Old Dog’s Footy Team of the Century (On-ballers, interchange and coach)

Matt Zurbo adds the on-ballers, interchange and coach to his Team of the Century. He’s interested in your own nominations.

 

 

On-Ballers.

 

Ruck Rover.

 

Sammy Harriott is tough. Is bush football. Is a Champion. I’m proud to call him a mate. An all-time legend of the Otway Footy Club. Ruthless. No-one I’ve played alongside or against, apart from Damian Dove, could hit harder with their bodies. He won B&Fs as a fast, bashing, crashing, leathery ruck-rover, and thought nothing of kicking 13 at FF when his body was shot. He had smacked it into so many packs and pack marks and tackles there was bugger all left. Except his ability to kick impossible goals, and to turn his opponents inside out.

Not one to hog the glory then quit, he took on coaching the Two’s to help the club he played for his whole life, that gave to him, and can still be seen on Saturdays, when his body allows, between 12 and 2.

Tempting to put him FF, or, in a team this mighty, HFF, but, in his prime, the most classic, genuine Ruck Rover. Vice Captain.

 

Rover.

 

Leon Burnstein was 5ft 2”, or there abouts, and head-and-stocky-little-shoulders-to-toes the best player I’ve ever seen. Relentless like Matthews, as fair as Skilton. Solid, fast, great overhead for his size – these things he was lucky enough to be born with, but he just pushed, endlessly.

At training he’d run so hard doing rabbit burrows, chunks of grass would be kicking up over my head. He was always exhausted at the end of each night, because he attacked every kick of every drill as if it might decide the match. And, sure enough, come game day, was the only bloke on the oval who could genuinely run a game out.

He had sweet timing, vision, brains and a laconic ratbag’s grin.

Once, I saw him push hard from the middle into defence, get the pill from a contest, kick it to the wing. The ball hit hands and spilled. Despite having just ran the length of the ground, he followed up and was the one to rove it when it hit the turf. Under the pump, he broke free, then did as the coach instructed, driving it long to the hotspot at CHF, where it bounced off hands again, and, sure enough, when it fell into the pack, there Leon was, a few seconds later, barging in, knocking blokes out of the way, wrestling it into his hands and kicking it forward again. Contest to contest to contest.

What an inspiration!

Won every award the Amateurs had.

 

 

Ruck.

 

The hardest position of all to pick. There can be only one. From AJAX’s Les Lavin to Uni Blue’s Justin Jamieson, I’ve seen so many greats.

 

As with Bayer Harris, I never played alongside Peter Featherstone. He was a monster. 6ft 100” of solid muscle and go. Remember that kid who grew twice as quick in juniors, swatting away you and your small, skinny mates? That was him in whatever senior comp he chose to play.

Like the best ruckmen, he had presence.

Smart, Peter would hit-out to teammates, talk to his rovers, make them talk to him. He could jump despite his bulk, and only having half of one foot.

To him footy was about mates and community. And he served both with flag after flag.

A Beeac boy (flat farming plains on the far side of Colac Lake), he took them to flags, moved to the Bay for love, took them to flags, then moved back to Beeac for more of the same, and never once got full of himself. Operated a crane, drove trucks, ate steak and chips on Friday nights. Never lost perspective.

A firm and passionate believer in cards and a few drinks in the clubrooms after Thursday selection.

In one game against him, I leapt to full height, dug my knee into his hip, launched, swiped, and didn’t even hit his wrist. Next time, I smacked into him with everything I had. All guns! The ball came down neutral. He snatched it out of the rover’s hands, took off before I could catch him, bowled over two or three of my teammates as he bounce twice, then delivered deep.

“Good stuff!” he smiled at me after the game.

Still hacking away somewhere near Bordertown SA. If you look up “bush footy” there will be a photo of his ugly head!

 

 

Coach.

 

Piss easy: Sid Myers.

 

http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/sid-myers-rewards/

 

(apologies to Clinton Parker from Lilydale, and Mick Hickey from Otway)

 

 

 

Interchange.

