My Footy Recollections

Tim Harcourt Woody Woodpecker

Brenton 'Nose' Eckert admires the 1986 Premiership Shield (boots not yet burnt)

Brenton ‘Nose’ Eckert admires the 1986 Premiership Shield (boots not yet burnt)


(This article was originally published in September 2014)

I have what both my life insurance and superannuation providers like to call a “terminal medical condition”. This means unless there is divine intervention, I’ll be shuffling off this mortal coil sometime in the next few months. And given I’m a card carrying atheist, I’m not expecting any help from someone’s imaginary friend. As time ticks by and I get nearer to my expiry date, I find myself pondering life’s important questions – and the question that has me stumped is what will happen to my collection of footy memories?

My footy memories – there are thousands, poorly catalogued, but surely worthy of saving?

Every time we made it to the “big smoke” Dad made sure of 2 things – a trip to Motley and Greer, and going to a real league footy game. M&G was fantastic, with footy paraphernalia everywhere; it is where I saw my first Woodpecker logo and fell in love with it in an instant.

Dad was a footy purist who followed no team, or if he did, kept it very quiet. He’d decide on the game of the day, or select an obscure game for reasons he’d explain later. One of my first SANFL games was a clash between two ordinary teams in West Torrens and West Adelaide, with Dad explaining that I had just seen the states best ever footballer, Lindsay Head, play. My first Grand Final was in 1970,  with Dad waking me at sparrows in order to catch the first bus to Adelaide Oval. Standing for hours in the rain at that GF wishing I was home, that is until Dizzy Raymond’s brilliant one hand pick ups right in front of our position on the wing. Being taken to Alberton in ’71 or ’72 just to see Barrie Robran, or as Dad put it, the best footballer in Australia, play. Thanks Dad for being the vehicle for these early memories.

Where were you when Woodville half back flanker, Ken Crane, booted two goals in The Peckers draw against Port? Or when brave Buff Tyrell kicked the sealer in our first ever win against the Wharfies. Or when Malcolm Blight played his first game back with Woodville after his sojourn with North Melbourne. I know where I was – Oval Avenue! These were the good times, however I was also there for 20 goal floggings, along with Singer Edwards & Ernie. Together we endured 9 wooden spoons in our 28 seasons. I hated the year Port played their home games at Adelaide Oval when Alberton was considered unfit for humans. Why? Because their supporters were all over the train celebrating another win as I boarded at Woody Park resplendent in my green and gold scarfe. “How’d you go” I was always asked. After weeks of losses I finally snapped and replied with a “how do you fucken reckon?” which was met with much jocularity. I wouldn’t swap my Woodville memories for quids.

My own career, starting at St Leonard’s Primary School in Grade 6, and playing alongside the Williams twins, Anthony and Mark. Going through the season undefeated for Risdon Park Primary in Grade 7 until the GF on a very windy day. 1 goal 11 behinds gets beaten by 3 goals 1 every time. Three seasons for the mighty Port Bulldogs in Pirie, graduating from 20th man to back flank to the wing. Somewhere in there is a SAPSASA carnival played on boggy Railway Oval and a billet family that refused to wash my gear and believed in only one shower per week! Necessity became the mother of invention on that trip!

High School footy with Henley High alongside future league players David Drew and Dirk De Jong. Being told to play a defensive role on Wayne Slattery when I was lining up at CHF! Winning the State High School Championship by one point against a Norwood High team stacked with league players.

Playing in the Ammos for the Blacks. My first year as an A7 player in the same team as The legendary Bob Neil – and Yes, his shorts were grey back in ’77. My first ever training at Beautiful Uni Oval, where it took me 10 minutes to change, and another hour checking out the team pictures adorning the change room walls. Being invited to train with the A’s the following year and making my A1 debut vs Payneham about half way through the year. It was one of those games where the ball just followed me. Every bounce of the ball favoured me, and even jagged the Goal of the Day and a dodgy bottle of red with left footer from about 40 out. Next week I learnt A1 was not always this easy registering a triple donut – 0 kicks, 0 marks, 0 handballs, did recall one smother – if you call copping a waterlogged ball to the face on a freezing cold day a smother!

