This weekend the Club acknowledges a significant milestone achieved by one of the Demon’s longest serving players, Sebastian (‘Sebby’) Parker. In this week’s Round 1 Division One match Seb will play his 250th open-age game for the Pennant Hills Demons. This match will also be his first time as Player/Coach of the Division One team, a role he has taken on this season. Year 2022 is Seb’s 23rd season of footy with the Demons.
Sebastian joined Penno in season 1997 and played 3 seasons with the Under 18 team. He was captain and twice Best & Fairest for the colts. He made his first grade debut in 1999 and became a regular member of the Premier Division side from 2002 until 2016 before stepping down to Reserve Grade side and then, more recently, is now playing and coaching the Division One side.
He was captain/co-captain of the 2006 and 2008 Premier Division Premiership sides
Seb, now 40, first played footy in 1988 as a six year old in Hobart, Tasmania for Howrah Junior Football Club.
Arriving in Sydney in 1990, he joined Westbrook Juniors mid-season, the first of eight seasons, 1990 to 1997, playing from Under 9s through to Under 16s. With Westbrook, Seb won three premierships. He was a junior representative player from the Under 11s on, and a state representative in Under 13s, 14s and 16s, culminating with a game in the Under 16 NSW/ACT Rams in 1997. He played 139 club games for Westbrook and kicked 235 goals. Not surprisingly, he was a highly decorated junior player winning the Club’s Under 16 Best & Fairest Award in his final season and was also Northside Association runner up. In a big finish to his junior career, Seb was also Players Player and Best in Grand Final that year. He was runner up Best & Fairest on two other occasions (1994 Under 13 and 1996 Under 16). There is little doubt that Seb was a footballer of great talent and potential at this point in his footy career.
Graduating from Westbrook Juniors at the end of 1997, Seb then played two further seasons of Under 18 footy. He was Co-Captain (with Leigh Mortimer) in 1999 and was voted Best & Fairest in both seasons, 1998 and 1999.
At this point, Seb was starting to forge a formidable record as a young footballer and, as the saying goes, “the sky was the limit” insofar as his potential beckoned. Then, out of the blue, tragedy struck.
After attending teammate, Lachlan Howarth’s, 18th birthday celebration in Thornleigh, Seb was struck by a motor vehicle, mangling the elbow of his right arm and delivering him a bad knock to his head.
The accident and injury could conceivably have been the end of Seb’s footy career, one that had shown so much promise, but thankfully he was eventually to make a full recovery. Two years of intensive rehabilitation meant that he missed two whole seasons of footy.
He was at last able to resume his playing career in 2002, starting in the Reserves, then promoted to first grade side where he has played most of his footy for the club. Whilst it was a long time coming, he was awarded the Ken MacRae Shield for the Best First Year Local Player in 2002, six years after joining the club. Seb played mainly Premier Division until 2016, when he stepped done to the Reserves and in recent times has been playing in the Division One team.
Seb’s football career with Pennant Hills has been amongst the best on record. He was Co-Captain (with Michael Talbot) of the 2006 Premiership side and was again at the helm for the 2008 Flag. Add to this his 1999 Under 18 premiership, and that makes three flags as captain … a rare distinction at Pennant Hills!
Seb’s footy career has been somewhat plagued by injury and in 2015 a broken wrist meant he missed out playing in the miraculous Grand Final victory over East Coast Eagles in 2015.
Seb is a right foot kick and has played most of his football in jumper No 2. He was an on-ball player in juniors and Under 18s but notes that as he has got older “the further and further away from the centre I find myself.” For much of his senior career he’s found his best position in the backs, where his dour defensive skills come to the fore.
Premiership team-mate and fellow 250 game milestoner, Matt Carey, speaks glowingly of Seb. He describes him as a ‘general’ in the back-half. He sets a great example through his hard work and cool and calm disposition even when under extreme pressure. He says that Seb “knows a lot about the game – both on-field and off; I respect what he has to say and he’s worth listening to.”
Undoubtedly, there are many team-mates over a long period of time who have marvelled at Seb’s ability, professionalism and passion for football. He is a popular player at the Club, if not considered a little quirky, and affectionately known simply as ‘Sebby’ or just ‘Seb’. On-field he is immediately recognisable, not just for his footy prowess, but for the blue elbow guard which he has worn as a badge of honour since returning to the game he loves in 2002.
This season Seb has taken on the mantle of Player Coach of the Division One team.
On the day of his 250th game, we pay tribute to a great career and a role-model with few peers, one that has triumphed over tragedy, and serves as an exemplar of what can be achieved through perseverance, passion and the will to succeed. Seb, who has been a great servant of this great Club over a long period, deserves success on this important occasion. So, here’s wishing Seb and his team all the best.
Congratulations Seb on a stellar football career and on reaching this fantastic milestone.