By Wayde Petersen
Detlef Petersen, receiving his Panton Hill Football League Best & Fairest Trophy from then Plenty Rovers Football Club president, Sandy Brock before the Grand Final at Whittlesea 1963.
The Plenty Rovers Football Club dates back to the formation of the South Yan Yean Football Club in 1891. South Yan Yean became Mernda Football Club before World War 1 and then Plenty Rovers in 1932. Since 1965 the club has been known as Mernda.
Detlef Petersen was a cousin of my father George. Dad joined the club as a 12 year old in 1960 playing the Under 17s. Together they played in the Plenty Rovers Under 17 1963 premiership team. That’s Dad in the back row, 5th from the right. (And there’s Detlef, second from left in the middle row.)
When Dad passed away in 2006, the Mernda Football Club named the George Petersen Legends Award to honour those who have gone above and beyond in the service of the club. Only one person per year is honoured as a “Legend” of the club, such is the esteem that my dad is held.
This Saturday, 23 August, Mernda plays it last game at its Schotter Street ground, against long-time rivals Panton Hill. Next year the club moves to new premises on the Woodlands Waters Estate.
The Mernda Recreation Reserve may look to untrained eyes like a ramshackle collection of old portables, add-on buildings (including the old Mernda Railway Station Masters Building), an ancient scoreboard and a ground that turns into mush at the first sign of rain, but I will be sad to see the home of the mighty Mernda Demons Football, Netball & Cricket Clubs become just another block of McMansions, because it is here where I began my life long love affair with our indigenous game.
Pop along on Saturday if you’re in the area. Going to be a big day.