 

I desperately wanted the ruck spot to go to Lenny “Spider” Perkins! If only because he was my best mate. I loved the bloke. Everybody did. He would turn games. Seize them by the scruff of the neck. Had the sweetest 50 meter left foot you’ll ever see. Would just stand in front of oncoming packs and stretch for the mark, daring them to trample him.

Played ruck, mostly, but also killed it at CHF and CHB. Just wanted to win!

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I saw him fully extended, holding a mark, wearing four or five charging players in his back.
Where as some players make the crowd go “Raaaaaooor!” Lenny would make them go “Ooooooohhh!”

Off the field, well, there was nobody better. He could drink for three days, always laughed and loved life and put on a show. Yet when I coached juniors, I always noticed him at the back of the quarter time huddle, letting the kids know some senior players gave a shit about them. Under 13s, 17s, for half of the ressies, he was always there.

“Go boys! Come-on!”

That’s the stuff clubs are built on. Character. Passion. Humour. Guts on the oval, good times off it. Changing with Featherstone in the ruck.

 

Brian Noseda was a barrel-chested battler for the Apollo Bay twos. Slow, couldn’t leap, but heart a mile wide, and so passionate about his footy club. Always gave everything his talent and body permitted. I know he was only reserves. But this is a “Not AFL” team, so the level is irrelevant. As long as they gave everything, and you could build a team around them and they always strived to be a little better than they could possibly be. If these are the criteria, then hell, yes!

Can still be found plodding along in the McGoos alongside his son. Must have played 800 games! Haha!

If only for the battlers. The draughthorses. As a reward for services rendered. Nosey, you’re in!

 

I’m going to do something different for my final interchange. I never even saw Guy Permezel play. Even though I saw his son go from Juniors, to AFL Falcons, Senior Captain and teammate, to eventual well-earned retirement.
Guy played about 14 years as a tough, key backman, then, getting too old, was thrown forward early in his last year on a looky-see. He kicked 144. A club record that stands to this day.
He looks you fair in the eye and grips your hand firmly when he shakes it. Having played most of my footy until then as a backman, I was curious about his goal-kicking record and asked:

“Do you regret not being put forward earlier in your career?”

Again, always, he looked me in the eyes and said:

“Eh, that was just something that happened at the end. I’m a backman,” as if they are born. As if that’s a thing of absolute, rock-like pride.

 

 

Apologies to so many. Stewart Sutherland, Khan Beckett, Justin Robins from Otway, Connor Tuckerman from Lilydale, David Tanis, Virg Morrow from the Bay, Coutes from Lorne, and so on. The list is endless.

 

Forwards:

 

Half Forward.

 

If Pride had a name it would be Damien Dove. Laconic, witty, sharp, 6ft2” or thereabouts. A bit overweight, but of the strong kind, with acceleration, hardness, and skill for a big man like I’d never seen. A genuine big forward. Was not unusual to see him go into the middle for a game, the biggest genuine ruck-rover I’ve ever seen. He’d kill people off three steps. Snap it up as it came in at his ankles, full pace, kick them from fifty, loved a grab, to use his strength/body, and always played well in big games, because he was a big man. Larger than life.

He was insanely proud. Night after night after training, we’d get someone to kick it up to us for fifteen minutes. Me and him. Every single time, with no-one watching, we’d bash into each other as if each and every contest was life or death.

Everybody in three leagues knew Dovie, respected him. No-one who was on his team was scared of anything. He was a leader, too. 200% personality, loyal to his teammates. You build Premierships around men’s men like him. We must have been ordinary at Otway to not give him one.

 

Centre Half-Forward.

 

Peter Guertz was a freak! Everything about him was Ablett Sr. Naturally strong, fast, powerful. Thought nothing of kicking seven from CHF. Took speckies, pack marks, always, always landed on his feet. Only one problem. His head. Never trained, rocked up to games drunk.

One function, after he’d kicked eight, then wrote himself off on grog, I found him standing in the drizzle, in a puddle, in the car park, snoring like a saw. Even when unconscious he kept his feet.

