Former Crow Matthew Liptak can remember the historic formation of the Adelaide Football Club like it was yesterday.
Liptak was one of the promising young South Australian footballers given the chance to join Adelaide’s inaugural squad in 1991.
Speaking on the latest episode of The Crows Radio Show, Liptak said being part of the first South Australian team to enter the AFL was a special moment.
He said he would never forget how it brought the entire state together.
“It was a great time of my life and a great time of Adelaide’s life as well, (it was) the beginning, the formation of the crows,” Liptak said.
“(I have) some great memories of that initial coming together of the Adelaide community.
“From my point of view, I was just a young bloke, I was just loving life amongst my heroes and trying to win a spot on this new, blossoming Club and for me it was just gold.
“The first year, or two years, or three years, it was really like we were playing for the State and the State was supporting us.
“The first trial game we had 50,000 people packed into footy park - it was just crazy.”
Liptak, who was recruited from SANFL Club Glenelg, made his AFL debut midway through 1991 and soon became a regular in the line-up as a small forward/rover.
He went on to win the Crows Club Champion Award in 1996 and played 116 AFL games all while juggling his medical studies and later working about 70 hours a week as a doctor.
“I guess I had a very lucky window, I came on board and I already completed three years of medical studies prior to (signing with) the Crows,” Liptak said.
“The Adelaide Football Club was good enough to allow me to mix and match a bit of my training and my studies and then I mixed and matched my work commitments with my training as well.
“Similarly Flinders Uni allowed me to do things subtly different but I still had to do the rigours of passing and doing everything correctly.”
Injuries hampered Liptak’s football career and he hung up his boots at the age of 29.
Once his AFL career ended, Liptak decided to go back to study and became an orthopedic surgeon - a profession he is still in now.
Liptak said he would always be grateful for having the ability to study while playing football.
“I got to the end of my (AFL) career and I had been working for three or four years full time and I decided surgery was the place to go,” Liptak said.
“I went into surgical training and then subsequently became an orthopedic surgeon.
“I don’t think I would’ve gone back, so it was so important I had the ability to study and play sport.
“My obsession was sport, but my study was going to get me through the rest of my life.”
Tune in to Triple M Adelaide this Sunday at 9am for the next instalment of Sauce and Thomo.