1971 SANFL Mobil Cards – Part 1: Central District

 

1964, 1965, 1971 – no, these weren’t the years that Lindsay Head won his three Magarey Medals, nor Bob Skilton’s Brownlow triple or even 75% of Bill Walker’s Sandover haul. For collectors of footy memorabilia, they were the years that Mobil produced its series of Footy Photo albums for each of the SANFL, WAFL and VFL. The Vics also had a series in 1966 too, consisting of on the field action shots rather than the posed versions of other years – even the NSW and Brisbane Rugby League comps got a jersey in 1971.

 

Still highly sought after, these albums were available from your local servo for a small sum ($0.40 in 1971), to be filled with the forty large glossy shots that you could pick up one at a time (for free) at each visit.

 

There’s a story behind each of these cards, which I’ll bring to you, club by club, over the next few weeks, starting with Centrals.

 

1971 was the year that Centrals made its first final four appearance, knocking over Sturt in the First-Semi, bringing the Blues’ run of five flags to an unexpected halt. It took a barnstorming finish to the season for the Bulldogs to qualify for springtime footy after an ordinary start under coach Denis Jones.

 

10          Dean Farnham  Central District (20, 6ft 9 1/2ins, 18st 7lb)

 

 

Dean Farnham came up through the Centrals junior ranks, arriving at a time when many ruckmen were half a foot shorter and a couple of stone lighter. The vast acreage of his home ground, Elizabeth Oval, wasn’t exactly suited to his enormous frame, but he usually gave his rovers Mulholland and Norsworthy first use of the ball. Often choosing deft palms rather than the brutal thumps that his size advantage could have produced, Farnham was a lumber-up start for the State Squad most years.

 

The photographer curiously insisted on this awkward left-handed handball pose when all Centrals barrackers knew that Deano reflexively dished off with his right. He wasn’t a great kick, but in his defence, the ball had a bit of a journey between his right hand and his right size 14 slipper, so there was a bit of time for something to go wrong.

 

A textbook ball-drop from Australia’s largest footballer of his time.

Farnham was again prominent under new captain-coach Tony Casserly in 1972 once he returned from a knee injury. In 1973’s game against Victoria, he played the best of his three state games in a narrow loss where he played alongside fellow Bulldog Mobil man Sonny Morey. A rare Farnham goal deep into the last quarter capped off a huge game (against Gary Dempsey and Len Thompson) from the huge man.

 

Giving the VFL a crack, he was a regular selection for Fitzroy in 1974 before injury saw him miss a couple of mid-season months. He strung together nine more losing games to finish his first season with fifteen games.

 

Picked in Round 1 of 1975, more knee problems (those poor knees) restricted him to only one more game after that and the big fella’s footy days were abruptly numbered.

 

Playing Career

Central District 1968-73, 80 games/22 goals

Fitzroy 1974-75, 17 games/4 goals

South Australia, 3 games

 

20          Peter Nicks         Central District (23, 6ft, 11st 7lb)

 

Hailing from Woodville High and the Salisbury Football Club, Peter Nicks was named 1971 vice-captain in only his third senior year at Centrals. He won the club’s Most Improved in 1969, and was selected in the 1970 Advertiser Team of The Year (and was Central’s Best Club Man).

 

Nicks and Sonny Morey were selected to play for a South Australian 18 in a match against NSW in 1969. It was the curtain-raiser for a Collingwood v Melbourne exhibition match played at the SCG in June 1969. The following year, Nicks returned to Sydney with Tony Casserly to conduct a very successful series of coaching clinics.

 

A rebounding and penetrating half-back flanker, proudly wearing #29, Nicks wasn’t afraid to leap high for either a mark or a spoil. His 1971 finals series saw him arrive as a highly respected competitor.

 

His preference for long attacking screw punts was captured on this card, as he gripped the Lyrebird Pennant Match II perfectly.

 

Peter Nicks characteristically outleaps Dean Farnham and Port’s Leon Milde at Elizabeth Oval

Rarely playing a bad game, the brilliant and durable Nicks was a twenty games per season player until he finished in mid-1978, sporting prominent white anklets for most of his career.

 

Nicks was the third Centrals player to achieve Playing Life Membership of the club and like Port’s Darrell Cahill, he was an A Grade Pennant Golfer.

 

Playing Career

Central District 1968-78, 186 games/17 goals

 

30          Sonny Morey     Central District (26, 5ft 10in, 13st)

 

 

Born at Yambah Station near Alice Springs and removed from his family aged 8, Sonny Morey lived at St Francis House in Semaphore before being fostered by a Gawler family. He played his junior footy at Gawler Central with future Central District teammates Lyndon Andrews and Richard Davis.

 

A member of Centrals first team in 1964, Morey had an up and down career by the time he made his second Mobil card appearance in 1971. Playing as a tight checking wingman, Sonny was the Bulldogs B&F in 1970 in a side that was edging towards finals success. He had been awarded Best Clubman in 1967.