Yes, he should have played AFL, and killed it. Yes, but for his head he would have. But, then, we would never have had the pleasure of playing footy with him. Watching all those goals, that strength, that power. Natural? On song he was mighty. Unstoppable.

I remember one final, a few points down, minutes left, the ball kicked to a pack at fifty, totally out of position, he leaped anyway. Copped a ride off his opponent, like Roach, noticed the ball was on a different line to him, still a full body above the pack, threw his hands across and marked it two feet from his hip. Went back, kicked the goal.

I thought he was the best bloke, everybody did. Except the coach, not that I blame him. CHF, with Dovie beside him, in case his head goes AWOL.

 

Half Forward.

 

Bayer Harris won league B&Fs at any and every level he played at. But found a home in the CDFL because he had a good business going and young kids. His family is Otway, and he returned there, when on the wane, but not in my time. He is one of only two opponents I have put in here.

I’ve seen footballers of all shapes and sizes. Those that have played AFL, those that were destined to. Those that simply should have been playing at a higher standard, and were proving absolutely nothing to me. Bayer was different, because, no matter the level, (and I did watch him when he won the league B&F in as very powerful comp), he always made his teammates look good.

Too many talented dickheads would rack up the stats, votes and accolades. Bayer would get the hard ball, feeding it off to runners. He’d wear two or three blokes at ball-ups, and squeeze it out to the man now free. He took hits, blows, slapped it on, wore flying tackles taking that extra second to make sure the ball found a teammate’s hands. Always.

He could twist and turn and had the power through his core to shrug tackles. He wouldn’t just kick goals in this team, he’d make others kick them, too. He could turn a forward line from chaos to order. A prick of a thing on the grog. Haha! Good for rotations, too.

 

Forward Pocket.

 

Box is that touch of class every team needs. A 45 per year goal kicking on-baller, who also pushes back into defence. Can take a great grab. Is not scared. Is a totally likeable, down to earth bloke. At 21 has won most of all there is in Tasmanian bush and city footy, GF BOGs, League B&Fs, and finally, this summer, has left our club for the Statewide League, as good as Tassie’s got, goddamn it! He tried once before, but was still Under 19s and hated it.

“The Seniors are separate from the rest, so are the Ressies. At a club like ours everybody mixes, there’s nobody better than anybody else. Isn’t that what footy’s about?” he told me.

Bloody oath.

“But don’t you want to see how good you can be?” I asked.

“Sorta, but I’m studying full time and love that, too. Footy is about getting away from that and spending time with my mates.”

Thank Christ! The power of his first two or three steps, his judgement and awareness of big moments won us a few flags. Never, ever went to ground – the true sign of a champion. The way he can take the piss out of himself, and does, won hearts.

Now that he’s playing Statewide, he’s even improving at picking up girls! Great to see him taking the next step, and killing it there too!

45 while on-ball? A higher level of footy would free him up to be one of the best forwards you’ve ever seen. The perfect random, both in and around the 50 as he choses. Let him run hard. Forward Pocket.

 

Full-Forward.

 

Holts is a full-forward. Head to toe. Solid, strong, proud. He was playing at Rochalea when I met him working on the plantation crews. Of fifty desperadoes on piece rates, he was the best worker. Not the fastest, just never stopped. He plays footy the same way.

Leads, doubles back, leads again, doubles back, leads more. There’s no rocket science to how he plays. Reads the line, puts his solid frame out there, leaps, dares them to try and knock him off it.

Holts used to be made to dummy lead for another gun FF. He came down to our club and was told ‘You’re the Man’. And he was and then some. He kicked a hundred, easy, it was our turn to win a flag.

Full-forward is tricky. There are so many good ones. What sets Holts apart, to me, is he trains harder than the on-ballers, cuts a path for rovers when the mark spills, does everything he can to get the most out of what he’s got… and kicks goals. A club man, a team man, a game winner. You can’t ask for more than that.

Every single person at the club, from tough nuts to trainers, thought the world of Holton. That stuff will always get you over the line.

