STARVED of success for most of his career East Fremantle, captain Matthew Jupp will celebrate a major milestone on Saturday.
Jupp played his 150th game for East Fremantle on Saturday and now this Saturday will celebrate his 150th WAFL appearance to earn him life membership at the club when the Sharks host Peel Thunder at the WACA Ground.
A loyal servant at the club, Jupp’s career started with great promise.
“I was lucky when I arrived at the Sharks to be part of a strong team," Jupp said.
"My first senior year was 2013 and the club was coming off the back of all three grades making the 2012 Grand Finals.
"I was probably gifted some early games, but I’ll never forget my debut in the Anzac Day Derby against the Bulldogs and we ended up winning in front of 10,000 people. It’s still the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, and the atmosphere was electric.
"I played every game in 2014, including two finals. We had one amazing comeback and one heartbreaking loss where we kicked 26 behinds in a preliminary final. Footy was pretty simple for me back then because I just played my role in a good side that was rolling, and it was a lot of fun!.".
That was as close as Jupp would get to premiership glory, and for much of his career East Fremantle has been at the wrong end of the table.
“After those early years and finals the club really struggled both culturally on and off field," Jupp said.
"The embarrassment of being at the bottom of the table stung me. It was tough on so many fronts and looking back on it, I certainly wasn’t doing enough to get us out of that position.
"Those tough times drove me to change the way I played, the way I lead and the person that I am, and that change was adopted by several others at the club which has seen East Fremantle emerge again as a force.
"We now have a strong set of values that we live by, we train hard and the good performances on field are just coming to fruition. Footy is still fun but winning just makes everything more enjoyable.
"The lure of a Premiership is what pushes me to run those gruelling sessions in the middle of November."
It’s been an outstanding year for Jupp, who made his State debut against South Australia and only last weekend celebrated his 150th East Fremantle game including his Foxtel Cup appearance from 2014.
The 2019 Lynn Medallist also has fond memories of milestone matches for good mates.
“It was amazing to be part of those special matches, including Andrew Stephen's 150th, Jack Perham’s 100th and Jamie McNamara’s 100th,” Jupp recalls.
To reach 150 games, the Sharks skipper knows he’s received ample support.
“My junior coach Gino Stefani put me at full-back when I was 13, probably because I was too useless to play anywhere else," he said.
"He gave me great belief in my ability and showed me real value in me as a person and a footballer. Jon Dorotich was the first person who delivered the hard message I needed to improve my training standards to reach the required level and for that I’m grateful.
"Steve Malaxos gave me my first game and backed me as a young kid, while Bill Monaghan and Brad Dodd have taken my performance to a new level and helped me grow as a person and leader.
"Then there’s Mum and Dad, who’ve always been at my games and been my biggest supporters. It’s a bit of a running joke with my mates that Dad always says I’m best on ground no matter how well or poorly I’ve played."
Finally, Jupp reserves huge praise for the club.
“I just want to thank the East Fremantle Football Club for shaping me as a person," he said.
"After 12 years at the club, I’ve grown immensely and it’s the lessons and values the place has instilled in me that’s shaped me as a person."
East Fremantle plays Peel Thunder at the WACA Ground on Saturday at 2.10pm