Matthew Pavlich: Kicking goals on and off the field
If sport is a metaphor for life, then Matthew Pavlich is living proof that every child should be encouraged to play – and play often.
Matthew is a proud dad to two littlies (Harper, 2, and newborn Jack) and the beloved captain of the Fremantle Dockers. He also happens to be a pretty astute property investor.
The South Australian lad started playing Aussie Rules as a 7-year-old, moving through the junior system as well as taking the field as a student at Sacred Heart College Adelaide before being drafted by the Dockers as a 17-year-old.
He describes a typically outdoors Australian childhood. “I basically grew up outside and played a number of sports: cricket in summer, basketball, tennis, golf,” he says. “I played a little bit of soccer, I did athletics. Like most kids I tried out most sports and liked them all.”
An active childhood may have morphed into a career as a professional athlete, but Matthew believes he gained much more than physical skill from his experiences. “I certainly learned the importance of teamwork and the camaraderie between teammates and the enjoyment you get [from playing together],” he reminisced. “The leadership skills certainly helped me off the football field. Team sport is fantastic in that it’s about shared duty rather than being an individual pursuit, and while those [individual] sports have strengths as well, I think team sports growing up is paramount and it’s a great part of your childhood.”
But Matthew stressed the importance of balance in children’s lives. “I think sport in childhood is like most other things, in that you want kids to have a good balance,” he says. “It can’t be all about sport, it can’t all be about schoolwork, and it can’t all be about socialising. A child needs to have a great balance of all those things in their lives.”
Sport certainly helped give him the confidence to do something not many barely-legal
-adults attempt. At the end of his first season with Fremantle, Matthew bought his first investment property – a 3-bedroom townhouse in East Fremantle. Since then he has continued adding to his portfolio and learning along the way.
Marriage in 2010 to wife Lauren O’Shannassy led to the purchase of a family home where they were joined two years ago by daughter Harper and, more recently, by son Jack, who arrived at the end of February 2015. (Matthew says a J. Pavlich 29½ jersey has not yet materialised.)
So will the next generation be following in their dad’s investment footsteps? “My experiences of investing in property have been mostly enjoyable and mostly fruitful so I think that it would only make sense that I relay to my children that it’s a viable option when they start working,” he says.
But while Harper and Jack are a few years away from deciding how to invest their first pay packets, Matthew’s advice to youngsters starting out in the workforce was to stay within their means. “Like any investment, there’s no guarantee,” he says of putting money into real estate. “My experiences have been mostly positive, so I would encourage them to look at it wisely, make sure that they do their sums and their background before purchasing.”
Matthew has compared property investment to sport, in that you learn to accept that you can’t always win. Learning to remove the emotion from business decisions was an important lesson. “I’d be lying to say I always get that right even now,” he says. “There’s emotion with every investment but where you can it’s critical to put that emotion aside and look at it purely as a business decision. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and that’s exactly like a game of football or a football season, so whilst there is emotion, it’s best to put that aside.”