The late 70’s were great. Have a kick with the Blacks on a Saturday, then on Sunday head to someone’s place to watch the VFL Replay, then a SAFA game with Garry Window commentating.

In 1980 Chocka entered the club and things were turned on its head. Nicknames and Hold Your Bowlies were instantly successful. Birdshit Haines and Big Hairy Willy were standouts, although I notice a “Gaping Wet” Cundy doing the rounds at the moment, which is also right up there.

Pre season trips to Loxton and Melbourne degenerated into marathon drinking sessions that negated the hard work of the pre-season. End of Season trips – none better than the “flight from hell” to Port Lincoln, where Egils “The Regurgitator” Olekalns managed to show his very green face, where we fleeced the bookies at the local races and Chocka discovered the TAB courtesy of Woodville legend Max Parker.

There are games that just stick in your head for some reason. One at Kilburn when their back flanker was caught by friendly fire and stretchered off just minutes into the game. Ten minutes later their full forward goes down with the worst injury I’ve ever seen – a broken ankle – with the bone having penetrated both skin and sock. He too gets stretchered off. Then comes the voice from the mound “C’mon Kilburn, we’re down two players – even it up!”

I always liked playing at Riverside and Rosewater. Rivvies with the communal shower and hilarious comments. I can recall a day of avoiding elbows and swinging arms from Fiji Sierikowsi and Vinny Librandi at Riverside. Next day I found myself filling in for my brothers Christian Youth League (or something similar) side, and copping a verbal barrage from both sides after dishing out an “enthusiastic shepherd”.

Now unlike team mate Jim Katsaros, I have only good memories of Rosewater. Sure, stray fists, elbows, knees, fingers, heads were the norm, but once the final siren sounded and you entered the club rooms for a beer, they were one of the most welcoming clubs around. One game in the 80’s still brings a smile to my face. According to Wetherald Stats I managed just 3 kicks, but 10 marks and about 20 handballs. This on the back of no sleep as I’d just hooked up with a new girlfriend and had been busy making my acquaintance. Maybe memories for a different forum?

Success at the Blacks was regular – most grades made the finals and we usually grabbed at least one flag per year. ’86 the A’s finally broke their drought and I was part of it. There were a couple of standout memories that year, none better than the all in brawl I started alongside Steve Bland during an away game at Broadview. We handled ourselves admirably with well placed headbuts, crisp punches and thoughtfully considered squirrel grips, and were genuinely pleased with our performance, only to be berated by Coach Griff at half time for “stirring them up”. Honestly, you can’t win as a Uni Poof! Many years later I finally saw the GF video and spent the entire game yelling at myself to “keep your feet”.

I’d make the very occasional return to Beautiful University Oval when visiting Adelaide. I even took both of my boys for a tour of the club rooms when they were youngsters. They showed about as much interest as “Young” Maddern showed in tackling, but it was also the birth of my habit of presenting a bottle of dodgy red to the “Best Uni Number 27” to a bemused newer generation. Hopefully the recipients will remember and “pay it forward”. On my most recent, and quite possibly last visit, I was presented with Life Membership to The Greatest Football Club in the World – another lasting memory.

The least said about AFL, the better, but the Fitzroy fan in me is bursting to be let out. (Fitzroy and Woodville I hear you say!). Superboot, Tank Conlan and Skinny Grant Lawrie – out and out champs. 1986 – the Blacks grab a flag and both the Lions and the Peckers (Warriors for you pretend Woodville fans) make the Preliminary Finals. Payback at last!

Nose Jnr began his stint with footy with Auskick. After a couple of years running around doing the various drills, he was ready. He began his footy career in 2003 for the Ferny Grove Falcons here in Brisbane. He obviously inherited his grandfather’s love for footy history as he requested no. 27 – my number – in his first season of under 8’s. Not for the first time did this wonderful game called footy bring tears to my eyes.

Just a snapshot of the many memories trapped in this head, but when I shuffle on, where will they go?


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Nose, thanks for sharing. Keep sharing your stories. The Almanac is a wonderful place to store your football memories.

    Best wishes to you.

