This weekend, he will play in the Round 15 Division One match against Balmain Tigers at Pennant Hills’ traditional home, Ern Holmes Oval. This is a significant milestone that ranks him as one of the highest games record-holders at the Club. Not only will the Demons be desperate for a win, but the boys will be determined to put on a strong showing to ensure the moment is one that Seb will look back on with pride and fond memories.
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 and we look forward to an inspired performance as the team strives to produce its best form, as finals loom large on the horizon.
Seb, now 34, first played footy as a six year old for Howrah Junior Football Club in 1988. Howrah is a beachside suburb of greater Hobart with views across the Derwent River to Hobart City. It’s a stone’s throw from Blundstone Arena (formerly Bellerive Oval). He played the better part of three seasons at Howrah before his family moved to Sydney, settling in the Hills district. According to his dad, Seb played 40 games in the Under 8s and 9s with Howrah and kicked 102 goals.
At this point I must stop to say something about Seb’s father. Seb’s dad is another Demons Club Icon, Ian ‘Chicken’ Parker. Now for anyone acquainted with him, they know Chicken to be an absolute footy fanatic, passionate about the code, the Club and his footballing son. He is also an administrator extraordinaire with a great eye for detail and a passion for process and systems. Although now retired, he still brings great energy and innovation to most things he does in life. Pennant Hills owes him a great debt for his long service and the systems and processes that he has instilled over a long period as an administrator of the footy club. Such is Ian’s obsession with this great game, that he has a record of every game … I mean EVERY GAME … Seb has played and every game, yes, I mean EVERY GAME, that Seb has missed through injury, as well as EVERY award and EVERY goal he has ever scored! For the majority of Seb’s footy statistics detailed in this story, I have Chicken to thank as the source.
So yes, before he’d reached 10 years of age, we already know that Seb averaged 2.6 goals per game playing for Howrah Juniors! His potential as a quality footballer was already on display as he won awards in each season including Best & Fairest and the Association’s Most Consistent.
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 in 1992 (Under 11), 1993 (Under 13) and 1996 (Under 16). 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, although his goal average had dropped to below 2 per game by this stage. 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.
In his final year of juniors, 1997, Seb was invited to play Under 18 football with Pennant Hills. The team finished 6th with 10 wins and 8 losses. Reflecting on the season, Coach Gary Brown reckoned it was a “commendable result” considering that “7 of our regular players were under 16 players who backed up playing 2 games each week and 14 of the players were first year under 18’s.” Seb was one of those 15 year olds and he played 10 games with the Under 18s that season, kicking 7 goals at 0.7 goals per game!
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. In 1998, the Under 18s finished 4th and were well beaten by St George in the first semi-final. The following year, the Under 18s were Minor Premiers and went on to win the flag, avenging the previous season’s finals loss to St George.
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. Of this incident, Ian Parker recalls that “the elbow was a complete reconstruction – just before they took him to theatre at about 2.30am they called me in to advise ‘they will do their best’!!!” to save Seb’s shattered elbow and there was a very real prospect that the arm may have been amputated.
“Following the surgery he was in intensive care for nearly 3 weeks (bruising of the brain) and when released the elbow was in a special brace for probably 3-4 months. The brace had adjustments that needed to be moved every day whilst he was in hospital – “up or down” to ensure movement would be maintained. The physio sessions were very intense over a long period and initially 2 or 3 days a week at Royal North Shore. The elbow had “wires etc” in it that needed to be removed probably 12 months later, and after that