Few people in Gridiron West can say that they’ve been around since the league started, let alone played every season since. One such stalwart is Ben Gastarov, who will be playing his 400th game this weekend.
Gastarov first played in WA for the Kwinana Seahawks in 1993 during the days of the WA Gridiron Football League (WAGFL). In 1995 when Gridiron West started, Gastarov played in both leagues, also taking the field for the Rockingham Dolphins. The WAGFL folded soon after, and Gastarov was there when the Seahawks and Dolphins merged to form today’s Rockingham Vipers.
Starting out as a Safety, Gastarov switched to the other side of the ball in 2002 and made his debut as Quarterback. His dedication and knowledge of the game has seen him through every WA Raiders campaign since Gridiron West began, including the 2001, 2012 and 2018 National Championship teams. It comes as no surprise then, that Gastarov has played on the Australian Outback national team, and racked up some impressive statistics. He has led the Rockingham Vipers to 15 Men’s West Bowls, securing the Championship 10 times, and averaging 60 passing touchdowns each season for the past 5 years.
As well as playing football, Gastarov has been instrumental in the development of the league and its players. In addition to coaching and running workshops, he’s been the President of the Rockingham Vipers since 2003, and of Gridiron West since 2009. Gastarov was at the helm when the the league introduced the Under 19’s and Women’s competitions and has been active in their development since.
Congratulations to Ben on this impressive milestone and a decade of service to Gridiron West.