  2. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    Thanks Nose loved it and I remember your love of the peckers and the burning of your boots in the middle of Bob Neil 3 after the 86 flag always appreciated your dry sense of humor . Every 1 of us who was at our greys lunch will never forget the presentation by
    Daddsy and your speech when receiving your life membership of the WGFC as emotional occurrence I have been privileged to be at , the spontaneous standing ovation said it all . Brenton Nose Eckert all class thank you

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Nose, I remain saddened to think of your plight (sorry if I’ve picked the wrong word but hope you know what I’m trying to say)

    You’ve jogged a few memories of my own today, not trying to hijack your post, just to illustrate the point about how important memories are, and the need to hand them down and keep them alive.

    Mötley and Greer was Motley and Ebert by the time I found my way there, where I bought a hideous green and white track suit, to match the colours of the Ingle Farm softball club where I was a neophyte coach in the 70s.

    Oval Avenue had nice grass. Saw the Peckers first final in 1979, the Goodingham era.

    SAPSASA carnival 1972, I billeted a kid from Taldra in the Riverland, Ken Fielke (older brother of Grantley). Daily trips into the Railways Oval, a week off school, gee those kids from the Riverland could play.

    Great Young Maddern sledge, I still marvel that he and I, from both ends of the social spectrum, shared in a Blacks flag in 1982.

    Vin Librandi was a couple of years ahead of me at Elizabeth South Primary.

    Visiting Adelaide this weekend, drove past Rosewater Oval today (was married just around the corner from there 30 years ago).

    Somehow I was nominated to train for state high schools team (1975 I think). Fourth training in we were introduced to this new kid, ‘fellas, this is Wayne Slattery, he’ll be your captain’

    Thanks for reminding me of all of these.

    Keep going Nose

  4. peter sharley says

    Nose Eckert #27. Your memories are totally safe will all those around you.
    I do remember feeling genuinely sorry for you when you wore a Peckers scarf. Without zip zap Ralph Sewer they were really hopeless in the 80’s.
    I remember you as a tall, athletic, muscular CHB at the Blacks….Is that how you remember things?
    I also remember wishing I had your skills and wit when talking back to opposition players on the field. As a shy skinny kid on your flank you were the complete package.
    It was truly my privilege to learn the half back football trade from you. However, as thousands of others have over the years at the Blacks I learnt more about good people than football and you are a stand out example of that quality for me. Your University Football life member acceptance speech at the recent long lunch still resonants in my head. That memory is stored and filed by hundreds. The next generation (my son #11 at the Blacks now) saw and heard you on that day and he has filed that memory in his data base for life. I tip my lid to you Nose.
    Peter Sharley #39 HBF

  5. Thankyou for sharing Nose, and it is such sharing that will ensure that all these moments are not lost in time, like tears in rain.

  6. Young Maddern says

    Nose, you are a totally authentic man – untroubled by hubris, unmoved by hype and fashion. A rock when it comes to values your memories will live long with those you created them with. Sustain the spirit.

  7. Brenton – I don’t know you from Adam, but having read this piece and those about you, I have a feeling for the man. Slightly older than you, but also an Adelaide boy, my Nan and Pop took me to see Lindsay Head for the first time in 1962. Love the names you mentioned – particularly the more obscure ones like ‘Dizzy’ Raymond (memory says a skinny wingman – Sturt?) and Grant (also skinny) Lawrie.
    For what it’s worth, as I age and lose parents and friends, I get the sense that the details and specifics die with us, but our essence lives on. Both in the imprint we make on family, friends and colleagues and in the whispers of the breeze that our spirit imparts.
    Go well and thanks for all your sharing.

  8. Michael Kenny says

    Brenton, your memories will be safe my friend, because they are shared by so many people who treasure them almost as much as they treasure you. Whilst I can’t agree with Sharls’ recollection of you as “muscular,” I do recall a terrific footballer whose talent with hand, foot and ball was matched with a razor sharp wit. I recall the 86 GF and you missing a shot for goal from 25 out straight in front, a goal which would have given us the lead with about 5 minutes to go, and how you later characterized it as, “wanting to keep some interest in the game.” I recall you turning around angrily after a punch tackle from behind against the Greeks with every intention of remonstrating and, upon noticing that the tackler was built like Zeus, kissing him instead. (Luke Hodge must have been watching that game!).

    Outstanding memories of an outstanding bloke and true Blacks champion.

