Local Footy: Hume league to honour old Coreen league

By Barry Malone

The Coreen and District Football League folded in 2007 after 98 years of serving the people of the southern Riverina, specifically the area north of Corowa.

This Saturday, at the Hume league grand final between Osborne and Jindera at Walbundrie, Hume league officials will host a “wind-up” of the Coreen league. It’s the least we can do to celebrate what was a magnificent competition for almost a hundred years.

The CDFL was officially formed on 24 April 1909 at a meeting at the Buraja Hotel. The foundation clubs were  Coreen, Buraja, Ringwood, Redlands and Shannonvale.  The inaugural President was Mr T. Forge of Ringwood and the Secretary was L.A.Hogg of Buraja.

The league finally became almost a century later because of the lack of clubs when the NSW AFL granted clearances to Wahgunyah and Jerilderie footy to leave. With only four clubs remaining — Coleambally, CDHBU, Billabong Crows and Rennie — these clubs were left with no option but to seek affiliation with the Hume league if they were to maintain football and netball in their districts.

Small country leagues will find it extremely hard to survive because of the exit of people from smaller towns to larger centres. Modernisation of farming practices is leading to a lack of jobs in the bush, which can only make it more difficult for country clubs to survive.

Over the years, many players from the CDFL have gone on to play at VFL or AFL level. Since the 1950s these players include:

Jim Sandral (Rennie/Melbourne): Jim was runner-up and two times best & fairest winner before leaving to play with Corowa and then Melbourne. He later returned to Rennie to coach and was runner-up in the league’s best and fairest award five times. He was also president of Rennie.

Max Urquhart (Urana/Collingwood):  Max was  runner-up in the bestand fairest before leaving to play with Corowa and then Collingwood. Max later returned to live in Albury, where he is currently chairman of the Hume league’s tribunal.

Michael Dowdle (Jerilderie/North Melbourne): Pud won the  BF at the age of 16.

Cecil Rheinberger (Oaklands/Fitzroy): runner-up BF in 1965.

Victor Hugo (Coleambally/South Melbourne).

Jeff Bruce (Rennie/Melbourne).

Some who played juniors in out district include: Michael Gayfer (Corowa-Rutherglen), John Longmire (Rand/Corowa-Rutherglen), Mark O’Donoghue  (Corowa-Rutherglen), the four Houlihan brothers (Wahgunyah), Ben Mathews (Buraja) and Paul Bevan (Daysdale).

The player considered the best of them all in our district is Jack Stakelum, who could never be persuaded to leave his beloved Bombers and life in Urana.

Peter Carroll of Coreen and Tyson Moloney of Oaklands are the only two players in CDFL history to win four  Archie Dennis Medals.

Peter played all his career with Coreen . Not only was he a great player but he was a good Clubman. He was president of the Coreen club for a number of years before becoming president of the League.

Tyson left Oaklands to play at Yarrawonga. On his return he won his four medals.

Premiership  Winners:

Seniors;  Coreen 14, Rennie 12, Daysdale 7, Oaklands 7, Hopefield-Buraja 7, Wahgunyah 7, Coleambally 6, Balldale 6, Urana 6, Jerilderie 4, Corowa-Rutherglen 3, The Settlers 2, Rand 2, CDHBU 2, Ringwood 1, Corowa 1, Military 1, Redlands 1, Murray Magpies 1.

Life Members;  Paul Zanoni*, Alec Caughy*, Dave Lewis* , Lindsay Norman, Noreen Norman, Peter Carroll and Claude Tomlinson*  (* deceased).

The Coreen league had some long-serving  executives:

Presidents: Paul Zanoni (Oaklands) 1952-71, Dave Lewis 1972-87, Peter Carroll 1988-2005.

Dave was also Vice President of the VCFL for several years .

Secretary/Treasurer:

Charlie Wilson (Daysdale) 1938-48, Alec Caughey(Buraja) 1953-1969, Lindsay Norman (Daysdale) 1977-2009.

Lindsay, after serving an apprenticeship as secretary of Daysdale for eight years and president for one, became the CDFL secretary for 32 years, a total of 40 in admin.

The netball association was started by Noreen Norman, better known as Bomber, who wrote to all football clubs in 1971. The initial feeling was, “Netball, no we don’t want that!’  Perseverance won. The association started in 1972 with A-grade and under 16s and quickly grew to five grades.   Noreen continued as secretary for 29 years and was also publicity officer and score  secretary for the football.

Looking back over the period of the lLeague, it was very successful  not only “footy wise”  but socially. It generated a lot of activity in the football and netball communities.

So to everyone out there, please support your old Coreen league football and netball clubs in their new environment.

Comments

  1. Rocket Rod Gillett says:

    Thanks Barry for this story – great to see the Coreen League recognised by the Hume League.

    I note you have used the material put together for the history of the Coreen & District league by my old mate, Alan Norman – he kindly sent me a copy of the last ever CDFL Grand Final program. His book on the history of the league is a gem.
    He was very sad about the demise of the league – as you point out it has been a great way to bring people together for sporting and social activities over a long period of time.

    Hope you have another great Grand Final day at Walbundrie – I’ll unfortunately miss it, and the wonderful half-time spread put on by Mrs Weppner & co. The best in NSW football!

    I look forward to hearing updated scores on Daff’s country footy program on ABC radio.

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