980s, Magin was talked into a move to Pomona in 1983.
He has been there ever since - as a player, coach, committee member and now club president.
In recent years, this noted high-ball leaper has done the hard yards for the Queensland Masters side and was twice named in the All Australian Masters side.
So what about the dreaded "r" word - has retirement ever entered his mind?
"It's a really big thought in my mind now but I'm not going to make a commitment that this is my last year," Magin said.
"My body is giving a good indication - it's saying 'you're an idiot'.
"I've had a couple of bad injuries. I've broken my cheek, broken my jaw twice, my nose about six times but I've been pretty lucky around the leg area and haven't had any serious knee injuries."
What keeps Magin, whose playing weight is 75kg "ringing wet", going is not a need to defy time but the sheer enjoyment he gets from everything about the sport.
And it is a family passion, with all six sons having played. Two of them, Rhys and Alik, were signed by Essendon and the Gold Coast Suns respectively, and his daughter played one year of footy.
Magin said he was able to keep up with the young guns by using his "footy smarts" on-field.
"When it comes down to a one-on-one, it's the only thing you've got," he said.