  9. Good piece Nose. I wonder what will happen to my memories of Centrals (and Fitzroy) into the future. Trust you’re having fun in HK – speak soon. From another 27.

  10. Enjoyable reading, Nose. Good onya. Just like Swish Schwerdt mentioned, one of my strongest memories from the Blacks comes from my first year – being made feel welcome and part of the club by yourself. It made me feel like I chose the right club. I tried to do a ‘Nose Eckert’ in each of the next 18 seasons that I played. Thanks, mate

  11. Nose just sent me a Woodville woody woodpecker you mascot as I had posted that he was the first genuine Woodville person I had met along with Paul Klaric who introduced the unique venues of bob neill no 1 2 & 3 into the sports pages of the adelaide advertiser

    Nose would appreciate that I the words “c’mon Woodville ” were said to MALCOLM blight when he was commentating on the hawthorn collingwood game in Toronto with papa raschella . You can’t say c’mon the peckers in North America

    Thanks for the Mascot nose / your affection for Woodville shows that you are and always have been a man of integrity

  12. Skip of Skipton says

    Into the Akashic Record. The ‘God’ that Atheists don’t believe in, doesn’t exist. Be sure of that. I hope that comforts you.

  13. Iron Deficient says

    Nose, we haven’t met before but I was lucky enough to attend the Black’s Long Lunch this year to see you receive the Life Membership and hear you and Daddsy speak. Thanks for sharing these memories – hopefully from the comments already posted here you’ll know these tales will not be lost, but carried on by your former-teammates and friends. All the best. Iron Deficient King #114

  14. Thanks for the piece Nose. I remember my first game for the Blacks against Broadview. One of theirs was sent off early on in the game, and as he trudged off very slowly I told him to get a move on. Soon found myself surrounded by a few Broadies, and no Uni mates in sight. Except Echo, who came over to tell me “Woof, you’re playing for the Uni poofs now mate, you’re pretty much on your own”!! Other memory is having a beautiful view of a nice piece of Nose biffo against I think Seaton Ramblers – I tried to block the goal umpires view (unusual for me to be hanging around the goal square), but Nose and opponent both got reported. Followed by long discussions during the rest of the game between Nose and opposing CHF making sure they got their stories straight for the tribunal!

  15. Terrific stuff Nose, thank you.

    By all accounts one of Uni’s true ‘One-Percenters’. 99% quite sensibly lack a nose for the biff, but I love that you relished best the games against the ruffians.

    If I can appropriate a thought from Skip of Skipton above, the ‘Blackashic Record’ is a living, breathing library of a joyous time of life.

    Please tell us more stories, we’ll remember and retell them.

  16. I am coming back from the melbourne grand final with memories of the Swans that i don’t want to keep. Nose,  at least your memories are indelibly imprinted but, more importantly, shared with many who care. They will not be lost. Although we have never met I admire your openness and fortitude. Go well with your friends and family as you play your last quarter.

  17. All power to you Nose …….for following the Peckers through mainly thin times.

    As a Double Blues supporter whose breath was taken aback the first time I visited the postage stamp at Unley to see Ken Whelan soar high, Flash Graham perform miracles and the Jumbo Prince strut his stuff, I always had a soft spot for the Peckers. As a Cleve boy, we were mighty proud in the 70s when Brian Ramsey got the call up to go and play for Woodies – the whole town rode his every kick and mark – alas to no avail in most cases.

    I think we crossed paths during the various Hickinbotham Cups when A1s two poofs teams clashed at beautiful College Oval or in the mud of Blacks home games – the huge post-match magnum of ‘champagne’ (spumante?) was invariably shared between both teams before many more ales at the Dover or Welly reliving match highlights (ie Eggles or Griffs 40+ possessions, Antonello grabs or Hand-on-co*ks hangers)

    Your legacy will live on mate through your actions and your words penned here & at the recent lunch – indelible and enduring.

    Enjoy the journey mate.

