Russ Matthews surrounded by his sons hoping for a win.
Russ Matthews surrounded by his sons hoping for a win.

Keeping it in the family

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

'MATTHEWS passes to Matthews who runs and receives a great shepherd from Matthews before he kicks long to the square where it's a great mark taken by Matthews'. There's a very distinct possibility that a piece of commentary like this could be heard at some stage of this afternoon's AFL North Coast grand final at the Coffs Coast International Stadium. Today's Sawtell team will boast four Matthews brothers in their line-up. There's the eldest of the clan Luke, who's 23, Dean (21), Scott (19) and Todd who's a spritely 17 years old. To make sure the Saints are fully involved in a family affair, the youngest of the five boys, Beau (15), will be playing in the under-18s grand final while dad Russ is coaching the eldest four to what he hopes is premiership glory. During a game, the father of the group appears to be thinking of nothing but business as he plots the tactics that will ensure victory each week. He does admit though that there are moments when he can't ignore the family connection. One of those will be when the Saints run out this afternoon for the season's climax against the Swans. "This Saturday knowing that the five of them are all going to be on the ground, it's pretty special," Russ said. "Not many people get the opportunity to have that sort of feeling obviously. You might have a couple of kids but I doubt many have five sons out on the ground. "Their grandad is coming up again to watch so it will make another generation there." Sport has been a huge way of life for the family and the family patriarch explained that there's been a lot of running around done by both himself and wife Kerry to get all five to their various sporting activities over the years. "They've played basketball, cricket, football and tennis so they've shared the sports around," he said. "Football has been the main one that they've been involved in with me and probably basketball was more their mum Kerry with them. We better make sure we give her a mention." As the oldest brother, Luke says he has no choice but to keep a protective eye out for his younger siblings on the field but he says that sharing the premiership feeling with family is second to none. "It's the best feeling ever," he said. "Obviously I've had Dean always with me because we're closer in age but to have all four of us there and hopefully have all five of us one day would be excellent. "It gives you that pride and definitely that boost but I think that would go for any person who has all their brothers playing with them."



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