 

His 1971 form was mixed and he was out of the senior side come finals time, playing a key role under coach Gary Window in the Reserves premiership. Switching to the back pocket in 1972 (replacing Julian Swinstead), Sonny flourished under new league coach Tony Casserly to such an extent that he was runner-up to Malcolm Blight in that year’s Magarey Medal and also runner up in the club B&F to Robin Mulholland.

 

Morey rarely wasted a kick and even in this Mobil shot, he looks to be scanning the field for a long passing option to open up the play.

 

He played four times for South Australia in 1973 and 1974, the most memorable being the Croweaters’ four-point loss to Victoria in 1973 where he was high in the best players, minding the resting rovers Leigh Matthews and Wayne Richardson.

 

Another dash downfield, Sonny Morey leaves Peter Nicks and Brenton Miels in his wake.

 

After struggling in 1975, the much-admired Sonny regained a regular league spot in 1976, the season where he became the first Centrals player to play 200 SANFL games (and also the first Indigenous player in the league to do so). That particular game was enormously pleasing for the club and its legion of followers, taking place as it did at Glenelg Oval, a year after the Bays’ famous 49 goal effort against Centrals.

 

When Sonny finished his league career in 1977, he had outlasted fellow 1964 player Mick Daly as the last man standing by six seasons. Centrals paid tribute to this modest clubman by naming the Sonny Morey Lounge in his honour.

 

Sonny Morey – what a story.

 

Playing Career

Central District 1964-77, 213 games/28 goals

South Australia, 4 games

 

39          Tony Casserly    Central District (26, 6ft 1/2 in, 12st 10lb)

 

East Fremantle’s Tony Casserly was effectively swapped for Centrals 1968 League top goal kicker Rick Vidovich when he came across in 1970. With eight WAFL seasons and the 1965 flag under his belt, the class that TC had shown over his 152 games (plus 10 state games) was just what coach Jones needed at Elizabeth. His ownership of the little deli (TC’s) at the back of the Elizabeth South shops was a delight to the Cobber and Clinker loving kids of the neighbourhood.

 

As newly appointed captain, Casserly appeared in his third Mobil series, one of the very rare times that this was done across two states. His unusual drop punt grip was probably reserved for short range shots at goal. His 1971 season was typically excellent, snagging a spot on the bench for the Advertiser Team of the Year as the Doggies’ only representative.

 

A graceful mover, Casserly was your typical ruck rover type, getting to many contests, using either sweeping or laser beam handballs as well as his long piercing kicks. He gained the first ever touch on Football Park, thanks to his well-timed third man up leap at Robin Bennett’s initial centre bounce against North in 1974.

 

Denis Jones’ departure for WA in 1972 allowed Casserly to take over as Captain-Coach, and Centrals’ again made the four (this time easily), brushing aside Norwood in the First Semi, but faltering against Port (again) in the Prelim.

 

Tony Casserly being closely shadowed South’s Bill Bennett at Adelaide Oval in 1974.

 

Two more seasons with joint responsibilities didn’t dim Casserly’s form as a player (he was picked twice for SA in 1974) but Centrals finished mid-table in 1973 and 1974.

 

Still coach in 1975, after initially standing down as a player, he pulled on the boots for a handful of games in what was a forgettable final season at the Ponderosa.

 

TC remained a loved and respected figure at the club and in the northern suburbs until his recent passing, building up a sizeable real estate firm with his buddy and Centrals runner Barry Mitchell.

 

Playing Career

East Fremantle, 1962-69, 152 games/126 goals

Western Australia, 10 games

Central District, 1970-75, 101 games/60 goals

South Australia, 2 games

 

To read all parts in the 1971 SANFL Mobil Footy Cards Series click Here

 

 

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. Gordon Tansey says

    The Dean Farnham card brings back memories. When he came to play for Fitzroy, he lived in our street. One day when we were playing our usual game of footy on the road with a vinyl footy, when Dean stopped his car ( at 6’9” almost caused a solar eclipse) and opened the boot – handing us a new Sunicrust leather footy! Always remembered this!

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Magnificent looking cards Swish. Did you still have yours or did you need to buy them again?

    Sonny Morey- what a story, reckon I’ve heard that in a song.

  3. Rulebook says

    Great stuff,Swish I always thought,Peter Nicks was underrated,Morey and Casserly both fantastic players immense respect and back then,Dean Farnham was a bloody giant ( article seems to have been reasonably popular on Facebook today )

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Lucky he didn’t shake your hand Gordon

    I’ve restarted the in real life collection Luke, I’ve only snagged TC so far.

    Thanks ‘Book, the Norwood foursome should take off.

  5. Sonny Morey was my coach once upon a time. Great bloke and role model! Still think about him regularly 30 years later – wish I’d come across him earlier in life!

  6. The Sonny Morey Lounge. Love it.
    Looking forward to following this series, Swishter.

  7. As always Swish, you had me at Beefy Andrews.

  8. Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt says

    Thanks Jeremy, I’ve never met Sonny personally, but I’ve only ever heard good things.

