The 2010 season saw the Pirates celebrate 25 years of participation in organised Gridiron in New South Wales, and to mark the occasion a 25th Anniversary Team was selected from amongst all the players to have worn the Pirates jersey during that time.
The selection panel was made up of people who have had an association with the Club during its history and included –
Dan Cole – (1986 – 1990, 1994 – 1998) Pirates Founder and first Head Coach
Darrin Mitchell – (1989 – 1991, 1999 – 2006) Player, Administrator, Assistant Coach and now a League Administrator and Official
John Pongrac – (1992 – 2010) Player, Administrator, Assistant Coach
Garry Wilson – (1986 – 1990) Player and current member of the Gridiron Victoria Coaching Staff
Ian Taylor – (1989 – Present) Player, Administrator, current Head Coach
The only selection criteria was that a nominee must have played at least three years with the Club to be eligible for selection. Players were then chosen by groups (e.g., Offensive Linemen rather than Tackle, Guard and Centre, etc.)
In presenting the 25th Anniversary Team its interesting to note that every player selected has represented New South Wales during their career, and almost half have represented Australia in the National squad.
Here then, is the Pirates 25th Anniversary Team –
25th Anniversary Team
(1986 – 1990)
|George was a tough and uncompromising player who anchored the Offensive Line during the Clubs early years. Primarily regarded as a Centre he also played Guard and some Defensive Line.|
(2003 – 2005, 2010 – Present)
|A tall and rangy Tackle with great footwork and technique, Nathan has been rewarded with multiple selections in State and National teams. He is also the first Pirate to be awarded a football scholarship at a U.S. Division 1 College and played and studied at Kansas University.|
(1986 – 1990, 1994, 1995, 1999)
|Branko was another foundation player and he formed a lethal tandem with George Butcher in the early days. He mainly played Guard and Tackle and could also be counted on to bolster the Defensive Line when needed.|
(1987 – 2000, 2002, 2007)
|Over the years David was the core of the Pirate Offensive Line. He played every position along the Line during his career but was mainly regarded as Guard or Tackle. He also saw duty on the Defensive Line. During the Leagues 25th Anniversary season in 2008, David was named as the Pirates Franchise Lineman.|
(1996 – 1998)
|Mark was an American player with College Football experience and he came to the Club after working with other teams in the League. He was a Coach on the field and his time at Centre provided the Club with much needed stability and leadership.|
(1990 – 2000)
|166 receptions – 2510 yards – 15.12 average
Andrew was an outstanding receiver in an era when passing the ball was a secondary consideration. He was athletic and a reliable target with soft hands and a knack for finding the endzone. He spent time as the Clubs starting QB in 1995 but returned to play Tight End in 1996.
(2002 – 2008)
|257 receptions – 3673 yards – 14.29 average
Ivan was the quiet achiever on the Pirate Offense. He simply went about his business with determination and skill, amassing an impressive resume when it comes to pass receiving and point scoring. When he retired he was the Clubs Reception leader (since broken) and highest ever Point Scorer (still standing).
(2003 – Present)
|287 receptions – 4464 yards – 15.55 average
Dean is now the Clubs leading Receiver and he goes about his business with a ruthless aggression. Never one to shy away from contact, Dean thrives on meeting the opposition head-on. He possesses sure hands and great speed, both vital ingredients for a top-flight Receiver.
(1994 – 2000)
|947 rushing attempts – 5344 yards – 5.64 average
Kyle was an elusive and crafty runner with an ability to create something out of nothing. He rushed for over 1000 yards in his rookie season, becoming the first player in the Premier State Gridiron League to do so. He led the Club in scoring in five of his seven seasons and was the lynchpin of the Pirates attack throughout his career.
(2000 – 2010)
|397 rushing attempts – 1725 yards – 4.35 average
Tough and uncompromising but always with a smile, thats how opponents picture Sim. He played primarily as Fullback and paved the way for a group of thankful Tailbacks. During his career he also led the Club Tackle count and won numerous Defensive awards, but its as the rock in the Pirate backfield that he will be remembered.