 

Forward Pocket.

 

Sonny Whiting is all silk. A Premiership Statewide forward pocket/flanker. But country boy through-and-through. He would train with them in the city, then, with their witches hats still spinning, be back at our dunny block clubrooms, drinking with the boys he grew up with. Every function, every Thursday night, every time his mob play Friday nights, or Sundays – back with the boys.

He returned as a player for a year. Just to be local. A small, skinny man, he kicked 114 in about 15 games. In one marking drill I set up, I pitted myself against him. He was faster, ran like liquid, a motor so smooth it makes no sound. Skills galore. In marking, I reckoned, I had him.

And I did for five or six, then started putting it on him. Giving him the full, baited raz.

“Okay, then,” he said, and went all steel.

How the hell can you body a person when they leap from so far away, so high? Then when you take that big run-up with him, he uses that speed to get in front of you. If there’s a pack, he marks over everyone. The fucker!

He’ll be back one day. But, then again, he’s never really left. Forward Pocket, keep him fresh with stints on the ball.

 

 

Forward Pocket/Interchange.

 

Brenton Talbert. Seen better players. Was just a kid. One of the most likeable people you could ever meet. Just plain grouse. A forward pocket of the rarest kind, who knew he wasn’t a full forward. Ran to the right places, and started in them, too. Put the forward structure first. But, mostly, in a Big Dance year, they started him on the ground 11 times, in 9 of them he kicked the first goal of the game. You can’t buy that shit in finals.

They started him on the bench in the GF. We lost by a goal. Underrated by almost everyone. In a forward line with a lot of muscle, a starting pocket, easy. Then replace him with Box or Whiting on the rotations. Or leave him if on song.

 

 

 

 

 

Wing.

 

 

 

Alec McLelland is not an on-baller. Too slight for the bash and crash of centre bounces, but, damn, he is the most genuine winger I’ve ever seen. Runs just like Jetta! Exact! Gets the ball, does this stupid little Fred Flintstone leap, and ZIPPP! He breaks lines, and spirits, and is often the deciding factor with just fifteen or so stats.

 

When he takes them on, we all think, “No way…”, but off he goes, even though the bloke is right next to him, and two more waiting just beyond. He runs, he bounces, he arches his back and weaves, always forward, while we, whether we’re watching from the sidelines, or on the field, give that baffled chuckle to each other, chock full of jealousy and awe.

 

He is, without a doubt, the nicest bloke I’ve played footy alongside. Cheeky, generous. Young and young at heart. Not one tag on himself.

 

One game, this big, burly donk gave him shit.

 

“You squibbed that ball,” the bloke growled.

 

“Yeah, mate,” Alec said, scooping up the pill as the pack fumbled it back towards them, then dodged the donk, bouncing it twice along the wing, before dodging another bloke as he cut back into the corridor, bouncing it twice more, then delivering long and deep to full-forward, who kicked the goal.

 

Cop that.

 

Mate, I let the donk know! It was our job to clash heads and give each other splinters. Alec’s was to run, and love life. Job done! Wing.

 

 

 

Centre. (Captain).

 

 

 

Malt was the hardest footballer I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. He was borderline AFL, but, somehow, just, almost, sorta, didn’t quite get there. Nobody at AJAX new why the hell not? After stints at Sandringham, where he slayed it, getting 40 touches every week, and in WA, where no AFL recruiters noticed, he came back to our club. We were down a few divisions. There was no questioning he was a cut above, but what gets him in my team above the countless other “cut-above” players I’ve shared a team with, what stood out, to me, was every other team down in the lower grades tried to kill him. Because he was good, because he was handsome, because he was Jewish. Any one or all of the above. He wore forearms, elbows, king-hits, knees, and every time, every damn single time, he would shake it off and push on as if they were not even there. Not so much as a backward glance. They weren’t worth it. Not a second of it. Neither were pain or fear. He never, ever let it make him hesitate in his attack on the pill. Not once.

