HE IS a Brownlow Medallist and three-time premiership player, but that was not enough for Jason Akermanis to help the Albany Sharks to a first-up win in the six-team Great Southern Football League in Albany, Western Australia.
Sharks coach Joe Galantino enlisted the services of the 35-year-old former AFL star to play a one-off game to celebrate its first-ever A grade encounter in the GSFL on Saturday against Denmark-Walpole.
But despite having Akermanis in the side, the Sharks, who have been running reserve and colts teams for a couple of years, were beaten by 21 goals by the Magpies, who won the GSFL flag in 2010.
Josh Nyman, who played alongside the ex-Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs star, said Akermanis, reportedly paid $7000 to turn out for the Sharks, had told his new teammates he was carrying a bit of an injury which may have accounted for his limited impact.
"He said before the game that he had some groin tightness," Nyman said.
"He probably had about 10-12 touches.
"He started down back but also rotated through the midfield."
"It was certainly a thrill to play alongside an ex-AFL player and for someone of his calibre to play in a country football league was fantastic."
Akermanis, presently starring on Celebrity Apprentice on Channel Nine, might not have made much of an impression on the ground, but Sharks officials were hoping his appearance would bring some much-needed revenue to the fledgling club's coffers.
Well-known for his often outspoken comments, Akermanis attracted immediate outrage after criticising former Melbourne legend Jim Stynes just days after his death in March.
Despite that, he drew a large crowd to watch him run around in the teal and black, and a much smaller audience at a function in the Collingwood Park clubrooms afterwards where he spoke about his AFL career.