Sam Paterson – The Ultimate Warrior

Well, the time has finally arrived for Sam Paterson. Sam, or Patto as he is affectionately referred, is scheduled to play his 100th game this week against Maroochydore and everyone at the club has been looking forward to this moment for a long time. If not for his legendary courage and fearless attack on the ball, without any care for his own safety, he would have reached this milestone years ago.

After joining the Tigers in 2011 and making an immediate impact in more ways than one, the ultimate warrior finally gets to this well deserved milestone. Two Runner Up Best and Fairests in 2011 and 2012, two Most Courageous Awards in 2013 and 2017 as well as three Premiership Medals and numerous injuries are just a few things on the highlight reel that mark Patto’s time at the Tigers. He was just pipped by Luke Faulkner in the last round of 2011 for the Best and Fairest but he has been a true champion for the club ever since.

We caught up with Sam this week to get his take on his journey with the Tigers to this wonderful milestone.

To take us back to the beginning we wanted to know how he came to be a Tiger after growing up on the Sunshine Coast at rural Kenilworth. After moving to Brisbane to attend university, Sam played some games for Wilston Grange, but unfortunately he sustained a serious injury which took him away from footy for an extended period before his best friend Seamus Carrigan did his best to encourage him to come to the Tigers. Seamus was playing reserve grade in 2010 and Sam came along to play a game against Sandgate at Sandgate. It was very obvious to then Reserves Coach Russell Ditchburn that this bloke could really play and he was hard as nails. Unfortunately, he wasn’t seen again that year, but he was certainly on the radar and thankfully he lined up to play for the club in 2011 under Coach Luke Faulkner. He has been a first up selection in the seniors ever since barring some crippling injuries.

Sam is renowned for his fearless attack on the contest, so we asked him what drove this single minded approach to the game. Sam proudly advises that his father Kevin had always instilled in him and his brothers that you had to keep your eye on the ball and go for it. Kevin was a 100 game player at the Noosa Footy club but even he thinks that Sam might have taken this approach just that bit too far. Nevertheless, it is obvious to everyone that Sam is one of a kind with his courage and willingness to attack the contest.

We asked Sam who has been the most influential during his time at the Tigers. He was quick to say that he has been fortunate to play with some of the best players that have ever graced the black and gold including Andrew Housego, Luke Faulkner and Caleb Brown and more recently he is very pleased to be playing alongside current leaders Jack Collings and Ryan Eyles. He rates Mitch Ferguson and Shaun Daly as his most influential coaches, especially Shaun who was the right man for the job during the premiership years with his strict approach to training and club activities.

He has remained loyal to the Tigers despite being in constant demand with other clubs at all levels, something which the club has been very appreciative. The major reasons for this loyalty has stemmed from the people involved, both on field as well as the loyal group of volunteers who have lined up year in and out to provide such a positive and enjoyable environment. He has also made plenty of lifelong friends with whom he loves to enjoy activities outside of footy like fishing and country music. He rates his most enjoyable times as the premiership years, but it was the first game of the 2012 season with a win over Surfers Paradise after a difficult first year as a marquee moment which commenced the rise to success for the club.

So, here we are almost on the eve of his 100th game and we wanted to know how he felt about this day. He tells us that he is very proud to be running out in his 100th appearance, particularly for the Mayne Tigers. He has tried to not think about it too much along the way but in more recent times, especially given the periods of injury, he has been looking forward to ticking off this important milestone.

The Mayne Tigers were very fortunate that circumstances in 2010 and 2011 led to Sam’s decision to come their way. There will certainly be plenty of Tiger faithful including his proud Dad Kevin on hand this Saturday to see Sam Paterson achieve this goal and everyone wishes for him to enjoy the moment.

As is customary at the Tigers for this sort of milestone, we asked several of Sam’s teammates and coaches to provide a few comments to honour and recognise the occasion. It is very clear that everyone is in awe of Patto’s fearless exploits and for being a wonderful friend.

Patto is right up there with one of the best players I have played with or against. I have not seen a tougher guy on the footy field. He disregards his body at every contest, with his only focus on winning the ball – his ability in this regard is unrivalled by any one I have seen play the game. The first Mayne game I witnessed in 2012 is etched in my memory. I distinctly recall watching Patto playing off a half-back and I was in awe of this wiry-red headed Mayne player dominating the game.

You are an absolute legend Patto and I have enjoyed playing with you over the years - with a few more to come. Good luck for your 100th game mate!

Dean Hartley

I have been lucky to play with some great players at Mayne, but Patto is the best player I have played with and my favourite team mate. Sums up what it means to be a Mayne Tiger - tough, relentless, selfless and never gives up no matter what the situation. If everyone put in the effort that Patto does every time he pulls on the Tiger jersey, we would never lose a game. 

Congrats mate, make it one of your best!

Jack Collings

Pound for pound Patto is the toughest player, both physically and mentally that I have seen in footy. Whether it’s smashing the 3km time trial record or continually charging at bigger opponents to win the contested footy he is seemingly unbreakable. The journey to 100 games hasn’t been smooth sailing but it was a milestone that he was always going to reach no matter what and no one deserves the recognition more than Patto. Apart from being an unbelievable competitor on the field he is also a great mate off the field. We love cheering on the mighty Pies together or pretending we know where all the big fish are. There’s never a dull moment when your with Patto..... unless he’s fallen asleep at the bar before midnight. Congrats mate! 