 

I remember one game, this skinheaded, sour bloke had it in for him. Double forearms to his head. Down he went, up he got, jogging on towards the pill. Elbow to the head. Down, up and away. I was on the sidelines that day, shouting abuse at the knucklehead with everybody else. Malt just kept on charging, getting kicks.

 

I’ve seen nastier, better fighters, even the stupidly brave, but for shear resolution, for grit and silky class, Malt gets my vote.

 

 

 

Wing.

 

 

Andy was Clifton Hill YCW. All tatts and no teeth and biff. The whole league was like that. His boots only had about three or four stops, but he played like Cunningham. Tough, fast. Mullet spreading as his bashed into opponents without fear, or trailing behind as he cut a path forward. I was just a kid playing seniors, trying to not get my head ripped off by crims, bikies and truck drivers who resented youth. The whole thing was a brilliant, scary education. An adventure that more than once knocked me out. Not that our team were saints.

 

If someone pissed Andy off, he’d go back for a torp with the muddy, leaden ball, and kick it as hard as he could into the head of the man on the mark. A lot of fights seemed to happen around him.

 

He also knew how to pull a fifteen meter penalty. When he went to pick up the ball at the man on the mark’s feet, he’d bump into them and throw himself back, wailing as if kneed in the head! Then, when he was standing a mark, and the opposition would try to switch rolls, they would bump into him while picking up the ball at his feet, and, before they could throw their head back, he’d double over, as if shouldered in the nuts. Kick reversed.

 

Every team needs some colour.

 

The whole comp was for the forgotten, the dinosaurs. Woollen jumpers and old school ways. I can’t even remember his last name, but Andy both belonged and stood out.

 

 

You nominations?

 

 ….and here’s last week’s instalment: Matt’s backmen.

It ain’t all AFL.

There are Champions out there. With stories attached. Having played the game at many levels, across many leagues and three states, for 30 years, here is my all-time team. And would love to hear about your non-AFL Champs!

 

My team, in hindsight, has a lot of the Swans about it. Toughness over flair. Balance over individuals. Unlike the AFL’s All Australian squad, it is a TEAM. Lots of leadership. I’m happy about that.

 

It is important to note: a few of them are not necessarily the best I’ve ever seen in ability for their position, but who left the biggest mark. The best for their club, at that time. Character counts. These things count.

 

Once you’ve read, share your players, your stories, please. Remember, though, this will be done in stages. This week, tell us about your greatest backmen, and why.

 

Backline.

 

Back Pocket.

 

Johnny Kanis, from Uni Blues (yes, I played there even though I never went to university), and I were a total personality clash. As much as you could get. But credit where it’s due. Damn he could weave, handball, get around a bloke. No-one could lay a damn finger on him! Even at training. When we did an eight group kamikaze handball drill off only three steps, somehow, he’d get through untouched. Every time. Same on the field.

   He must have been close to AFL at some stage. Back pocket. Could play.

 

Full-Back.

 

“Doggy” Middleton was a solid bloke who could run fast. In straight lines, usually. He was very Otway Districts. Totally down to earth, blue-collar country man who could fight, but never snarled, never started. He was tough, determined to not be beaten, just lacking that bit of flair that good forwards are made of.

   I remember one year, he was leading the vote count in the seniors until half way through, from which point he smashed the votes in the reserves. Combine the two, he won easy! The coaches insisted he was too slow, but form is form. We were all a bit perplexed by that. Full Back.

 

Back Pocket.

 

Grant Budge was my hero. The toughest bloke I have ever played alongside, or against. This half-cut, mellow-eyed tripper with the most slothful, non-aggressive, likeable grin, was just so damn hard on the field. Average height, average build, any big donk was serving it up to our little blokes, and WHACK! No fight-picker, ever, but when he was in the team no-one was ever, ever afraid. He took to being a defender with the exact same grit. Would wear all sorts of hits just to get a touch on, take on monsters at full back, hammer and claw, match pacey forward flankers, charge into packs. I remember one Grand Final, in the pouring rain, playing Full-Back, hopelessly outsized, the ball came in over his head, his opponent muscling him out. Budge smacked into the man as hard as he could, throwing himself back on the recoil, full stretch, through the air, with every damn thing he had, getting, literally, a fingertip to the pill just as it skidded through the mud for a sure goal. His team won by a point.

