Rumble in top echelon at Lions
Rumble in top echelon at Lions

Twenty-seven months ago, four-times Subiaco premiership defender Darren Rumble was fighting a staph infection which almost cost him his life.

Today the 29-year-old will notch his 200th league game against East Fremantle at Medibank Stadium, joining an elite list of Subiaco players to have reached the double-century milestone.

Rumble was taken to hospital six days after the Lions' 24-point round-one win against West Perth on March 16, 2012 with a raging temperature and kidney pains.

Fears were held for the full- back's life, let alone a return to football, as he fought off the debilitating effects of the infection.

Following a wide range of scans for diseases including viral meningitis, Rumble was found to have contracted the infection which permeated through his body from a blister under his left big toe he received while adjusting to a new pair of boots.

He returned for the last 11 games of 2012 and has stretched his career into a 12th season.

Rumble, a member of Subiaco's premierships of 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and a four-times State representative, also lined up in the Lions' losing grand final side against Claremont in 2011.

Recognised as one of the league's premier shut-down defenders, Rumble's career had modest beginnings.

He started with Balga and failed to make any of Subiaco's junior development squads, having been told he was carrying too much "puppy fat" as a teenager.

He graduated into Lions ranks as a forward but blossomed in defence after making his league debut in 2003.

Rumble said his unorthodox passage into WAFL ranks had made him appreciate premiership success all the more.

"Coming from my junior club (Balga) we didn't win too many games and then I stepped straight into this … including reserves, we won six grand finals in seven years," Rumble said.

"I thought how good is this, this is how it is, you come play WAFL and you just win grand finals.

"At that time I don't think I realised how lucky I was. I'd played under 100 games and had won my fourth premiership."

Subiaco coach Jarrad Schofield, a teammate of Rumble's in the hat-trick of flags, described him as "the ultimate clubman".

"He's an honest footballer, you know what you're going to get week in, week out," Schofield said.

"He's a true leader and that's why he's our vice-captain, he's been one of our leaders for a long time at this footy club."

Captain Kyal Horsley will make it a dual celebration when he lines up for his 100th game.

Subiaco's roll of honour: 260: Neil Taylor. 252: Colin Williams. 251: Austin Robertson. 232: Aidan Parker. 227: Phil Lamb., 224: Reg Hampson. 214: Chad Cossom. 213: Kevin Merifield. 211: Brian Taylor. 205: Laurie Kettlewell. 204: Clinton Brown. 202: Stuart Daily. 199: Darren Rumble.

The West Australian

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