    Drop in next time you’re in Goodman Rd, Smokie.

    HB: Nicks, Andrews, Kevin Johns – impassible Mickey

  9. Daryl Schramm says

    Richard Davis. Principal at St Paul Lutheran Primary School Enfield in the mid/late nineties. My boys went there. Lived at Williamstown. Have no idea of his whereabouts now. Rick Vidovich I umpired once in Pirie while he was playing for Props. Now a fellow member of Penfield Golf Club. Late sixties was the the start of my ‘awareness’ on these things. Remember the two 1st semi finals the dogs were involved in. I was there.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks DS – Centrals had a string of teachers around that time, including Davis, Andrews, Richard Cochrane, David Saywell, Bob Edmonds, John Spaans, Trevor Stanton – there have been others since including Stephen Schwerdt and Mickey Randall’s boss Neil McGoran.

    This piece grew legs too:

    https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/please-sir-schoolteacher-footy-players/

    Penfield GC seems to be a Who’s Who of the sporting world. Say g’day to Mark Bishop next time you meet.

  11. Terrific stuff Swish. Reckon I once had all 3 books, but doubt they were complete. Remember when Dad filled up getting him to cadge the Mobil operator for extra cards. They came in sealed envelopes. Were they anonymised like Coca Cola caps and Scanlens gum? Did Fanta and Leed lemonade have footballers or only Coke?
    Can’t wait for Bobby Gibson.
    Had forgotten Peter Nicks but he was a wonderful player. Casserley and Haughan were as good a ruck rover combination as Bagshaw and Murphy at Sturt.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks PB

    I think I had the entire set of Coke caps, but it was a bit unwieldy and didn’t survive one of Mum’s bedroom cleanouts.

    No Bobby Gibson in the 1971 series but I’ve got a spare 1965 if you want it. Otherwise you can make do with the heavily bearded Bob Wildy.

    TC and Cracker – Centrals did well out of the West.

  13. Colin Uern says

    Nicks had a booming drop kick….Sonny was one of the best back pocket players I’ve seen and I rebuilt a Mark1 Cortina owned by Dean Farnham for John Duckworth..The drivers seat was set back hard against the rear seat to accomodate the giant of a man..

  14. Nice read and a fine photo collection, Swish. Sonny Morey became my first footy hero when he came to coach at our school.

    Casserly’s ball drop was also used by Flinders Park’s Mick Kenny. It got good coverage on Channel 9’s SAFA match of the day. I wonder if you could get SAFA footy cards.

    Mobil were certainly on it. All Caltex could come up with were stickers.

  15. Great coverage Swisch. I remember in 69 in the first assembly of the ag science students. The lecture theatre was a a sloping affair and everyone got to check you out when you made the entre. In walked man hillock jock Macfarlane. Then the man mountain entered-Dean Farnham. that quieted things down. He was quiet and worked hard. We quizzed him on Monday for any vignettes but he didn’t say much but a lovely bloke
    I noticed Sonny Morey replaced Julian swinstead in the back pocket as he had a new lease of footy life under tony Casserly.
    Did Julian ever get back into centrals As again? I’ve just sent a Facebook friend request to Julian do might have a few more stories.

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Nank, Swinstead made two returns, his playing years were 1967-71, 75-76 (regaining Sonny’s back pocket for a while), 78-79 for 107 games. There’s a great feature on the merits of his ballet dancing in the Centrals 50 year history book. My first footy jumper was a Centrals lace-up (in the Footscray style) with his #7 on the back.

    Farnham’s first knee injury needed a kneecap removal.

  17. Julian’s ballet dancing must have been extra curricular. They didn’t go in for that type of thing at pulteney. His mum might have got him into it. Father brought up all those kids Dallas was a bit older and self sufficient but Julian and Dennis needed supervision. Elizabeth to south tce every day. And footy practice. Tuesday and Thursday nights. That’s a fair commitment. Julian was a cadet reporter at tiser Dallas was a senior journo at around 68

  18. Daryl Schramm says

    G’day Swish. Just came across your return comment. A lot of names in the 2016 series. Good to see the SA references there. In ’73 I went to Norwood High from Hackney High. Bob Scholfield had been there for a few years teaching and transferred to the Education Dept in town a couple of weeks after the school year started. Umpired my first few senior games with him nine years later.

  19. Harry Butler says

    Thanks for the nostalgia Swish. I went through primary school without any skin on my thumb joint through scratching the cork out of Coke SANFL bottle tops clawed out of the Coke machine bottle opener in the deli on the way to school. Speaking of Sonny Morey reminds me of a friend and Centrals supporter who always complained about the dogs being teased as a bunch of Poms. He always reckoned that with their indigenous players they were the most authentically Aussie team in the comp!

  20. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for that DS

    Good to hear from you Harry (say g’day to Dart and Herbie). I was similarly fortunate with Ross Aviation’s Coke machine at Parafield in 1968.

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