   Only bloke to ever play at 4 clubs in the CDFL and win four flags. Budge didn’t chase Premierships, they followed him. Back pocket.

 

Back Flank.

 

Chris Hall was the opposite of your typical Otway player. Myself included. Articulate, smart, long blond hair, headband, he came to our club with about five other Ballarat uni boys, as a bit of an adventure, and stayed. The others were handy at such a small club, good blokes, for sure, but uni boys. Chris was always smiling, never judging. Every bloody person loved him. The loggers, the bitter old duffs, the kids. At a straight-ahead, bash-and-crash club, he always looked for the switch, or ran for it, his blond hair catching our peripheral vision. He swooped around back for the hands. Chris played modern footy until we all did. He opened the vision of a club. Slow as a wet week, it didn’t matter a damn.

   When he got his degree he went off to work in Africa, then Asia. I think he’s now in England. A man about town. Friend to all nationalities, even mountain footy clubs. What a champion! Back flank.

 

Centre-Half-Back.

 

Dags Enright was taller than me, maybe 6’4”, but was suited better to CHB at Otway. Not scared of a biff, or a gun opponent, or the scores. Not scared of anything. He was, I reckon, your perfect CHB. Honest. Head-to-toe. Knew when to mark, when to punch. Was strong, without being overweight. Landed on his feet. Could be thrown into the ruck, CHF, FF, as a genuine option.

   He once clipped a drugo with brittle bones. Just a jab or two to get the man out of his face. The drugo then told everyone his head was caved in. It made all the back pages. Darren got 20 weeks. The drugo was full of shit and played after missing one game. That’s how it was told to me, anyway. It finished Dags as a player. So what? CHB.

 

Half Back.

 

Jake “Mus” Tuckerman is the ratbag cousin everybody wants. As a mate, at their club. A perfect 6 foot rebounder who can play on ball, wing or in attack. On talls or smalls. Always lands running. Always does extra, 12 months of the year, always fit. Always letting off the fire hydrant, or siren, at functions. Always on the move. I love the bloke!

   The second of four Tassie brothers at Lilydale, in NE Tasmania, you’d think it’s all fun and games until you see him train, until you see him play. He got up from being knocked out and WON last year’s flag when we were the rank outsiders. 35 touches while concussed. Was everywhere. Silky, and loves work. Living proof that pride and commitment can still have fun. Total Aussie prankster! Blokes like that keep a club alive. HBF.

 

Who are your legendary backmen?

  

Comments

  1. Michael Smith (Balwyn) was the hardest man I ever played alongside and one who made you play a foot taller. He was a half-back flank not of his era – a man who you would back to be good with his fists anda man who understood how life worked, particularly compared to some of the amateurs I played against who took yoga and trips to India to allay their confusion about the meaning of life. He was also Neil Finn’s accountant.

  2. The best footballer I came across in the old Footscray District League was Barry Priest. He played for Braybrook, and I will always remember the time he hand-balled me a sherrin. I was boundary umpiring at the time and the moment he made contact with the ball, my minds eye took a little snap shot and framed him in a footy card. His talent was such that everything he did triggered footy card snap shots … I mean the man was just poetry. Barry probably didn’t make it coz he lacked a yard, but in the old FDL, where the yard didn’t stymie him, he had the presence of a Garry Ablett. He was really something.

  3. I played alongside a bloke named Larry Turnley.
    In the 80′s, he did pre-season stints with both Collingwood and Hawthorn. Unfortunately, he injured himself both times, including ripping his pelvic muscles off the bone. I believe he went west and played in the WAFL before returning to Melbourne and having a run with our club for a couple of seasons. A couple of inches shy of six foot, he was all muscle and sinew, and would regularly split packs apart as a matter of course. He was also highly skilled, and could kick goals for the centre of the Fearon Reserve if the wind was right.

