At a glance:
- Tim Membrey reveals the moment he turned his career around to become of the Saints' most consistent players.
- Skunk will play his 100th game this Saturday night against Port Adelaide.
- After crossing over from the Swans, Membrey has kicked 179 goals, won three club goalkicking awards and has been part of the Saints' leadership group for two seasons.
Thirteen games into his career, at his second club and flirting in-between the senior and reserves sides heading into his fourth season, Tim Membrey made a promise.
“I want to make an impact on this team.”
Four seasons later and now on the eve of his 100th match, St Kilda’s No. 1 forward has continued to deliver on that promise.
‘Skunk’ has since become a triple leading goalkicker at the Saints with 179 goals to his name, a leader of the red, white and black and a beloved fan-favourite.
The boy from Traralgon realised the dream of just about every footy-loving kid from the country to make it to the big-time, first landing at the Swans in 2012 before heading to Moorabbin as a delisted free agent at the end of 2014.
His impact at RSEA Park has undoubtedly been felt.
“I remember going into Richo’s office before the 2016 season and just saying ‘I don’t want another year to go by where I’m just in and out of the side’,” Membrey told saints.com.au.
Membrey’s first game that year saw him snag five goals – the first of four five-goal bags in 2016 – before leaving his stamp on the season with an equal-best 44 goals.
At 190cm, the Gippsland Power recruit was considered small for a key forward, but was fixed on building his tank, being able to work over opponents through his running power and take his marking to the next level.
Today, they’ll all traits that have defined the No. 28’s game.
Brilliant, contested clunks, supreme endurance and ground coverage, and more than reliable in front of goal, Membrey has been one of the Saints’ most consistent players amid varying degrees of club success.
Now, the 26-year-old forms part of the next generation of leaders hoping to guide the red, white and black towards its long-awaited second Premiership.
Membrey has been part of the Saints’ leadership group for the past two seasons, and earlier in the year, captained St Kilda for the first time in its landmark return to Moorabbin’s hallowed turf as part of the Marsh Community Series.
Skunk booted four goals and had 24 disposals in the heartland to be best-on-ground in front of a 10,000-strong crowd.
“It’s something I hold very close and just trying my best in helping out the guys in the team, whether it’s the younger guys or just being someone there for Gears just to lean on and bounce ideas off,” Membrey said.
“I’m probably not the most vocal person in terms of meetings and coming up with the best ideas, but if someone’s got something they want to drive, I’m there 100 per cent behind them and backing them in.
“My actions on game day is what I really hold in my leadership.”
His teammates and the faithful would attest to that.
Like many players at St Kilda, Membrey chalks his form reversal and rise into one of the club’s most important players to former Saints forward, Aaron Hamill.
After being shown the ropes and what it took to become an AFL footballer by dual-Brownlow medallist and mentor Adam Goodes during his time at the Swans, Hamill took Skunk under his wing to transform him into the Saints’ key forward.
“He taught me a lot about what it takes and how to go about it, and just keep chipping away because things aren’t always going to be smooth sailing,” Membrey said.
Season 2020 has been the perfect example of things not going quite according to plan.
But after all the bumps and curveballs this year has thrown, Membrey has his sights set on 100th game on Saturday night against Port Adelaide.
And not just for his own personal milestone, but for the team going forward.
“I’ll reflect back on the bit of the journey and where it all started, playing my first game at the Swans and then coming across to the Saints, so there’ll be a bit of time between now and the game to reflect back,” Membrey said.
“To be honest, I’m just stoked to be a part of a team that’s heading the right way.”