David Zaharakis entered the season as the club’s most experienced player and his maturity came to the fore on a number of occasions this year.
The veteran’s versatility proved valuable this year as he impressed sweeping across half-back, while he continued to show his class on the ball.
Zaharakis achieved a massive feat when he took to the field for his 200th game in round 15 against Greater Western Sydney, solidifying his spot as one of the club’s favourite sons with a typically strong performance in the heart-stopping victory.
An important leader for the side, Zaharakis was missed following a season-ending knee injury suffered against Fremantle in round 22.
Average disposals: 20.3
Average marks: 5
Average inside 50s: 3
Entering round three off the back of consecutive losses to start the season, the Bombers needed their leaders to stand up, and Zaharakis did just that.
The experienced Don showed he is still well and truly capable of playing his best football, winding back the clock to lead the side to a stirring victory.
Zaharakis was simply sensational in racking up 31 disposals, 16 contested possessions, 516 metres gained, seven clearances, five inside 50s and seven score involvements including a cracking long-range goal and two goal assists.
It’s hard to go past Zaharakis’ 200th celebrations, with fellow veteran Cale Hooker’s final-quarter heroics securing a win for the ages.
And it was somewhat fitting that Hooker’s winning kick saw the Sherrin sail over a Greek flag honouring Zaharakis in the cheer squad.
Hooker and Michael Hurley had the honour of chairing the milestone man off in one of the season’s most memorable moments.
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Zaharakis will be 30 years old when the season begins next year, but there were many signs this year that plenty of great football still lies ahead and, at this stage, he is on track for a full pre-season.
As younger midfielders gain further opportunities through the middle, we may see Zaharakis spend more time across half-back or in the forward line.