A Season in the Country: 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues – Episode 13


Lockhart Football Ground



Episode 13                           Tigers by a whisker


Featuring Nhill’s Graeme Warner


 The Wimmera League


Match of the day: Nhill v Murtoa

Saturday 12th July 1975

At Davis Park, Nhill




 Tigers                              v                          Magpies



Nhill is a wheatbelt rural service centre located on the western edge of the Wimmera surrounded by sheep grazing and grain farming. The town’s grain silo was once the largest single-bin silo in the Southern Hemisphere. A memorial statue to the draught horse, which was vital to the development of the Wimmera, can be found in the town’s main park.  Nhill is the gateway to two important environmental areas in the Wimmera, the Little Desert National Park to the south and Lake Hindmarsh to the north.


Like Lockhart in the Riverina, the Nhill football ground (Davis Park) has that familiar country footy setting: just off the main road through town and alongside the rail line and the grain silos.



Nhill has been affiliated with the Wimmera Football League since it was formed in 1937. The club started in the West Wimmera Football League prior to joining the Wimmera District Football League in 1925. Nhill have won nine premierships, five of which came in the early years (1904,1906,1908,1911,1912). The Tigers were runners up in 1963 before winning their first WFL premiership in 1964. They had to do it the hard way winning the grand final replay against Ararat after a tied first premiership decider. Nhill have won the WFL premiership on three more occasions, 1965, 1969 and 1981. The closest the Tigers have been in recent years was runners up in 2010.


Favourite sons of the Nhill Football Club include Jason McCartney (Collingwood,  Adelaide, North Melbourne), Peter Patterson (Collingwood) and Dean Wallis (Essendon). Nhill is the birthplace of Essendon and Sydney Swans great Merv Neagle who commenced his long and adventurous football journey growing up and playing at nearby Dimboola. We will remember the speedy, swerving wingman from ‘Dim’ in episode 17.




The teams




B:         G. Jones, G. Warner, N. Launer

HB:      P. Rintoule, J. Fritsch, D. Bussenschutt

C:         P. Henseleit, P. Bourden, D. Fritsch

HF:      M. Grey, G. Pohlner, T. May

F:         T. Staehr, M. Magrath, P. Dunford

Foll:     P. Dufty, T. Allen (c)

Rov:    J. Polinelli

Res:     J. Alexander, W. Rethus




B:         M. Whelan, J. Shepherd, L. Delahunty

HB:      M. Finnigan, T. McGrath, T. McIntyre

C:         I. Bales, P. Morrison (c), I. Yole

HF:      A. Sudholz, E. Taylor, T. Delahunty

F:         G. MacInnes, N. Sharrock, P. McConnell

Foll:     R. Schodde, K. Anderson

Rov:    P. Williams





The Wimmera Mail-Times tipped Murtoa to continue their climb back up the ladder with a victory over Nhill, who had only two wins to their credit in 1975. But the Tigers home ground advantage, combined with the return of several experienced players and the promising signs in their second half effort against Minyip in the last round, should make for a close contest.


The match


Surprisingly, the Tigers led all afternoon but had to survive a last quarter comeback by the Magpies to earn their third win of the season. Poor kicking for goal was costly for the visitors, but with the game seemingly over two goals in as many minutes by Murtoa gave Nhill supporters a huge fright. A six goal to one last quarter almost got the Magpies an unlikely win. Best players for Nhill were centre half forward Gratton Pohlner and their two young wingmen Peter Henseleit and Don Fritsch.  For Murtoa, captain coach Peter Morrison once again led the way. The loss left Murtoa in the battle for a place in the top five equal with Horsham and Warracknabeal, all on six wins and six losses.


Around the Wimmera League grounds


In one of the more evenly contested rounds of football for 1975, Minyip put the pressure on Horsham with a two point win at City Oval, although the scoreboard incorrectly had the teams tied on 96 points when the final siren sounded.  It was the first time the Blues had recorded a win over the Demons for many years. Warracknabeal defeated Jeparit by 30 points in another win for a club vying for a place in the five. In the battle of the two top teams, visitors Ararat scored a 19 point win over Stawell. Dimboola raced away from Rupanyup to record an 89 point win in the only one sided contest of the round. Ritchie Kalms booted nine goals for the Roos and moved into second position on the league goal kicking table, two behind Jeparit’s Doug Schumann.


