In an era where the transition of AFL players into retirement has become a big and often troublesome issue Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt is one example of how to do it.
Now 43 and nine years into retirement, Everitt, whose 291st and last AFL game was in the Sydney Swans’ semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on 12 September 2008, has life in very good order.
He’s even more disciplined than he occasionally may have been on the field, and keeps himself in excellent knick for what is a very busy lifestyle.
In his seventh year doing breakfast radio on Gold FM on the Gold Coast and AFL commentary on the Triple M network, he is out of bed Monday to Friday at 2.30am and heads straight to the gym.
He’s at the radio studio by 4am and is on air daily from 5am-9am.
“It’s the only way to fit it all in,” said Everitt, who is aiming to run a marathon this year.
“I usually grab a short nap mid-morning but I get by. I’m not into reality television so I’m in bed most nights by 8.30pm,” he said.
Everitt also is in his ninth year doing his much-loved national Great Australian Doorstep TV and radio shows with wife Sheree.
“It is all about travelling cost effectively on self-drive holidays,” he explained.
“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have a holiday and that every child should experience the joys of making memories – and the best way to do that is by a self-drive holiday, caravanning, four-whee-driving or by motorhome.
“We explore a wide variety of things to do while keeping an eye on the budget.”
The television show is seen in 11 countries around the world, and is available for download on iTunes world-wide, and the radio show airs on Sundays at 6am on Triple M stations across Australia.
A keen golfer and fisherman, he has his own fishing team called ‘The Anglers’ and competes in competitions all around the country.
“I don’t know anything about it but I take people who do and I ride off their coattails,” he said.
And on Saturdays during the football season you’ll find him running the boundary for the Under 11s at the Southport Sharks, where his son Boston plays.
It’s the junior club of players like Nick Riewoldt, Kurt Tippett, Daniel Merrett and Marcus Ashcroft, among a lot of others.
“It’s pretty intense,” he said with a grin. “They move the ball pretty quickly so you’ve got to keep up, and if you don’t throw it in properly they get really grumpy.”
Everitt, who has three daughters from a previous relationship who live in Melbourne, spent the last two years of his AFL career at the Swans in 2007-08, playing 39 games including finals in both years.
This was after 180 games at St Kilda from 1993-2002, and 72 games with Hawthorn from 2003-06.
The 203cm mobile and goal-kicking ruckman, easily identified in his playing days via his trademark dreadlocks, was All-Australian in 1997, 1998 and 2005.
He is also one of a small group of players to win best and fairest honours at two clubs – St Kilda in 2001 and Hawthorn in 2004.
But he revealed this week he actually wanted to get to the Swans earlier after a chance on-field chat with Sydney premiership ruckman Jason Ball late in the 2005 season, when the Hawks finished 14th.
“I was playing on him (Ball) is the last game of the (regular) season and he told me whatever happens in the finals he was going to give it away.
“So I thought to myself maybe I could sneak up to Sydney and play in the finals.
“I wanted to go and the Swans were keen but ‘Clarko’ (Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson) didn’t like the idea. These days they’d probably let you go but it was different back then so I had to play two more years at Hawthorn.”
Everitt, whose younger brother Andrejs played 43 games for the Swans from 2011-13 in a 141-game career that also took in the Western Bulldogs and Carlton, has nothing but good things to say about his two years in Sydney.
“It’s a great club. I still keep in touch with a lot of people there and always look forward to going to Swans functions,” he said.
Favorite memory? “I just loved the club itself. When you get there and realise footy isn’t the most popular sport and see how hard they work to promote it, it’s fantastic.
“The players are the same everywhere but I really enjoyed the hierarchy and built up a lot of great relationships with everyone from (CEO) Andrew Ireland through to (coach) Paul Roos.
“Ireland runs a great ship and it’s no surprise they are successful because they’ve got so many good people.
“Sheree was pregnant when we moved to Sydney and they looked after us so well.”
Ahead of the Swans game against the Hawks tonight, which Everitt will watch closely on television, he explained the origins of his life-time nickname.
“My first nickname was Stalker so I’m pretty happy I got rid of that. You wouldn’t want to be called Stalker these days,” he said.
“I got Spida because of my dreadlocks and I was tall and lanky like a daddy long legs spider.”
But why Spida and not Spider? “I was just trying to be cool .. to keep in with the young fellas.”
That’s Spida. Listen to his breakfast radio show or his caravan camping show and he’s still cool.