    T Bone, Barry Priest must have been some player, as the WRFL B & F is
    called the Barry Priest Medal.

  4. Hey Smokie. That is a wonderfully pleasant surprise. I had no idea that he was honored that way. Thoroughly deserved. Barry Priest was magical.

  5. At Adelaide Lutheran FC Shane Munchenberg had a touch of the Bruce Doulls about him. Slightly shorter, skinnier, and with much redder hair, this son of a butcher from Angaston had beautiful poise, could read it and brought blokes around him into the game. When he was 17 and I was 22 he beat me in 10 out of 10 contests at training. As the ball was bobbling in I was left wondering how this skinny kid had managed to get me a yard off the line and falling all over the place. Such timing and skill.

    Others there included Dudley Liebelt (beautiful hands) a 6’3” ruckman who held his own against the monsters. If it was in the air and he was in the area he was a very good chance of marking it. A bit of Ken Hunter married to a bit of Chris Mew.

    I have no recollection of a standout player in the University of Queensland Red Lions seconds who played in the SQAFA. (refer Murray Bird’s piece in Footy Town)

  6. Otway Districts the only ground where it rains every week. Country Footy at its best!
    Byron Boz Mathieson from Winchelsea is a menace off field to teammates but solid as a rock on field having to uphold the backline during many beltings over the past 7 years. Always manages to make a contest and make a spoil in freakshow fashion.
    Great write up Zurbs.
    No doubt Sammy Harriot will be in your team there somewhere?

  7. Feathers says:

    Turbo, glad its you picking the team, Adam stannard was always a reliable defender and rarely beaten. Could play short or tall and threw himself around like the rubber man. Other notables, Darryl Black and Lorne had a couple back in the day, Johno Morgan? Shrimp Bruar cos he was around forecer abd damn honest

  8. Shrimp brauer back pocket could have been on ball but his risilience and smarts was very much needed as a strong back 6, Lincoln Thompson nicknamed ” “blanket” was part of a strong bell park back 6 and was always given task of stopping the best small fwd week to week. My best backman who always danced the line of going to far could get in guys heads was built like a stick insect he rebounded like a flanker,punched like key position,would never give up, hated by opposition people still shudder when his name comes up. Virgil Morrow 4 time premiership player too boot.

  9. Matt Zurbo says:

    Virg Morrow! The most likeable hated man in the history of country footy!! What a champion – player and bloke! I am barely worthy to mention his name!

    Shrimp was great, and yeah, Feathers, I remember Johno Morgan. He almost got the nod. I was a massive fan of his, but couldn’t admit it at the time because he played for Lorne! Haha! Damn, he could not just stop, but rebound. So attacking. Justin Robins was another unlucky to miss out.

    Fair chance, Cocko.

  10. Matt Zurbo says:

    T-Bone, that’s a corker little tribute, mate! Any footy card of me will be taken at the bar!

  11. Matt Zurbo says:

    Litza, you should write detective novels. What a twist at the end! Want to meet him.

  12. That backline of the Otway Districts in the early 2000s did have its fair share of characters (Justin Robbins must have been stiff to miss?!) – but as you say – no superstars amongst it, just 6 blokes working hard together, towards a common goal.

    Actually, the same goes for the whole bloody team!

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the team Turbo!

  13. Thanks for the inclusion Matt. Fondly remember the drives through the Otways on our away games in the old white ford panel van.
    You were absolutely superb in getting me home safely after a Saturday evening drinking session on the way home from the footy.
    Good onya mate keep up the good work, looking forward to see the rest of the team listed.

  14. I played on Jonny Kanis in one of my first senior games and was instructed to take him as wide as I could and keep him out of the play

  15. Matt Zurbo says:

    Don’t doubt it for a second, JK. How did you fair?

