A team of Wagga warriors


by Glen Davis

We’ve had sides from Corowa -Ruthgerglen and Albury-Wodonga, there was an effort to pick a side from around Berrigan, and we might return to that. How about a side from around Wagga, and beyond? Let’s imagine driving out of Albury, up the Hume Highway, and then turning at the Olympic Highway to head up to Wagga and the rugby grounds past there. We are nearing what has been called the ‘Barassi line’. Let’s see what sort of team we can select. Here we go.

B: C Daniher, Ungarie/Essendon, A Daniher Ungarie/Sydney/Essendon, F Gumbleton, Ganmain/North Melbourne

H/B: N Daniher, Ungarie/Essendon, M Kruse, Leeton/Sydney, J Pitura, Wagga/South Melbourne/Richmond

C: G Smith, Wagga/Sydney/Collingwood, P Kelly, Wagga/Sydney, R Gleeson, Lockhart/South Melbourne

H/F: L Breust, Temora/Hawthorn, W Carey/ Wagga/North Melbourne/Adelaide, J Prentice, Ariah Park/South Melbourne

F: T Daniher, Ungarie/South Melbourne/Essendon, T Carrol, Ganmain/Carlton, P Hawke, Wagga/Sydney/Collingwood

Foll: P Bushby, Narrandera/Essendon, R Quade, Ariah Park/South Melbourne, C Hounsell, Colingullie/Sydney

Inter: T Quade, Ariah Park/North Melbourne, C Nettlebeck, Leeton/Sydney/Melbourne, D Murphy, Wagga/Sydney, N Miller Wagga/South Melbourne

Emer: M Quade, Ariah Park/North Melbourne, R Coelli, Narrandera/South Melbourne, I Smith Cootamundra/Hawthorn

As always there are players missing. Also I have only named the town they are from, not the original teams. see what youse think !!!


  1. Mic Rees says:

    Glen – 10 out of 10 for any team that includes Frankie Gumbleton. Did he captain NM reserves to the 1979 flag ?

    I think Al Grassby was the local member in this region in the 70’s.


  2. Mick unsure if FG captained the 1979 magoos team, though pretty certain he played in the seniors flags in 1975 and 1977. Not much in Ganmain, drove through there going from Wagga to Temora, all it has of note is a hay bale house building company. Al Grasby was a local Federal Polly back in the 1970’s, though i am still staggered at how a an ALP polly got elected in that neck of the woods as it ‘s very staunch LNP.

  3. Mark Doyle says:

    Well done Glen. A good acknowledgement that the Riverina has produced some good aussie rules footballers. I can think of a few more who were as good as some in your team, but didn’t play in the VFL or AFL.
    Didn’t Al Grassby win the federal seat of Riverina for the ALP in 1969 (the year of Don’s Party) and held it in 1972 with the support of the Griffith mafia? He was minister for immigration in the 1972 Whitlam government and is remembered as the father of multiculturalism and his flashy clothes.

  4. Alovesupreme says:

    Al G had already won a State seat in the area, but you’re correct he did win Riverina in 1969, and was chucked out in 1974. His supporters claimed that was due to a racist campaign against him.
    He was an extremely flamboyant character, especially for the more buttoned-up times of the 1960s. His capacity for stunts was a forerunner of some-one like Senator Nick Xenophon.
    His highly effective advocacy of multiculturalism has to be weighed up against his (“alleged”) associations with the Griffith mafia. He certainly took their side in public disputes, to his shame.
    This obituary by Mungo McCallum gives a reasonably even-handed assessment

    As for the team, I wondered if Tubby Taylor might have got a guernsey. I understand he played Aussie Rules until cricket became his priority,
    Were Adam Schneider and Justin Koschitzke rejected on geographic grounds or didn’t they make the cut because of the talented line-up, you’ve produced?

  5. Adam Muyt says:

    The Riverina is, of course, part of the border regions of the Barassi Line and like so many border regions it shares a rich blending of the cultures. The region, and Wagga Wagga in particular, has produced plenty of first grade rugby league players too. Peter Stirling – Parramatta, the Mortimer brothers – Canterbury, Jamie Soward – Easts & St. Geo. Illawarra, Barry Glasgow – Norths and Wests, Joe Williams – Souths, Arthur Summons – Wests, to name a few.

