Sautner climbs mountain again
By Travis Parnaby
Nursing his injured hand in a protective sleeve, Sandringham's Nicholas Sautner was made to earn his record eighth 'Frosty' Miller Medal.
Sautner slammed through 74 goals in season 2008 and overcame a broken hand, suspension in the final round and an almighty chase from Werribee captain James Podsiadly to claim the title.
“I broke a hand so I missed a couple of games, I had a work commitment, then being a very dubious decision at the tribunal," Sautner told the J.J. Liston Trophy count, recalling his eventful 2008 campaign.
Compere Peter Donegan then reminded the Sandringham superstar that tribunal members were in attendance.
“I’m happy to discuss it further," Sautner replied.
Sautner said he was unaware of Podsiadly's proximity to his lead, as he had a work commitment at the Telstra Dome.
“We actually had the Carlton-Hawthorn game at the Telstra Dome. We were preparing for the Franklin-Fevola show and one of my team supporters John Kempf made a call through to me the following day and said ‘congratulations’," Sautner recalled.
"After I ws suspended I think John took off the week in disappointment and Gerry Ryan, the president, is a police officer and I think he should have gone and arrested James (Podsiadly) so it would have been an inevitable result from my perspective.”
Sautner said the win was the highlight of an otherwise topsy-turvy year for the Zebras, who missed the finals for the first time since 2001.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to play at Sandringham and though we didn’t make the finals from a team perspective, to get something out of the season is pleasing,” Sautner told the J.J. Liston Trophy count.
“Obviously, not making the finals 57 players played senior football, which would certainly put us in good stead for the new alignment next year.
“It’s a quality club and the culture of Sandringham is outstanding and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to play in the second-best competition in the land."
To miss out on finals and subsequently, the VFL Grand Final to be played for the first time at Telstra Dome, is a major disappointment for Sautner. He is the stadium's Operations Manager.
“It’s certainly from my perspective very disappointing," he said, cheekily urging guests to get along to the VFL Grand Final on Friday, September 26.
"Telstra Dome being a quality venue and I encourage all of you to be spruiking to get down to Telstra Dome. Make sure you park underneath and eat losts of food and beverage.
“I’ve got a fantastic team that supplies me and I’ve been fortunate that Sandringham allows me to wkri in with my work schedule and I’ve been able to train away at times from the club."
“As long as I can have a work life and balance I will continue to play at Sandringham."
Sautner said he was excited by the prospect of Sandringham joining forces with St Kilda next season.
“I grew up as a St Kilda supporter and I didn’t get the opportunity at St Kilda, although I did train there, it’s probably the next best thing is to be aligned with them," Sautner said.
“Let’s hope that like in 2000 – the first year of the alignment with Melbourne – perhaps Sandringham and St Kilda can make history."
History pages that Sautner - seventh on the all-time leading VFL goal kicker list on 760 goals - is indelibly inked.
“I do think it is an outstanding competition and I hope more people get behind this great competition,” he said.
“It has got a rich history and I’m very pleased to be part of that history.
“My mother sacrificed her life for three boys when my father died when I was young – three years old – so thank you for your support."