    “And the moral of the story is that you don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.” ? John Green

    Damian Leonard

  18. Nose, a really good recount that although they arent my own personal memories feels surprisingly familiar and told with the warm fondness of much enjoyment.
    You standout in my earliest memories of the club as not only a damn fine player but also somene who as a senior player was both a inclusive, engaging and a true gentleman.
    Fond regards

  19. Ahhh, Nose. Distinct memory of that razor wit enduring a battle of, er, wit, with one Alf Bafile…and being disconcerted when playing at some ground (West Croydon maybe?) that meant the cassette (ask your parents, kids) played beyond “Roadhouse Blues”…or throwing dollar fines at Chocka at the Welly – was it my 100th and your 200th? Many memories mate, and all safe with us.

  20. Milton the Monster says

    Nose almost 30 years since the 86 GF but I still remember that game well despite the number of beers that I consumed as a spectator.
    Your speech on receiving Life Membership will be remberrd forever and so much of the tradition that you helped to create in the 70s and 80s is carried on proudly by the current generation of Blacks players.

  21. Dear Brenton,
    As a keen student of Blight, Keynes(x2) and Bloch many of your memories have already undergone the Eckert multiplier effect. Hopefully the progeny of boundary riding great, Geoff Harcourt, can turn this into economic theory.
    You will forever be a member of the IUD (impenetrable university defence).
    Unlike in ’86 when we hit the lead in time-on in the last quarter, you have been a leader and inspiration to so many all through your brutally shortened life.
    Anyway, who needs an imaginary friend when you have Bob and football. Lesser stories have spawned religions and taken longer to cross the planet.
    Your non-mention of the dropkick, last seen in its true form when Sarge still graced the fields, green ginger wine and that ovals once had no lines or hieroglyphs on them except for the boundary and goal square, leads me to hope for more.
    Thinking of you, Chris James

  22. 23 minute mark final quarter 1986 A1 GF. Rivvies up by 10 at Bob Neil #3 having led all day in a low-scoring affair: Eaton squares the ball from deep in the north-western pocket in accordance with master coach Griff’s strictly-enforced team rules. Likewise pursuant to said rules I am plonked at the top of the square. My opponent, ignorant of cunning said team rules, is protecting the goals. The ball lands neatly on my chest. I kick from just 15 metres out, dead in front. Just as well. The ball careens off the outside of my left boot at so close to a right angle it’s not funny, but still manages to sneak through. I pretend it’s all part of the plan. Just another team rule. Phew. That was close.

    24.5 minute mark. Rivvies up by 4: Eckert takes a screaming pack mark 4 deep riding high on shoulders. (Read uncontested simple chest mark in remarkably clear space). He goes back and lines up. He’s 65 out, on an acute angle. (Read 25 out, dead in front). He can literally smell the adoring women lining up to ‘congratulate’ the premiership hero. He can almost taste the frothy free jugs of Bob Neil’s finest on lifetime offer. Or is that taste the adoring women and smell the frothy jugs? Or taste the women and smell their jugs? He’s not sure. Oh no, he’s lost focus. He lopes in, measures the kick and…oh dear. Dear, dear, dear…

    26 minute mark. Rivvies up by 3: the ball comes in long and deep to the south-eastern pocket. A pack forms and is then brutally smashed apart like a Bob Neil stab-pass connecting with a Uni poofter’s coke-bottle lensed, heavily-rimmed glasses, secured by a thick rubber band and masking tape, as Keg Fosterrrrrrr! grabs a huge speccy and then calmly shows how it’s done. The Blacks hit the front for the first time in the match.

    27-30 minutes. Blacks up by 3: Rivvies’ ruckman repeatedly belts the ball out of play over the boundary line. Blacks are incredulous but grateful. Thank you Rivvies’ ruckman, you numbskull.

    30 minute mark. Blacks up by 3: the Bob Neil chant (“Bobby Neil Bobby Neil Bobby Neil….”) makes its public debut, echoing through the vastness of #3, inspiring the good guys to battle to the last against the evil Orcs from deep down in the depths of Port Road.

    31 minute mark. Blacks up by 3: There can’t be more than a minute left. Rivvies get the ball on their back flank. It’s their last roll of the dice. They run, bounce and carry down the eastern wing. 1 bounce, 2, 3, 4…where are we?! They’re going to go all the way! But wait. A blur. NASA Houston throws the switch on the after-burners. He sprints a full 100 metres and, with one final desperate lunge, brings down the would-be Rivvies match-winner. Baaaawwwlllll!