    Can’t think of any other region anywhere in Australia that consistently produces senior sporting talent across two major codes.

  6. Michael Crawford says:

    Of course, the Riverina was the designated recruiting zone for South Melbourne in the late 60s and 70s. As a kid growing up barracking for South Melbourne, we always felt we were hard done by, having a far away NSW region as our zone, whilst the likes of Carlton had Bendigo and North Melbourne had the Ovens and Murray etc. Apparenty, when recruiting zones were first introduced, there was a plan to rotate them every few years, but then some of the VFL heavyweights ditched that idea. Nonetheless, as a young kid, it helped me learn my geography as new recruits came from such exotic sounding places as Cootamundra, Mangoplah, Cookardinia, Grong Grong, Matong, Yerong Creek, Narranderra and The Rock. And as the list shows, there were some pretty good players from that region.

    There are some potential omissions, especially gvien that Rod Coelli has been included as an emergency, having only played 3 games for South Melbourne. I know Dennis Carroll was picked in the Albury side, by virtue of him having played the previous season in Albury, even though he was originally from the Riverina. However, what about his older cousin Wayne, from Mangoplah Cookadinia United who was a handy forward for SM in the 80s. Other potential candidates are Terry O’Neill Narranderra/ SMelb/Port Melbourne/Fitzroy and Brett Scott Yerong Creek/Sydney. And on a lighter note – what about Victor Hugo? He came down to South Melbourne at the start of 1980 but after 2 games, returned home to Narrenderra. However, sharing a name with a French literary giant meant he got more public attention in 2 games, than most players get in a season. Maybe that’s why he went home to the Riverina! (not be confused with the French Riverina as Jack Dyer once described the French Riviera).

  7. Skip of Skipton says:

    Come on! Cam Mooney (Turvey Park) is a dual premiership All-Australian. His brother Jason would have been picked in front of a few of those also. Far too Quade-centric.

  8. Skip of Skipton says:

    Make that TRIPLE premiership hero! I forgot the one for North in ’99. He’s the most decorated player to ever come forth from the Murrumbidgee Metropolis.

  9. John Hill expat in USA says:

    I have to acknowledge any team that has Turkey Tom Carroll as the spearhead, but have to say that his namesake (relative??) Dennis Carroll was also born in Ganmain and is a glaring omission. Decorated captain of the Swans for many seasons, member of their team of the century, state of origin for Victoria and NSW and a room named after him at the SCG. Gotta believe he could fit in on a forward flank even if he played mostly at half back.

  10. Yes, how could i forget young Schneider and the Mooney brothers. Terry O’Neil , yes another oversight. Sorry, Glen!

  11. Rocket Nguyen says:

    Great work Glen.

    Very pleased to see Reg Gleeson included – highly rated by old time Swans.
    Also good to see Blossom Hounsell in the team
    Only glaring omission is David Fang Murphy who went to Swans from My old club Turvey Park.
    All-Aust in1988 playing for NSW at Bicentennial carnival in Adelaide

    btw Adam – Stumpy Summons went from captaining Wests to coach Wagga Magpies in mid-60s
    Megsey Hawick went from Norths to coach Kangaroos – then back to coach Norths

  12. Rocket Nguyen says:

    Just realized young Suckling at Hawthorn has not been mentioned in dispatches.
    Son of East Wagga great Barry Suckling who himself had a run at Fitzroy and Essenson
    Champion bloke old Sucky.

  13. Rocket Nguyen says:

    Ooops! I see you have David Murphy on the interchange bench.
    However, he was a Turvey Park product – not Wagga Tigers!
    Also Greg Smith was Ardelthan /East Wagga – not Tigers.
    The Lucas bros., Jack & Leo, also went from East Wagga to the Swans – originally Ariah Park-Mirrool.
    Jack is the father of Carlton’s Kane.
    A couple of my favourite blokes, Doug Priest (Holbrook) & Rossie Elwin (Leeton) also played at South.

  14. Wayne Carroll from Mangoplah? Ganmain I’d have thought.

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