Next week’s matches: Ararat meet Jeparit, Minyip play Stawell, Warracknabeal are at home to Rupanyup, Murtoa host Dimboola and Nhill take on Horsham.



This episode’s featured player: Graeme Warner (Nhill)



 Graeme Warner


Graeme Warner played 270 senior games for the Nhill Tigers in the 1960s and 1970s, and twice represented the Wimmera League. He played in various positions for Nhill but made his mark at fullback. His football career was a fortunate one, experiencing Nhill’s halcyon days in the 1960s when the Tigers won three premierships. Warner is held in high esteem at Davis Park as one of Nhill’s all time great players. He is still involved with the Tigers, often taking on the timekeeping duties at the club.

Graeme’s son Travis also played with the Tigers, winning two best and fairest awards in the 1990s before moving to Perth to play with WAFL club South Fremantle. Graeme’s grandson Chad currently plays with the Sydney Swans. The young Swans midfielder loves getting in and competing as hard as he can, traits characteristic of his father Travis and grandfather Graeme. Chad’s younger brother Corey is also on Sydney’s list after being drafted by the Swans in 2021.



 Farrer League




Culcairn finally made it into the winner’s circle with a 15 point win over Temora. Wagga comfortably accounted for TR-YC and moved to just one point behind ladder leaders North Wagga. The Saints had a scare against MCU, falling in by a solitary point in a low scoring game at McPherson Oval. Lockhart were buoyed by a 60 point win over Collingullie at The Crossroads Oval, while Henty registered a solid win over Holbrook.


Next week’s games: MCU v Collingullie,  Lockhart v TR-YC,  Wagga v Holbrook, Temora v North Wagga, and in our match of the day, Henty host neighbours Culcairn.



Next episode’s featured player Garry Mickan (Henty)



In the VFL


What a difference a week makes. After scoring 14 goals in the second quarter seven days before, Carlton were goalless in the second and third terms as they came crashing down at the hands of North Melbourne at VFL Park. The Kangaroos backmen held the Blues forwards in check all day, with John Rantall leading the way in shutting down Robert Walls. Rantall was well supported by Ross Henshaw, Richard Michalczyk and Phil Ryan. Brent Crosswell,  playing against his old club for the first time, sorted out Alex Jesualenko with a bone shaking tackle that set the tone for the Roos. Big Mick Nolan took on both Percy Jones and Mike Fitzpatrick in the ruck duels and shaded the Blues pair all day. For the first time in 1975, North Melbourne moved their win/loss ratio into the black.


Hawthorn continued on its winning way racking up a 62 point win over Richmond whose score of 2.20 (32) summed up their afternoon. Melbourne tamed the Essendon “wildmen”, pulling away in the second half to enjoy a 25 point victory. Collingwood took the points in their clash with Fitzroy at Victoria Park. Describing the game at the windy Western Oval, The Age columnist Paul Speelman noted sarcastically that an “outer Mooroopna side would have given Geelong a run for its money.” Footscray won the mistake-ridden game by 44 points. St Kilda were untroubled by the lowly South Melbourne who remained stuck in the wooden spoon position.





In the First Test Match at Birmingham, Australia won by an innings and 85 runs. Dennis Lillee, Max Walker and Jeff Thomson combined to destroy the English batting.


At ‘The Open’, played at Carnoustie, Tom Watson took the title after an 18 hole play-off with Australian Jack Newton. It was Jack’s best performance in a major, with a tied for second result in the US Masters in 1980 his next best.




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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  1. I went to the Western Oval that day, watching Geelong get walloped. It was a very wintry day with sunshine, grey clouds, rain, wind all making appearances. It was one of the few games ‘Snake’ Baker played for Geelong in his brief spell there.

    The test match at Edgbaston saw ‘Thommo’ make his highest test score: 49. He then went wickletless as D K Lillee, with Max ‘Tangles’ Walker picked up all 10 English wickets: 5 each. Australia won by an innings, Mike Denness resigned as English captain, Tony Greig replacing him. This victory allowed Australia to retain the Ashes, the following tests all draws. All this coming after the inaugural ODI World Cup.


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