A Season in the Country: 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues – Episode 11

 

 

 

Lockhart Football Ground

 

 

Episode 11                          Magpies outfly Hoppers

 

Featuring The Rock-Yerong Creek full forward Bob Driscoll

 

The Farrer League

 

                                                                 

         Magpies                                  v                               Grasshoppers

 

 

Match of the day: The Rock-Yerong Creek v Holbrook

Saturday 28 June 1975

At Yerong Creek

 

The Rock and the Yerong Creek football clubs joined forces in 1962 and eventually transformed their fortunes from strugglers to regular premiers in the strong Farrer League competition. The amalgamated club shared home matches between the two venues, The Rock and Yerong Creek, during the early years of their union.

 

The round 11 match was played at Yerong Creek, as were all finals matches in 1975. We will visit Yerong Creek when the finals commence in Episode 20. Therefore, we will travel 20km up the Olympic Way to the village of The Rock for our ‘tour of the town’ in this episode.

 

The small town of The Rock nestles snugly under its namesake geological formation known as Kengal to the Wiradjuri people. The landform was once named ‘Hanging Rock’, but after an overhang broke away in 1874, its name was likewise simplified. The impressive landform (elevation 364 m) rises above the surrounding wheat, canola and sheep grazing country and offers climbers spectacular views towards distant peaks and ranges in the east and the vast Riverina plains to the west. Viewed from close range it might remind the sightseer of a slowly sinking ship with its dipping sedimentary rock layers.

 

The quiet railway-side service town features an attractive main street with a central avenue of trees standing as a memorial to the local soldiers who fought in World War I. Typical of many Riverina settlements, a collection of  buildings with wooden verandas adorn its main thoroughfare. The football ground, The Rock Recreation Reserve (commonly known as Victoria Park) is an idyllic setting for a game of football or cricket. ‘The Rock’ spectates the action from on high, seemingly just a long kick or a big hit away. 

 

 

‘Victoria Park’, The Rock

(source: scoreboardpressure.com)

 

 

The Rock Football Club had won several premierships (1914, 1932 and 1945) prior to its merger with neighbouring Yerong Creek in 1962. Both clubs had been ‘bridesmaids’ on many occasions in the various leagues they participated in, with Yerong Creek not winning for 43 years prior to taking out the 1954 Central Riverina League premiership. In the 60 years after the merger, TR-YC have won eight Farrer League premierships (1986, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2011, 2015), which makes them the most successful club in the league (since the Farrer League’s reincarnation in 1985).

 

Preview

 

The Grasshoppers were given an outside chance of toppling the Magpies at league headquarters, Yerong Creek, after their impressive away win against Collingullie before the bye. But it was going to take all their guns to fire with captain coach John Cornish, Phil Rau and Richard Hamilton vital to their chances of success. Meanwhile TY-YC were developing a powerful goal to goal line with spearhead Bob Driscoll in fine form.

 

 

Team lists

 

(source: NSW Australian Football History Society)

 

Holbrook made the early running, but the home side cut them to ribbons in the second term with big ruckman Greg Verdon in splendid form. A leg injury to Verdon, later confirmed as a season-ending broken leg, saw him sidelined after half time and his absence may have contributed to a ragged third quarter by the Magpies. Holbrook, brilliantly led by John Cornish, pegged back the lead slightly before the home side put the foot down again. Bob Driscoll booted seven goals for the winners taking his season total to 41.

 

Final scores:  TR-YC 16.6 (102) defeated Holbrook 10.14 (74)

 

Around the Farrer League grounds

 

Wagga Tigers (11.17 – 83) took the honours against North Wagga (10.11 – 71) in the battle of the top two. Henty enjoyed a come from behind 18 point win over Collingullie thanks to a heavy hailstorm after half time, which took away the influence of the Gullie’s dominant big men. MCU were inaccurate with 11.23 but it did not cause them any worries against Culcairn who only managed to kick five goals for the afternoon. Lockhart kept Temora at bay, running out winners by 44 points with newly appointed coach Jeff Nimmo giving a masterful exhibition in the centre.

 

Next week we will have a double-header episode with featured matches and players from both the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues.

 

The Goannas host the Kangaroos, the Demons are at home to the ladder leaders, North Wagga, the Tigers take on the ‘Gullie, Henty meet TR-YC, while traditional rivals Holbrook and Culcairn face off at Holbrook in our match of the round.

