Harmer calls time after 14 years

Young Saints stalwarts Geoff Harmer has hung up the boots after 14 years. Image: Michelle Steinhardt.

He has played 14 seasons, about 234 games, won two grand finals and was named Best on Ground in his final game.

Now Young Saints AFL Club’s Geoff Harmer will put away the boots as he retires from the sport.

But the 44-year-old won’t give up AFL entirely as he plans to take on a coaching and umpiring role within the club.

Harmer first played for the Saints as a 13-year-old in 1984, just two years after the club joined the new Central West AFL league.

The club went on to compete in the preliminary finals in 1986 in what Harmer recalls as a bad day for the Saints with Dubbo defeating Young in all three grades.

He continued to wear the red, black and white singlet until 1988 when the club folded and stayed that way for the next 19 years.

“I didn’t see that season out because I broke my ankle in the fifth or sixth week into the competition,” he said.

“I was on the sideline when everything went south.”

After 18 months in recovery Harmer tried his luck at rugby league and competed in the Woodbridge Cup competition. He’s first to admit league wasn’t his strong point, so instead he headed to Sydney where he trained with the Campbelltown Blues.

On returning to Young Harmer caught wind of the Saints reforming and, according to several former members, he’s said to have been the driving force behind this success.

“He’s been the rock and the most enthusiastic person, the driving point, especially with the start-up in 2007,” 1980s club member Kris McCaffery said.

“He’s very enthusiastic and has a good appreciation of the history of the club because he was there when it started, and has a really strong understanding about the need for the juniors to come through.”

That was nine years ago.

Harmer has since played an active role on the club’s committee, played around 194 games in the senior grade, coached junior grades to finals, saw the introduction of Auskick and was the driving force behind the High School Competition now in its second year.

“I’d like to think in some sort of way I’ve been able to contribute to the club both on and off the field and in the development of players,” Harmer said.

“I’ve always been happy to take the time and work with players struggling with something, so if I’ve managed to help somebody or a couple of guys better their skills and keep them interested, I’ve probably done my part as well.”

Highlights for Harmer over this time include being runners-up in 2009, premiers in 2010, runners-up in 2013 and premiers again in Reserve Grade just a few weeks ago – the perfect way to finish his career.

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