The West

Football: The Pontiff is heaven sent
Football: The Pontiff is heaven sent

If now-retired Geelong goal kicking great Gary Ablett Snr was known as God then surely Paraburdoo Saints forward Simon Ponter represents the second coming.

Known simply around Paraburdoo, 1500km north of Perth, as The Pontiff, Ponter recently put the finishing touches on a season that could only be explained as, well, divine.

The 35-year-old trainee driller from Pakenham, Victoria, booted 106 goals in just 11 games to lead the Saints to a minor premiership and the Grand Final of the Fortescue National Football League.

Averaging nine and a half majors per outing, Ponter’s season included heavenly hauls of 16, 14 and 12 goals.

But it was a night in mid-June against the Tom Price-based Tigers in which The Pontiff was beatified into Saints’ folklore.

The sharpshooter had an incredible 24 shots on goal to finish with 18.6 in his side’s 196-point victory.

“That’s the most I’ve ever kicked in a game,” Ponter said.

“I was pretty worn out by the end of it.”

Ponter’s form had club stalwarts scrambling for the record books even before the season’s halfway point, with no player having ever reached 100 goals in FNFL history.

Suffice to say Ponter won the league’s goal kicking crown but it was an “unexpected” best and fairest that provided the greatest deal of satisfaction.

“I’d never won a (league-wide) B and F before in my life,” Ponter said.

“I’ve lots of bride’s maid’s dresses but to finally get a B and F is personally great.”

Like any good biblical tale, Ponter’s miraculous season had one final twist when his Saints were defeated by Towns in last weekend’s FNFL decider. But The Pontiff has sworn to avenge the loss and, in the process, sent a chill up the spine of any full-back willing to stand in his way.

“If the body stays right I think I could kick a hundred again … why not.”

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