    31.3 minute mark. Blacks up by 3: Blessed. Freakin. Siren. Tears of relief. Overwhelming sense of achievement. Unmitigated joy. A moment in time never to be forgotten. Ever.

    1hr 27 minutes post-siren: Brian still lurking around the showers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Brick Shithouse’s “muscle[s]”. A band of Blacks warriors (“Peckers”?) wanders out to the hallowed turf and sits centre circle, bootless but for Eckert. Eckert holds offending boot and a packet of matches. The rest is history.

    Wonderful memories Nose. All of them. Great Man.

  23. Young Daddsy says

    I’ve just finished my first year playing for the mighty Blacks and met Nose for the first time at the Blacks’ Long Lunch a couple of months ago, having been told repeatedly about his greatness since childhood by both mother and father. Words can’t describe how brilliant his life membership acceptance speech was, but suffice to say that if it had been recorded I would listen to it on a daily basis. It was the most perfect reminder of how lucky we all are to be playing, or to have played football at the World’s Greatest Football Club.

  24. Nose,
    You pose the question “what will happen to my collection of footy memories?”.
    Mate – best I can tell in the words that follow – you’ve done a pretty good shot at ensuring they will endure !
    I’m sorry that I wasn’t at the lunch when you received your life membership but Daddsy’s summary of it made me feel like I was there.
    You’re an essential part of the Black’s family and I hope that your family can sense the respect and care that ensues.
    Thinking of you and your family in the days ahead.
    The Blacks family is with you……

  25. G’day Brenton (I can’t bring myself to call you Nose just yet),

    First, I offer you my congratulations and admiration for your choice to share this story. Well done. I reckon what you’ve done there, in revealing yourself, in showing immense vulnerability, is the very best way to live. Why? Probably because by opening up to others, we invite them in. Other people may feel connected and may share with you. A deeper connection is formed. It’s empathy, I guess. Brene Brown gave a great talk about it here:

    But I’d also like to touch on the idea of your footy memories. And all of these comments that follow your story. Of course no one knows for sure what happens to us after death. But we do know what happens to those still alive. They carry on with their lives. Lives informed and guided and influenced by their experiences. Experiences with other people.

    Yours is the biggest of topics. The most meaningful and the most touching. It has reminded me to live well while I can. (Something that I learnt previously, but can always be reminded about). That, in itself, is a good result from your writing.

    Again, well done Brenton. Good on you and thanks.

  26. Great stories. Great times. Great respect.

  27. Matt Zurbo says

    Nose, you are a champion. Thank you, mate.

  28. Mick Eaton says

    Dear Nose,
    I fronted up to The Blacks in 1981 as a 20 year old, overawed to be playing alongside men and legends. It’s consistent with the comments above that you were a Legend who made me feel welcome at the club. I soon worked it out that the place to stand watching the “1Rees” before the game, was anywhere near you and Stranks, because that was where all the laughs were. I realised that I would have to watch the Gong Show every week to get what you were on about (it seemed only Blacks footballers watched it). You said that once JP MORGONE had flashed her tits on the show, so I kept watching for a repeat, but in vain.
    I kept back copies of Substandard for years, and I remember it was always a big deal when you handed out the latest edition after training.
    I remember Chocka’s three quarter time address late that season, in non-muddy conditions at Beautiful University Oval against lowly St Doms. Scores were pretty close, and we’d been pretty ordinary. We fancied ourselves for the finals, and Chocka was pretty frustrated with us. I remember him exclaiming “HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE UNIVERSITY??!!”, and throwing his hands up in disgust as he turned his back on us and walked away. I was on the outer of the group and missed what was said next, but someone must have said something very funny, because all other Blacks players burst out laughing as we returned to start the last quarter. I laughed too, just to be a part of it.
    I don’t know who cracked the joke, but it couldn’t have been Pebbles Wellington, because I remember he was laughing too hard. I suspect it was you, Nose. You were the spirit of The Blacks and the great motivator of us all.
    The Blacks kicked plenty in that last quarter. I’m pretty sure it was ten.
    My memories of those times are fading, but funnily enough, you feature in most of them.
    Go Well, Nose.
    Mick (Pross) Eaton

  29. Craig (Sarge) Schulz says


    Thanks for sharing those memories!