  16. David Tanis + Mark oxnam best and fairest winners and premiership players both centreman, both with opposing naturally blessed quality football prowess. CJ (Tanis) nicknamed from his old mans trade, was without doubt the classiest footballer I’ve ever played with. His timing his running of the angles to link the back lines endeavors to the forward line and then he had an edge no one could touch him match winner who oozed class. Ox was the total opposite a blue collar grit ruthless gentleman. Not blessed with the same skill but he never gave up would attack as hard at the first siren until the last. Head over the ball and would chase contest to contest. Rover like but he always contested and held the centre as his own.
    Lovin it Zurbs

  17. Matt Zurbo says:

    “blue collar grit ruthless gentleman” Perfect, Perma, and very true. The fact he was such a top bloke was a real bonus. CJ was the unluckiest of all to miss my team. You should do one of the Bay.

  18. SIR Alan Hoffman (ff), Michael CouttsCHF, Cameron Tate(Hf) , Ian TomkinsFP, Chris Noy HF, ali reynolds fp. Everyone loves a forward.
    You go thru these 6 not very much liked by opposition but that was due to the swags of goals and natural ability to make opponents look second rate all fantastic finishers rarely beaten in their positions.
    i love the Brenton Talbot inclusion Zurbs

  19. Matt Zurbo says:

    Michael Couts was one of the best players I have ever seen, even though he played for the dreadded Lorne! Haha. One time Mark Shortis and I tried to take him out in a marking contest. We all flew, the two of us went hard. Couts landed on his feet, his back vertical to the ground, somehow, with thoise trunk like legs, rather than fall, he simply tensed and straightened, grabbing the ball as it bounced off the deck, and played on. Will never forget it. Just would not go to ground! Always landed running.
    And when he was done, coached. And when numbers were few bussed the Lorne kids around. Gace back and then some. Wrong team, great man.

  20. Malby Dangles says:

    Great piece Matty. This team would be great to watch

  21. Matty, I remember my first senior game against Mazenod at Albert Park in 1993. I was 17 years old and fresh out of the Under 16s.
    I was watching the magoos and Peter Goetz came to sit next to me on the wooden bench in front of the change rooms. He was so tired and emotional (if you get my drift) that he missed the bench completely and fell on the ground. When he got up he had no idea who I was despite playing 3 practice games with me during the pre-season.
    Come game time I recall us losing by a few goals in a end to end shoot out. Goetzy kicked half a dozen and took three or four mark of the year contenders.
    Malt was clearly the best player I played with. Used to make me look good when he roved to me. He’s probably best known for tackling his own team mate when he played in the WAFL and instructing AJAX to kick the wrong way after he incorrectly thought he won the toss at North Old Boys.

  22. Matt Zurbo says:

    Jason! And I remember you as a great servent of the AJAX footy club! If you know how, can you see that Leon gets to see this!

    That is such a Goetz story!! Hahaha!

  23. Feathers without doubt most influential person on a footy ground. On ya Feathers

  24. Luke Reynolds says:

    I was playing Under 18′s for Camperdown when Pete Featherstone was playing Seniors for them. (I think he was there for only one year?) Brilliant, dominating ruckman at Hampden league level. Was the best ruckman in the Hampden league that season.

    A year or two later was playing for South Purrumbete against Otway aty Gellibrand and was given the task of tagging Sam Harriot. Was moved off him before quarter time. He destroyed us that day, kicked 10 goals playing in the midfield. A hard, tough but extremely skilled opponent.

    Enjoyed reading your team Matt.

  25. Matt Zurbo says:

    Great stories! Cheers, Luke.

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Adelaide University FC had Andrew Mad Dog Muir 5 Times B and F 5 times 2nd
    All Aust Amateur Captain hard at the ball and at the body
    Egils Inches Galatvian Warhead Exocet Missile Touches Olekalns a clever elusive
    Rover in the 70s and early 80s
    The Late QC Paul Rofe a tough as nails Ruck Rover CHF who knocked back numerous approaches from SANFL Clubs and after dominating a Amateur League Carnival was approached by Richmond but preferred to concentrate on The Legal World
    For a side like this you would need a man to attack the Bar and Tap the Keg of course you could not go past BOB NEIL

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