 

 

The Wimmera League

 

Roundup

Horsham 9.13 (67) defeated Warracknabeal 7.12 (54)

Stawell 24.14 (158) defeated Dimboola 14.19 (103)

Murtoa 11.11 (77) defeated Minyip 7.10 (52)

Ararat 31.11 (197) defeated Nhill 8.10 (58)

Jeparit 27.16 (178) defeated Rupanyup 6.15 (45)

 

Next week in a double header episode our Wimmera match of the day is the clash of the small towns with the Murtoa Magpies hosting the Rupanyup Panthers. In other games the red hot Rats face the Horsham Demons, the fast falling Warracknabeal Lions tackle the rampaging Stawell Redlegs, the Jeparit Redbacks journey to face the Roos at Dimboola while the Minyip Blues host the Nhill Tigers.

 

This episode’s featured player: Bob Driscoll (The Rock-Yerong Creek)

 

 

 

 

Bob Driscoll, farmer-come-butcher, was known as ‘The King’ at The Rock-Yerong Creek. He was a versatile footballer who could play anywhere from centre, his favourite position, to the half forward line or at full forward. He was blessed with perfect balance and was a proficient kick on both feet. Driscoll commenced his footy in the centre but knee problems caused him to spend more game time in the forward line, where he excelled both in the goal square and hunting for the ball out on the flanks.

 

Bobby played all his football with his home club TR-YC with the exception of one year with Grong Grong Matong in 1972 where he also represented the SWDFL. After returning to the Magpies, he coached the club in 1977 and ‘78 and was a regular Farrer League representative.  Bob won several best and fairest awards at TR-YC and won the Farrer League goal kicking in 1975 (82 goals). In 1976 he kicked 109 goals, which placed him second to Laurie Pendrick (North Wagga) with 114. During his playing days he was highly respected by opponents and was a popular player in the league. Later, Bob served the Farrer League as a selector.

 

Like scores of country footballers, Bob Driscoll gave many years of service to his club in a variety of roles: as a player and coach, and later as an administrator after his playing days finished. In recognition of that service Bob is a life member of the club and in many ways he is the “heart and soul” of the TR-YC Football Club. Bob masterminded the Magpies flag in 1986 (their first premiership as an amalgamated club) and has been heavily involved in their subsequent premierships. He has remained very passionate about the game and his club, was a highly successful club president and is still active on the committee today.

 

Looking ahead

 

In episode 20 of A Season in the Country we will meet a legendary figure of the Yerong Creek and The Rock-Yerong Creek football clubs, the Farrer League, NSW AFL and the Sydney Swans – Mr John Yates.

 

In the VFL

 

Carlton and Hawthorn complemented their excellent dry weather form in 1975 with good wins in wet, windy and greasy conditions. They stood five wins clear of third placed Richmond and looked like certain grand finalists. The winners in round 13 were Carlton by 16 over Collingwood, Hawthorn by 24 over St. Kilda, Essendon by 18 over South Melbourne, Footscray by 13 over Fitzroy, Richmond by 31 over Geelong and North Melbourne by 44 over Melbourne. The Kangaroos, with six wins, lay in seventh position and could start to see a finals berth within their reach if they could maintain their surge towards September.

 

A list of the best performing players in the VFL that Saturday contains some of football’s finest of the seventies era: Tuck, Bartlett, Matthews, Bedford, Breen, Hart, Nankervis, Walls, Jesualenko, Richardson, Schimmelbush, Blight, Hardemann and Alves. Remember them?

 

Meanwhile …

 

Labor’s Bass By-election loss sent shivers through the party nationally and represented the watershed moment in their 1975 electoral demise. A 17% fall in Labor’s vote stunned the party and reduced the government’s majority to a slender margin of three. A smiling Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser was pictured on the front page of The Age handballing a football. He challenged Mr Whitlam to call a double dissolution election but ruled out blocking the budget.

 

At Wimbledon No. 2 seed Ken Rosewall bowed out of the tournament after losing to fellow Australian Tony Roche. Throughout his long tennis career, Wimbledon was the one Grand Slam title that eluded him. In the women’s singles two Australians remained in contention – Evonne Cawley (Goolagong) and Margaret Court.

 

 

Read more episodes of A Season in the Country – 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues HERE 

 

To read about Geelong’s Record Run, click HERE.

 

Peter also wrote about St. Kilda’s premiership season in his 1966 and All That series. You can read that HERE.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks again, Peter.
    Greatly enjoying this series.

  2. Riverina Rocket says

    Enjoyed the feature on Bobby Driscoll has been such a stalwart for the TRYC footy club.

    Meanwhile Jeparit keep winning in the Wimmera league – when does the bubble burst???

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