(1999 – Present)
|2672 pass attempts – 1379 completions – 19239 yards – 238 Touchdown passes
David is a cool and calm leader of the Pirate Offense. He has great knowledge of the game and his skill at arguably the most difficult position on the field is unquestioned. His ability and leadership qualities have been rewarded with numerous selections in State and National teams.
During the Leagues 25th Anniversary season in 2008, David was named the Pirates Franchise Offensive Player.
(1992 – 1998, 2000)
|316.5 tackles – 7.5 QB sacks – 8 fumble recoveries – 6 passes defended
Kevin was a tough and versatile player who saw time in a number of positions, including the offensive side of the ball. He possessed surprising speed for a big man and, coupled with aggression and fierce determination, was a constant headache for opposing teams to deal with.
(2004 – Present)
|241 tackles – 22.5 QB sacks – 8 fumble recoveries – 5 passes defended
Tall, strong, and relentless, Shannon is the dominant force on the Pirate defensive front. He has played in all positions along the defensive line and has been named in numerous State and National teams. He is the first Pirate player to have played in the Arena Football League in the United States.
(1989 – 1991)
|No statistics were recorded from the games during Darrins career
Darrin was the immovable force in the heart of the Pirate Defense. Aggressive and determined during a play, he had the uncanny ability to revert to a gentle giant after the whistle, but only until the next play. He also saw time on the Offensive Line when needed, and has been a Coach, Administrator and is now a League Administrator and Official.
(2007 – Present)
|91 tackles – 13 QB sacks – 3 fumble recoveries – 2 passes defended
A relative newcomer with arguably his best football ahead of him, Dean has made a big impact in his short time in the game. He is tall, fast and strong which makes him ideal as an edge-rusher – a role that he takes on with great enthusiasm.
(1990, 1991, 1993 – 1995)
|188.5 tackles – 2 QB sacks – 6 fumble recoveries – 3 passes defended
Always with a smile, but always with aggression – that was the hallmark of Craigs career. Craig came to the Pirates after playing with other teams and quickly slotted into the role of a defensive leader who let his actions do the talking for him. He was tough, physical and never took a backward step.
(1992, 1994, 1995)
|201.5 tackles – 3.5 QB sacks – 1 fumble recoveries – 8 passes defended
Steve was a high energy, high intensity player who dominated every time he was on the field. After playing with other teams he came to the Pirates and led by example. He played like a coach on the field and his knowledge of the game and unquestioned skill were huge assets to the Club during his time at the Pirates.
(1994 – 1999)
|512.5 tackles – 16.5 QB sacks – 8 fumble recoveries – 13 passes defended
During his career Mick was THE defensive player. He was relentless and aggressive and was a force to be reckoned with on every play. He had great speed and played sideline to sideline, often outpacing teammates to get to a ball carrier. Every play was a personal battle that Mick wanted to win and thats why he was so good.
During the Leagues 25th Anniversary season in 2008, Mick was named the Pirates Franchise Defensive Player.
(1993 – 1999)
|246.5 tackles – 2 QB sacks – 8 fumble recoveries – 60 passes defended (21 interceptions – 39 batted passes)
Damien was quiet and unassuming, but delivered a big hit whenever it was needed. He could drop into pass coverage or come up in run support with ease and was rarely caught out of position. Given a roving commission by the coaches, Damien had a knack for making the big play with a big impact.
(1994 – 1999)
|97.5 tackles – 54 passes defended (29 interceptions – 25 batted passes)
Small in stature but huge in heart, Matt was an outstanding Free Safety during his career. He led the League in interceptions in his rookie season and patrolled the defensive backfield with enthusiasm and passion. He rarely missed a training session let alone a game, such was his dedication to the Club.
(2004 – Present)
|146 tackles – 1 QB sack – 29 passes defended (7 interceptions – 22 batted passes)
Zeaid came to the Pirates after playing with other teams and established himself as a defensive leader from the outset. Fiercely determined and aggressive, he has made his mark numerous times at a State and National level, and he brings that passion and heart to every snap of the ball.
(1986 – 1990)
|No statistics were recorded from the games during Franks career
Frank was one of the original Pirates and he made his mark with speed, agility, and aggression. He patrolled the defensive backfield in the early days of the Club and punished any opponent who came into his territory. He played primarily as a Safety, but would fill in where ever and whenever needed, and all with a huge will to win.