    I have many happy memories of “The Razorbacks” – the lightest half backline in Amateur League – Sharley, Eckert and Schulz. What you lacked in weight you made up for with wit, loyalty and discretion (I also remember the kiss of the Greek (see Mick Kenny’s post). I only wish I remember more of the remarks – I certainly remember laughing at your interactions with team-mates, opposition players and spectators – no-one was safe or sacred. And as a young skinny kid, I remember feeling safer because you were alongside me.

    I have mostly fond memories of the early editions of ‘Substandard’ (editors – Nose and Steve “Striker” Stranks), although I am still a little damaged by the accusation of wearing a pink lacy undergarment (actually a shearer’s singlet) one miserable day down at the Port somewhere – and this from a bloke who wore long sleeves!

    I remember the hand-knitted jumper ‘competition’ (‘not off the rack’) – yours from Alison’s mother, I believe – I hope it’s still around somewhere …

    Cheers, mate. Thanks for the memories.

    Craig (Sarge) Schulz

  30. Rick Bizz Sarre says

    Nose, I trust that when it comes my time to shuffle off this mortal coil (or this hallowed turfed planet more appropriately) I have just a semblance of your courageous equanimity. My memories of the late 70s are the same as yours, but since my mediocre skills were best displayed in the lower ranks (where I could get a kick) along with the rest of us, including Bobby Neil and Jethro de Boer, we were content to watch you head to the top of the ranks, where you belonged! My fondest memories were of the Sub-Standard, printed on crappy foolscap paper and stapled together hurriedly but which contained many hard laughs and appropriate hyperbole to be enjoyed each Thursday night. My teetotalling ways received more than the odd mention if I recall accurately. These are great memories. Your legacy is inestimable, mate.

  31. Thanks everyone. Your collective memories and anectdotes have brought many a smile to this dial, but none more than Mick Eatons recollection of the Gong Show. I’d completely forgotten about Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and the Unknown Comic. One could pose the qustion “how are these footy memories” but they are. I may be googling Gong Show soon but then again, why spoil a perfect memory?
    One thing we didnt touch on Mick was post training/game shower etiquette. Getting the stance right and senior players in charge of temperature etc. Maybe the next article.
    Substandard. I think Stranksy and self first published in 79 and what fun it was. Writings were a bit risque and generally typed by some sweet young thing in the Sports Association office. Her only comment wss “thats a bit rude”. My mum played golf with another mum of a Black and was asked had she seen that disgusting newsletter the club puts out. My dear old mum proudly stated that her son writes it!
    Sharls, IMS, Leppo, a skinny Darren Graetz all featured in my 200 game photo in a team coached by Young Maddern. Ill have to dig it out again and see what other legends playedvthat game. But IMS you are correct, your 100th, my 200 th and many many jugs “courtesy of the proprietor” that night.

    Thanks again. Im also thinking of a pre xmas visit to Adelaide which will include Fri night pub nigjt somewhere. Call it a wake if you like – the way i look at it whats the point of dying if you cant go to your own wake! You are all invited

  32. Steve Stranks says

    Thanks Nose for those fabulous memories. As a self -confessed dinosaur I do not Tweet or Twitter and only Google if absolutely necessary. However I do Hoover and used to Roneo the pages of Substandard in the Sports Association Office prior to Thursday night training. On this occasion even I am moved to Comment. Nose has always been a unique person whose many fine attributes have been mentioned by many others. The ability to connect with just about anyone is one of the most notable and the responses , even from people he has not met in person, is evident on these pages. I have to say he is also a lot braver than the average uni footballer – this is exemplified by his response to his illness as well as his capacity to take on the opposition physically and mentally (he always won the battles of wit if not the biffo).
    Speaking of The Gong Show – who can forget doing the Worm (particularly Clem on a big night). The Unknown Comic was a dude with a paper bag on his head. His father made a one off appearance – of course his paper bag was very wrinkled. Maybe you had to be there but we certainly enjoyed it at the time.
    I am not sure if the general populace knows the origin of “Nose” – it is not purely his moderately generous hooter. One of our team- mates , Steve Skov, had slotted a quiet ten sausage rolls from a forward pocket in the previous A1 game and the headline in the Football Times that week blared – “Who will stop Skov?” At training on the Thursday night Steve and Brenton had a sickening head to head collision which resulted in mutiple facial fractures and end of career for the former and a badly broken nose for the latter. Hence in the typical caring cultural milieu of the day “Nose ” Eckert was christened. Of course Nose took it on the chin(as well as the nose) and didn’t complain, further enhancing his well earned Legend status.
    Memories of uni footy days are certainly some of my fondest. It is clear that the ethos which we enjoyed so much is still very strong and the connections priceless. The only possession of my father that I keep in my drawer and still treasure the most is his Adelaide Uni footy scarf.
    Hope to see you soon. Nose.

