Merimbula man, and Bega Bombers’ new recruit, Neil Rainbow is breaking the record books.
Rainbow created Sapphire Coast AFL history, playing his 150th game for the Bega Bombers reserve grade against the Merimbula Diggers at the Bega Showground on Saturday.
Rainbow took up playing with the Merimbula Marlins senior squad at 55 years of age back in 2003.
Since then, he has been on a “journey” of playing Aussie rules at both senior and reserve grade levels.
Unfortunately the Marlins folded a few years later, but that led to opportunities for Rainbow to play with a number of Far South Coast clubs.
The Pambula Panthers, Merimbula Diggers and now the Bega Bombers have played home to the veteran.
During his tenure at each of the clubs he has been awarded for his efforts on the field, in spite of his age.
Clubs have embraced his experience off the field too.
He has regularly assisted umpiring in trial selections for Far South Coast representative teams at various school levels, but also umpired zone representative games.
Bega Bombers senior coach Matt Fleet addressed the crowd before Rainbow’s momentous game.
“Our Bega Bombers Football Club stands by traditional core culture principles,” Fleet said.
“No matter who you are, where you come from, or no matter what age you are, you can play for us.”
Fleet said the Bombers welcomed Rainbow a few weeks ago.
“In Neil Rainbow’s case there has always been an open invitation to play for us.
“We know he is fit and can really play.
“Undoubtedly he will prove to be an asset to our club not only as a player, but his wealth of life-long experience will assist our blossoming club now and into the future”.
On Saturday, Rainbow led the reserve grade through a banner noting the milestone at the age of 66.
Rainbow said it was also a proud moment for him to be named honorary captain of the reserve grade for the game.
The club announced some of Rainbow’s history in SCAFL as play got underway.
Rainbow said he thoroughly enjoyed the game, playing a four-quarter effort against his former club.
He will play later this year for Vic Metro in the AFL Masters National Championships to be held at the exclusive Westminster Private College in Adelaide, South Australia.
Rainbow is a life member of the Vic Metro Club.
He said despite his age, he was still passionate about the game and enjoyed sharing that passion with the players around him.