By Sarah Beagley
In a fitting end to our historic weekend, the fourth milestone game this round will be played by Fourths captain Brad Gatt, who will be leading his team out in his 100th game in the blue and gold.
Gatty’s 12-year legacy as an eager and hard working rover/forward pocket includes being a two-time premiership player/coach, as well being an instrumental part of creating and developing our thirds and fourths program alongside mates Mark “Buzza” Busuttil, Lachlan “Glove” McKenzie and James “Norm” Farley. Gatty took on a role as the assistant coach in the 2017 Thirds premiership, after sadly tearing his ACL that season, and then returned from surgery to play in the 2019 premiership side.
It’s probably no surprise who we have to thank for getting Gatty down to the CYs a decade back, with best mate and premiership teammate Buzza pulling him across with ease. Gatty recounts, “I randomly met Buzza out one night and he asked me if I was playing footy anywhere. I wasn’t at that time so he told me to come down and check out the CY’s and so my CY’s journey began. I fell in love with the club instantly. The people welcomed me with open arms and I hope in my own little way I have repaid that generosity.”
It was a win over Fitzroy in his first game with the CYs that convinced Gatty he’d come to the right place, having left footy behind a few years back. “I can remember thinking how lucky I was to be playing again and with a great group of blokes – I had given up on playing footy so playing the first game in a win revitalised my love for the game again.”
Gatty played the beginning of his footy career at CYs under coach and now vice-president Dan Oldham, before taking the coaching reins himself alongside Caine Bergin. “After that we got sacked on the spot by Matthew Wynd who just took over the 3rds at the time and told us we were no longer coaching – thanks Cocko.”
After and quick and successful coaching stint, however, Gatty returned to playing in style securing the 2019 premiership for the thirds, a win etched in his memories as the most iconic. “I had started playing footy from the age of 9 and never won a premiership. I was coming back from over 12 months of rehab on the knee and missing playing in the 2017 flag so this moment, which was witnessed by my family, was something very special. So that was definitely the most memorable moment. Followed closely by all the milestone games I have been fortunate to play in and witness.”
A player much better suited to the post-game feels, Gatty would take a change room session after a big win over the pre-game nervous vibes any day of the week. “To this day I still get so anxious pre-game that I end up needing a bit of a Chrissy Mew (spew). But at my age, it’s the change-room beers and banter after a win for me.”
In such a prestigious and admirable CYs career, Gatty has a few shout outs to those who helped him reach this milestone. “Broadly, all the Volunteers, Club administration and those who get us on the park every week and of course all of the players past (special note to those who have been on this journey with me form the beginning like Glove, Farley, Benny McColl) and present who supported me in every game I have played.”
“To all of my family members who have supported me endlessly and sacrifice a lot just to allow me to play and contribute to the footy club in any way I can.
Specifically, Buzza who brought me to the club and thanks to the CY’s we reconnected our childhood friendship into a brotherly bond that is as strong as ever. I cherish his friendship and if not for the CY’s then this would not have unfolded.”
“To Wyndy for his support of me both as a player and coach, for the opportunity to become a premiership player and more so for his friendship outside of football.”
“Finally – can I just say that I hope I can leave a legacy of always promoting recreational level participation in football and I hope that the CY’s continues to offer the opportunity for ALL people to be connected to an inclusive and progressive football club – as there is no better club out there.”
On behalf of the CYs family, thank you Gatty for all you have contributed to the club and we wish you all the best for this much deserved and historic milestone in your journey!
You can watch Gatty’s 100th this Saturday at 11.40am at Lofts Reserve in Newport, as his Fourths take on Prahran Assumption
A message to Gatty from coach Matthew Wynd
“Football to me is a journey with people from different walks of life who make you and the club with which you represent a better place than when you walked in. Brad joined CYMS football club with the intention of making this a better football club. And I have know doubt it is a better place for having Bradley Gatt at our club.
Brad was the epicentre of what is now the thirds and the fourths. When it looked like the thirds would not go on a few years ago now– Brad stepped I and said “not happening on my watch”. Through Brad’s dedication to the thirds we now have thirds and fourths and have gone onto win two flags and deliver brad his first premiership in 2019 of which he was an integral member on the field with his leadership.
Culture at a football club is built by people and leaders, and Brad has ensured the thirds (and fourths) have a fantastic culture for new and old players. Off the field, Brad is captain of the fourths ship. No job is too big or too small for his boys as long as it is helping the fourths you can always rely on Brad to answer the call, whether cooking / ordering dinners for the boys, whether organising registration, ensuring players pay their fees even letting the coach know who will be at training and who is available game day.
Brads dedication to the Fourths is unapparelled and we all wish him all the best on playing game 100. It has been an honour to be part of Brad’s journey and we thank you for making us all better people by having you as a teammate / mate.”
A message to Gatty from team mate Mark ‘Buzza’ Busuttil
“Over a decade ago, Gatty walked through the doors of the CYS football club and immediately displayed exceptional leadership, by taking on the role of captain and coaching.
Brad plays a big part in the team. He has a professional attitude, which has instilled not only within himself but further into the current 3rds and 4th team players.
He’s always the first at training and the last to leave, making sure everything is set up and prepared with his teammates being well looked after.
On the field he wears his heart on his sleeve with a never give up attitude, and is always the first picked each week, and rightfully so. He is the reason why I’m still playing today.
It will be an honour to run out with the great man on Saturday in his 100th game for the Blue and Gold. A true CYS legend and a much respected figure amongst all his peers.”
A message to Gatty from team mate Zac Read
“He may be small in stature but he’s big in heart. Gatty epitomises what it means to be a CYs person. He makes everyone who joins the club feel welcome, always puts the team’s needs first and his courage on the field makes everyone around him walk taller.”