Back in June 2011, the Old Paradians’ Association convened an inaugural gathering of former captains of Parade’s 1st XVIII teams through seven decades of College life.

Twenty-eight men of stature, from the late leader of Parade’s 49ers Peter Venier through to the 2008 skipper James McInerney, filed into the Treacy Centre in Parkville to relive past glories and pose for an historic team photograph.

Prominent amongst them was the ’99 1st XVIII captain Daniel Sage. On arrival, Daniel proudly posed for a photograph in front of the Old Paradians’ Association backdrop then reacquainted himself with fellow former captains and his old 1st XVIII coach Tony McKay.

“Daniel was a great leader of the 1st XVIII,” Tony said. “He was captain in 1999 and was a significant player in the Herald Shield Premiership team of 1998.

“He played a number of games in 1997 as a year 10 student. His style of leadership was to lead from the front and he was able to win games from his own boot at critical times in a game.”

Towards the end of the historic gathering in Parkville, a call went out to any former captains still chasing the leather that they might see fit to helping out the Old Paradians Football Club.

‘Sagey’ didn’t need to be asked twice. “I’ll have a run for the OPs,” he said.

Not long after and true to his word, Daniel returned to the Garvey and donned the Old Paradians guernsey. Taking his place up front, the big fellow promptly took charge - hauling in the Sherrin with his trusty mitts and finding the big sticks with that thumping left foot to help get the green men home.

Parade’s Director High Performance Sport Phil Gaut, the then Senior Coach of the Old Paradians in 2011, remembered Daniel making an immediate impression at the club both on and off the field.

“Daniel came down in the second half of the 2011 home and away season and he played three or four games. He was a beautiful kick of the footy,” Phil said.

“He was a good bloke, a lovely fellow and he helped the cause.”

Daniel cast a long shadow over those connected with the Old Paradians, just as he did with those aligned with the many and varied football teams for whom he shared his prodigious on-field talents – the likes of Northern Knights, Montmorency, Euroa, Craigieburn, Mernda, Violet Town, Whittlesea and the Victoria Police, for whom Leading Senior Constable Sage also served as a respected member.

But tragically on November 8, Daniel’s time came - just a fortnight shy of his 36th birthday – when he was killed in a farming accident on the family property at Kilmore.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Sarah and adored sons Elija, 6, and Cohen, 4 his younger brother Carl (himself a final year Parade student of 2004 who followed him to the Old Paradians) and his sister Donna, a Detective Senior Constable.

He is also survived by his father Ken and mother Janine.

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Donna Sage revealed that Daniel loved the country lifestyle and relocated to the Kilmore farm about a year-and-a-half ago.

“He wanted to set up a life for his family and his two little boys,’’ she said. “He just loved his life and loved his family and his friends.

“He was the happiest when he was with the boys — they idolised their Dad. They did everything with him.”

On Remembrance Day – three days after Daniel’s passing - Carl’s wife Sarah gave birth to a son. Louis Daniel Sage.

This Friday, November 17, Carl and members of the Sage family will lead the many, many mourners in paying final respects to a great man gone too soon.

The funeral of Daniel Sage will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Learning Community, St. Patrick’s Primary School, 1 Conway Street, Kilmore, commencing 11.00am.