By John Harms
A few months ago, I attended a gala function in the Jim Stynes Room at the MCG at which the Blokes Who Grew Up On Dairy Farms Team Of The Century was named. It was part of The United Dairy Farmers Presidents’ Dinner held in conjunction with the 2013 Annual Meeting and Conference held over the last couple of days.
I had been invited to be part of the evening by Vin Delahunty, who is one of those industry types who either organises lunches or attends them. Vin and I met in typical Australian bush fashion – at the Murtoa Races. I had once been a part-owner of a Murtoa maiden winner and have since thought of the place as something of a spiritual home. The racing game will do that to you.
In the Wimmera dairy cattle have cameline humps. Yet Vin being Vin has been able to talk himself into a plum role in the dairy industry.
But I digress.
I enjoy speaking at dinners especially, given that I grew up in the country of parents of rural sensibilities, when they involve good country folk. I like talking about the weather, the flow of rivers, the type of country people are from, footy and cricket grounds, and the matches played on them.
Given the dinner was going to be at the MCG and that Scott Lucas, a terrific player at Essendon for over a decade, was going to be the guest of honour, I thought I should go in search of those VFL and AFL players who had grown up on dairy farms just as Scott had.
I called for nominations at the sportswriting site www.footyalmanac.com.au, and received plenty. Certainly more than enough to select a team, which I did. And it soon became obvious that this team deserved the title: The Blokes Who Grew Up On Dairy Farms Team Of The Century.
So I announced it at the dinner before interviewing Scott who was named captain. Scott last milked the cows in January this year when his family was staying there and his father was called out to fight a fire.
Of course, in naming the team on the basis of such thin methodology, good players were always going to be left out, which I found out from some very nice hecklers around the room.
So this is the provisional team:
Backs: Francis Bourke Jeff Fehring Stephen Theodore
Half-backs: John Devine Peter Knights Gary Farrant
Centre: Brendan Edwards Paul Couch Neville Bruns
Half-forwards: Doug Farrant Scott Lucas Gary Rohan
Full forwards: Adrian Gleeson Josh Fraser Ronny Wearmouth
Followers: Darren Flanigan Anthony Stevens Garry Wilson
Interchange: Josh Newton, Ben McEvoy, Craig Cleave, Smirky Dwyer.
Emergencies: Nifty Neville Wilson, Stuart Appleby
No doubt a few dairy farm champions have been ignored. If you have a suggestion you can post it via a comment here.
It’s a pretty handy team already.
We can name the definitive team next year. It will give me an excuse to go back to the dinner.