Josh Duffy

I remember the first time Sam Paterson was convinced to join Mayne, his best mate Seamus Carrigan was pestering me about getting this guy down to the club as I was coaching in 2011.

To be honest I wasn’t sure how well Patto went at this stage, but we eventually got him down to the club and he will go down in folklore as one of our greatest ever recruits.  The first time I saw him play was a practice match against the Western Magpies at Chelmer on a wet and miserable day.  His attack on the footy was unbelievable.  For a guy that was 70kg ringing wet his toughness and courage to throw himself into a contest was ridiculous.  To this day Patto and Shaun Daly are the two toughest and best players I’ve had the privilege of playing footy with at Mayne.  From then on he became part of the fabric of the footy club and his onfield acts never ceased to amaze us.

Completely underrated externally as a footballer but universally admired within the walls of Mayne as a player that would do his all for the team.  On top of that just an outstanding bloke as well.

All the very best for game 100 mate, great reward to get to such a significant milestone.  You will go down in history as an out and out champion of our great club.

Luke Faulkner

It’s an absolute privilege to be able to play alongside Pato for his 100th game. He is held in such a high regard by myself and anyone that has ever played with him. I’ve never seen him take a backward step or pull out of a contest in my time at the club, which has probably worked against him with all the injuries he has had from doing so. Whenever he plays everyone beside him walks that little bit taller knowing he is out there and he’ll always be giving his all! If I had to pick one bloke to go to war with knowing he’d have my back it would be without a doubt Pato!! Congratulations mate, glad to see you get to raise the bar finally!! 

Clint Brunnenmeyer

Patto is one of and probably the toughest players I have coached. He has put his body through a lot so although 100 games may not sound like a lot, it is enormous considering the amount of contests he throws himself into.

Been very unlucky with just missing out on some individual accolades but that certainly wouldn’t worry him as the team and premierships are his only focus.

Very quiet and unassuming but when it really counted you could always rely on Patto. 

Privilege to play with him and coach him. All the best to one of the greatest at Mayne. Wish I was there to run out alongside you mate.

Shaun Daly

To play 100 games of senior football is a fantastic effort, you need to be able to demonstrate resilience, commitment, durability and the ability to keep going when times get tough. Sam has all of these attributes and more. For me, the one word that sums up Sam Paterson the footballer is Warrior. Not once, have I ever questioned Sam’s courage to put his head over the ball to win a contest. He plays the game without fear and is well respected by all of his team mates. Sam has been a loyal servant to the Tiges and I wish him well in his 100th game.

Congratulations mate.

Chris David

What a player. Patto has been a favourite of teammates since he set foot in the club in 2011. He leads by example with his courage, contested skill and relentless competitive attitude. His commitment to the team and selflessness are something most people can only aspire to. Patto was a standout player in a luckless first year at the club, and then went on the be one of our most important players during a well deserved period of success. Congratulations on a well earned 100 games, Patto. 

Bill Stephens

100 game milestones are a testament to longevity at the one club. But on occasion, they mean a little bit more than just that. In Sam Patto's case , he seemingly has missed as many as he has played , such is the wrecking-ball style he plays the game.

During the Mayne three-peat period in 2014/15/16 we had the likes of Daly, Brown, Faulkner and Housego at the peak of their powers, yet , when it came to the selection table Patto's magnet was always first on the board.

One of the most courageous players to pull on a Mayne jumper , his true worth has always been the way his teammates all walk a little bit taller when he's out there.

Congrats on a fine journey mate, one with a couple more twists and turns yet!

Danny Craven

Patto quite simply is a gun. He is tough as, and contributes to the team every times he takes the field. What makes it even more amazing is that he plays injured (not just ‘hurt’) nearly every week is still turns in amazing performances. I will never forget his performances in our first two Grand Final wins after missing most of the year with injuries, but still was close to best on ground in both ... typifies the type bloke he is! Always loved watching the things he does and puts his body through on the field and am absolutely stoked he finally cracked the ton. Well done mate.

Caleb Brown

Congratulations Patto on finally getting to the ton! I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that Patto is one of the toughest players ever to play for the Tigers and is that special sort of player that makes all his teammates ten times better. I personally go into games more confident and standing a little bit taller knowing that Patto will be out there. It has been an absolute pleasure to play along side him and can’t wait to see him play his 100th game with the same attack and toughness that he has played the other 99.

Jordan Morrison

Without question the toughest player I’ve ever played with. A person you love throwing on the Mayne Tigers jumper with. You know what you are going to get from Patto every week- courage, commitment, aggression and a silky left foot kick. So glad to see him finally raise the bat for the Mayne Tigers. Good luck mate, thoroughly deserved. 

Zac McLean

Patto has been an exceptional player at Mayne for a long time, if it wasn't for a few injury set-backs he may have reached this milestone earlier. Now held together by a few bits of tape, Patto runs out every week and gives his all. Patto is one of the most courageous players I have had the pleasure to play with; he is extremely reliable, and he consistently dominates every week. Congratulations on your 100th Game Patto!

Ryan Eyles


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