Sport

Backwell to tackle Mackay mission

Bay Power on-baller Dean Backwell has announced he is leaving the club.
Bay Power on-baller Dean Backwell has announced he is leaving the club. Valerie Horton

AFL Wide Bay teams will no longer have to worry about swatting the league's biggest "serial pest" with Bay Power ball magnate Dean Backwell announcing he is leaving the club.

Backwell will be relocating north in January after being appointed the new development coordinator for AFL Mackay.

It's a terrific opportunity for the 30 year old who has produced great work in his part-time role as a development officer in the Wide Bay region.

While there are obvious and understandable career reasons for him to be leaving Hervey Bay, which he has called home since he was nine, Backwell said it was still a tough decision.

"The day they told me I got it (job) I was real nervous, but it wasn't until the weekend when it started to sink in," he said.

"There were a few plans I had for AFL here in Wide Bay and now someone else is going to take on that work and that's the more scary bit because I don't have a hand in it.

"But this new role means I'm moving up the ranks in AFL Queensland circles and gives me more responsibility and a chance to take on a higher role."

Backwell is a huge loss for Bay Power. He is arguably the club's best midfielder, having claimed their best and fairest last season and won the Stedman Medal (AFL Wide Bay's best and fairest award) last year.

He was also recently named the club's new captain for season 2015, an honour he had never achieved.

"I've never captained a senior side and this year was going to be my first time," Backwell said.

"I was all excited.

"I had asked for the captaincy and was keen and looking forward to having a big year.

"Now I'm leaving, it's a bit upsetting I won't be able to captain a side for the first time, which will be tough."

The consistent, tenacious ball-winner played for all three Fraser Coast clubs - Bay Power, Hervey Bay Bombers and Maryborough Bears - and has played almost 200 games since making his senior debut in 2001 with the Bombers.

He's represented Wide Bay seven times, won four best and fairest awards - two at the Power and two at the Bears - and was part of the Bombers' 2005 premiership team.

Not bad for a guy who doesn't look like a footballer.

"The mateship is the biggest thing I'm leaving behind," Backwell said.

"Over the years, I have made so many mates and the best thing about playing a team sport is the mateship you make.

"From the Bombers, to Maryborough and now the Power, there are so many people I have met and love and count as my family and friends.

"Most people will tell you I'm a serial pest, on and off the field, but I'm just someone who plays hard and wants to get the footy every time I take the field and have as much fun as I possibly can."



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