This Saturday night, as the St Laurence Geelong Supercats take on the Bendigo Braves in the SEABL do or die preliminary final, Supercats centre Sebastian Loader will become just the fifth player to play 200 SEABL games for the club. He joins players such as Jarrod Leonard, Nathan Herbert, Nick Owusu and Jamie Medved in the 200 club for the Supercats.
The 203cm owner of Timezone Geelong has retired from basketball twice already – but he always comes back to the game he loves.
Loader first played for the Supercats in 1999 at the age of 23 years old, a year that saw Geelong win not only their first South Conference CBA (as it was then known) title, but also their first National ABA (as it was then known) title.
In his 200 games spanning across a thirteen year period, Seb has been a stalwart of the Supercats club. He has played in all three of the Supercats National/All-SEABL Championship wins, as well as four out five of Geelong’s Conference championships.
His second comeback in 2010 was due in large part to current head coach Jamie O’Loughlin. After Mark Leader stepped down as head coach and his assistant O’Loughlin was promoted to the role, Jamie’s first order of business was to get the big man back on to the court.
“I felt that in watching him he had plenty to offer and that he pulled the pin on his SEABL career a touch too early. I wanted to give him the opportunity to come back if that’s what he wanted.
He definitely helped us be a better team (in 2010) – he started the year off on the bench and worked his way up to the starting centre spot, and ended up starting for us in the All-SEABL grand final. He played a very important role and is a big reason that we won both the conference and All-SEABL championships that year,” said O’Loughlin.
Loader counts the 2010 All-SEABL Championship win as one of the highlights of his career, along with the 1999 and 2006 National ABA Championships.
“Those three games definitely stand out for me. Particularly the 2010 win – to come back after two years of not playing, and get back to the right fitness level, was just such a great achievement. And to win with a great bunch of guys, was fantastic.”
Having played with many different teammates over the years, Seb counts Nick Owusu, Keith Harrison, and Jamie Medved as some of the players he enjoys playing with the most. “We’ve been playing together for such a long time. We’re just great mates – on the court, and off the court. We’re as thick as thieves.”
Some of the toughest opponents he has faced over his career include Australian Boomers players Dave Andersen, Joe Ingles, and Luke Schenscher. “It just shows the quality of the competition of SEABL, to have guys like that come up through the ranks.”
After already retiring twice, Seb has no plans to leave the game again anytime soon. “I think the reason I continue to play is just the enjoyment I get out of it. Especially after not playing for a couple of years – you don’t realise how much you miss it, and how special it is. To be able to play at this level….what a privilege. It’s such a short window, I just want to play for as long as I can now. “
Head coach Jamie O’Loughlin counts Loader as an integral part of the 2012 Supercats campaign. “He has been absolutely critical to our performance this season. He is probably the only player on our team who has played every single game this season – not bad for a 37 year old guy. We are really pleased with the way he has been playing, and it seems like when he is firing the whole team plays well.”
Off the court, Seb is a leader of the Supercats club. As part of the SEABL men’s leadership group, he has taken on a mentoring role for upcoming players such as Lachlan Headlam and Matt Vale and brings huge value to team morale.
As well as this, Seb is a local Geelong businessman who contributes back to the club through his business, Timezone. He sponsors the Aspiring Supercats Program which identifies young athletes and offers them the opportunity to work with SEABL head coaches and gain experience in what it means to be a professional athlete. Seb has been recognised by the club in past years for his contributions, including being presented with the prestigious Ken Price Best Clubman Award in 2011.
The Geelong Supercats would like to congratulate Seb Loader on a fantastic career so far and in reaching the milestone of 200 SEABL game for Geelong. A presentation will be made at this Saturday night’s game to Seb to acknowledge this milestone.
Written by Beth Davis