    Steve (Striker) Stranks

  33. Sam Bridgwood says

    Wonderful stuff Nose and not much I can add to those great recollections above. What I can add, however, is that thanks to yourself and Striker Stranks Substandard continues to this very day as you know. It remains a pretty random publication with only three non-negotiables. (1) it can not be serious nor include detailed match reports that focus on the game (no-one is interested in those), (2) it must be inappropriate, at least so far as one can be in this PC world we live in and (3) it must be the complete opposite of any other footy club newsletter on the planet. All of which was started by you guys and carried on by the likes of Chocka. The Latvian Warhead has uncovered a couple of old versions from 1980, which I’ll email up to you if you don’t have them already. All the best and thanks again Nose

  34. What a piece Brenton. We all imagine what it will be like to confront our mortality, but you are doing it with incredible grace and humility. If, as a fellow atheist, all we leave are our fingerprints on our community, then yours are here to see in this forum. Respect sir.

  35. Wonderful sentiments Nose (and others)
    The mighty Peckers eh?
    I’d declared “never again” to WestLakes after the 1974 farce but my Woodville mate talked me in to going to the 1979 Elimination – their first final.
    That bastard Danny Jenkins elbowed Phil Maylin early in the game. We went and had a beer and went home …renewing a vow to never set foot in that dump again. The Peckers had so many good players and so many bad sides – renowned as a serious punters club!
    Nose, was that St Leonard’s Primary down the Bay? – I went to Our Lady Of Fatima around the corner (and, of course, Baden Pattinson Kindergarten!)

  36. Thank you Nose, for a wonderful meander through quite the opposite of a mis-spent youth. You burnt the offending boot? Brilliant. You give a dodgy red to the best Uni number 27? Brilliant. Your strength is your character, which is brilliant.

  37. Nose,
    great to meet you at the Greys Lunch this year. I was very impressed with the respect and almost reverence paid to you by some the others who are better known to me.
    What a great joy it has been to carefully read through your memories over several days, at times it seemed I was almost there with you!
    This bloody wobbly mortal coil can be terrifically tricky at times, I hope you are enjoying your shuffle, it sounds like you enjoyed your running days!
    If you have the energy and wherewithal to write a few more I think they would bring great pleasure to more than a few, and if everyone reads them as closely as I did, the footy memories will live on!
    We’re playing football in our dreams!

  38. Hi Brenton,
    Bob Marsh forwarded your e-mail.
    I have great memories of playing with you in that super Henley High Team of 1976 beating Norwood in GF by one point. Pete Searle was coach and we played together for a few years prior to that as well. Didn’t lose too many games in those days.

    Best Wishes
    David Drew

  39. King of Passion says

    Wasn’t there in 86. First year was 87. Just love the memories though. What a fantastic club. Full of great guys like “nose” and countless others.

  40. Malcolm Ashwood says

    When Brenton Eckert received his life membership of the World’s Greatest Football Club, in his acceptance speech, which had such a effect on everyone present, Nose realised his life was coming to an end and spoke that if he could have it all back he would gladly swap everything so that he could walk from the entrance gate down to the change rooms once more.

    Nose in his normal considered way was trying to tell us to feel the breeze,smell the grass, just to appreciate life.

    Tonight we met at Uni Oval and did the walk and then had a service in the Long Room.

    Daddsy, Rabs Douglas and Dart Altmann spoke and we watched the speeches from the earlier funeral in Brisbane. The speeches from his sons Mitchell and Brayden certainly showed that they were a chip off the old block.

    It was a fitting and classy farewell, then of course we had a drink in the Long Room and adjourned to the Queens Head.

    RIP Brenton Nose Eckert

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