MASKOS JUNIOR NOW A COLTS, RESERVES, PREMIERSHIP BULLDOG

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 12:01 PM by Chris Pike

HIS father might still be the head of the table but Jason Maskos is coming armed to Christmas with more and more ammunition every year now as a colts, reserves and league WAFL premiership player with South Fremantle.

Maskos has spent his whole life hearing about the football career that his father Arthur had with South Fremantle. 

Playing in the famous era of 1980s and early 1990s surrounded by superstars and sporting a moustache he still dons to this day, Arthur became a popular figure at the Bulldogs during his 90-game career that finished with al one appearance in the 1992 WAFL season.

He did get agonisingly close to becoming a premiership player as well having played in the Grand Final of 1989 against Claremont and then the preliminary final loss to eventual premiers Swan Districts a year later.

But his legacy has gone well beyond his playing career with South Fremantle and Arthur is considered one of the best coaching minds in the WAFL who hasn’t been given a chance as a senior coach.

He had a great run as colts coach including winning two premierships of which in 2011 he shared with his son, and he has gone on to coach the reserves and be league assistant coach to Todd Curley ever since.

But up until Sunday, what no Maskos had been able to do was play in a league premiership with South Fremantle. Jason might have played in the colts flag of 2011 and then in reserves triumphs in 2013 and 2015 under Tony Walters, but it was that league success that was proving elusive.

Like his dad, he had played in a losing preliminary final and in fact not only one of them, but three in-a-row and also in a losing Grand Final in a horror show against Subiaco last year at Optus Stadium.

However, that all changed at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday in front of a packed house of 10,179 fans with South Fremantle beating Claremont by three points for a first premiership triumph since 2009.

COACH POST MATCH – TODD CURLEY GRAND FINAL

BULLDOGS PREVAIL ON A DAY TO FOREVER TREASURE

Maskos was a key part of that role with the role he played down back for the Bulldogs. His dad was there in the coaching box too.

When the father and son came together to enjoy a league triumph together, it's something Jason will treasure forever even if he might be doing something his mum won't like pretty soon.

"It was just great to embrace with him after the game. He was saying that it's taken a Maskos 201 games to win a league premiership at this club. I'm sure we'll share quite a few more beers together and it's really special to be able to experience this with each other," Jason Maskos said.

"It's just great what we've achieved and I think mum is going to be angry at me now, but I think I'm getting my first tattoo now and don’t tell anyone else but I might be putting the point post in the middle of the ground again like did after the colts. It's going to be great to celebrate this with all my teammates."

Knowing his dad's history at the South Fremantle Football Club, Maskos grew up always wanting to play at the Bulldogs and that's why getting to celebrate a colts premierships meant a lot to him. 

From there he just wanted to play one league game, but he quickly cemented a spot in the team as a tremendous defender and last year was able to celebrate his 100th game to book his name on the No. 33 locker.

While life membership was a goal, ultimately nothing was ever going to mean more than winning a premiership and Maskos is blown away now that the dream has come true.

"It's just a crazy feeling. When you first come down you never think you will play 100 games like I have now, but you make such great mates along the way and that's what really makes it special," he said.

"But the unbelievable thing now is that my photo will be in that premiership team now and it will be there forever. It's a great feeling and it feels like such a relief now, and it's just so great to get here and to win a premiership."

Maskos already knows that Sunday's victory will be hard to trump in terms of highpoints of his life and he's already looking forward to the reunions, but it will always be that moment when the siren sounded that sticks with him more than anything.

"This trumps everything especially with the bunch of blokes I've played with. We are all great mates and now I'll get to catch up with them for the reunions the rest of our lives. It's an unbelievable feeling," Maskos said.

"That first 20 seconds after the final siren goes was just about not believing we actually won after the effort we put in for the first four quarters. 

"We knew what we dished up two weeks ago was not good so we knew we had to put the pressure on and be consistent over the four quarters, but I'll remember that feeling when the siren sounded forever. That was something special."

It looked like South Fremantle was building a dynasty for the future back in the colts premiership teams of 2011 and 2012 with Arthur Maskos the coach, but it didn’t quite translate to a league flag until now.

There were just the four players from that 2011 team that Maskos was part of as well so he'll always have that special bond with Haiden Schloithe, Steve Verrier and Mason Shaw while it was just Shaw and Dylan Main who played in 2012 and were there for the 2020 league premiership.

Then in terms of the reserves, in 2013 Maskos was there with only Zac Strom who backed up on Sunday from that premiership team while the 2015 reserves winning team also featured Chris Luff, Zac Strom, Kade Stewart and Jacob Dragovich.

While colts and reserves premierships were special in their own way, Maskos always knew nothing would trump a league triumph and he was also happy to be able to be part of history to celebrate a South Fremantle premiership at Fremantle Community Bank Oval for the first ever time.

"We only had four blokes from my colts premiership play in this one but to have come up with them has been really special. We've been waiting to experience this. The colts is good, the ressies is good but the league premiership is the one that you really want," Maskos said.

"I actually found it better than if it was at Optus Stadium or somewhere like that just because you can hear everyone and you can see the people stand out a lot more. 

"But when you go out there and are playing the game you have to try to zone it out and just do your job. It was just a great scene out there, though, and seeing how much support we had was just great too."

While it was Paul Hasleby that gave Maskos the first taste of league football and his father's influence will always be prevalent, he can't be more thankful to Todd Curley for what he's done to help become a 111-game player who now has a premiership medal.

"He has given me the opportunity and some of the biggest jobs included when we were playing in a prelim and I played in Chris Yarran," he said. 

"It was giving me jobs like that that showed the trust that he had in me. I know I'm not the biggest superstar out there, but I'll always do my job for the team and that's what I have made a career out of. He has given me that chance and I'm forever grateful."

The bond of the back-line has been one of South Fremantle's great strengths during this five-year run of the Bulldogs at least reaching a preliminary final.

Maskos has been the mainstay of that and the likes of Adam McIntosh, Marlion Pickett, Josh Pullman might have come and gone, sharing it with the group this year with Chad Pearson, Noah Strom, Blayne Wilson, Zac Dent, Chris Luff and Ben Rioli will always be special.

"I've got a close-knit between Scoot, Blayne and even Smack the runner, but that back six when we first got together at the start of the year and we were playing good footy, we knew we had something special there," Maskos said. 

"Then during the season everyone went in and out a little bit but the last couple of games we all got back together and we clicked. It was great to be a part of."