A Season in the Country: 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues – Episode 6


Lockhart Football Ground



Episode 6                  Warracknabeal on top


Featuring Warracknabeal’s Max Deckert


The Wimmera League




   Lions                    v             Magpies



Match of the day:

Saturday 24th May 1975

At Anzac Park, Warracknabeal



The wheat belt town of Warracknabeal is located on Yarriambiack Creek in the northern part of the Wimmera region. Warracknabeal celebrates the local rural economy with sculptures in the main street of sheep, bags of wheat and the ever-present kelpie sheep dog. Another of Warracknabeal’s attractions is the Wheatlands Agricultural Machinery Museum, which houses the largest collection of historical agricultural machinery in the country. The nearby settlement of Sheep Hills acknowledges the richness of the Wimmera’s indigenous culture with silo art depicting local Aboriginal elders and children.


The Warracknabeal football ground, Anzac Park, provides one of the best playing surfaces in the Wimmera, and is indeed better than most in country Victoria. Warracknabeal, an original Wimmera League club, won five premierships (1947, ‘53, ‘66, ‘77, ‘94) before merging with Mallee League club Brim in 2001 to form the Warrack Eagles. The following year brought success when the Warrack Eagles won the 2002 Wimmera League premiership.


The teams




B:         R. Krantz, T. Willis, P. Gunn

HB:      A. Bell, B. Jaensch, J. O’Callaghan

C:         B. Koschitzke, K. Norman, P. Wilson

HF:      P. Murphy, A. Himch, I. Bell

F:         P. Cozens, T. Lehmann, C. Staley

Foll:     K. Byron, M. Deckert (c)

Rov.:    G. Clayton

Res:     R. Mason, B. Lamont





B:         M. Whelan, J. Shepherd, D. Sudholz

HB:      T. McIntyre, L. Delahunty, N. Finnigan

C:         T. McGrath, P. Morrison (c), P. McIntyre

HF:      C. De Moore, P. Morley, P. McConnell

F:         E. Taylor, G. MacInnes, C. Cross

Foll:     R. Schodde, K. Anderson

Rov:     P. Williams,

Res:     G. McRae, G. Hayes





The Wimmera Mail-Times tipped Murtoa to bounce back from their drubbing in round five to win the match of the round against Warracknabeal. Murtoa captain coach Peter Morrison was seen as the main difference between the two evenly matched teams. The Wimmera League champion, Morrison, is our featured player in episode 10.


In blustery conditions at Anzac Park, Warracknabeal got home by a solitary point after holding Murtoa goal less in the final quarter. The difference between the two teams was Lions coach Max Deckert who played as a ruckman and loose man in defence in the first quarter. His tactic effectively stopped the Magpies from piling on a big score kicking with the first use of the wind. Poor kicking, especially in the second quarter, cost Murtoa dearly as they had a big chance of upsetting the home side.


Final scores: Warracknabeal 9.7 (61) defeated Murtoa 7.18 (60)


Around the Wimmera League grounds


At Menzies Park, Nhill had its first win of the season downing neighbours Jeparit by eight points. Stawell easily won the big-town-battle against Horsham at Central Park. Ararat made the long drive to Dimboola well worth it, chalking up their third win of the year. And Minyip coasted to a 30 point away win at Rupanyup.




Next week in the Wimmera League:


Minyip v Dimboola, Murtoa v Stawell, Nhill v Rupanyup, Ararat v Warracknabeal, Horsham v Jeparit



Farrer League




Holbrook hit the mark with a 29 point win over MCU; Wagga enjoyed a big win over Culcairn; Henty struggled to defeat Lockhart; TR-YC showed their capabilities with a big win over Temora; while North Wagga continued their winning ways with a 44 point victory over Collingullie.


Next week:


The Kangaroos (Temora) host the Grasshoppers (Holbrook), the Lions (Culcairn) take on the Demons (Collingullie), the Goannas (MCU) are matched against the Swans (Henty), the Bulldogs (Lockhart) play the Tigers (Wagga) and the Saints (North Wagga) meet the Magpies (TR-YC) at home.


Next episode’s featured player is Lockhart’s triple Baz medallist Jeff Nimmo.



This episode’s featured player: Max Deckert (Warracknabeal)




Max Deckert, Glenelg (SANFL) 1971 and Warracknabeal 1975



Portland product Max Deckert was recruited by SANFL club Glenelg in 1971 but made only one appearance for the Tigers. He returned to the Victorian country and later joined Wimmera League club Warracknabeal as playing coach in 1974.


Deckert’s football attributes were many. He was a tall, tough and versatile player who could fit in wherever team tactics demanded – in the ruck, at centre half forward or centre half back, even in the centre. And when he got the ball, he invariably delivered it to perfection. The eyes of forwards like Des Trotter would light up whenever Max took a mark and turned to deliver a precise long drop punt pass.


Deckert was almost always listed among the best for Warracknabeal and was well regarded throughout the league as a hard but very fair opponent. One Wimmera newspaper report in 1975 succinctly summed it up: “Deckert looked every bit a champion” (Wimmera Mail-Times, 26 May 1975). His career at Warracknabeal reached its pinnacle in 1977 when he captained the Lions to the premiership under the coaching of Terry Carman. Max also captained the Wimmera League interleague team against the Western Border League in a match at Hamilton in 1975, won by the Wimmera League.


Later Deckert moved to Stawell where he played in the Redlegs’ drought-breaking 1978 premiership. That September he was the big difference in the Preliminary Final at Minyip against his former club Warracknabeal. The Redlegs, coming from fifth place, went on to defeat Horsham in the premiership decider, ending a 28 year wait for the club. Former Essendon player Barry Capuano coached the Redlegs in 1978. His experience and shrewd tactics were a vital part of Stawell’s Grand Final victory.




In the VFL windy conditions were also the order of the day. The Saints kicked 7.23 but still managed to defeat the Bulldogs at the Western Oval. The Cats had a dismal day at Waverley, thrashed by a rampant Hawk attack. The Lions were too good for the Bloods, but South Melbourne were encouraged by the best on ground performance of ‘The Whale’, Brian Roberts in his first game after crossing from the Tigers. The Magpies had a comfortable win over the Bombers. The Blues trailed the Demons for most of the first three quarters before storming home with seven last quarter goals.


In the ‘replay’ of the ’74 Grand Final, the Tigers seemed to have the game in the bag at three quarter time against underdogs the Kangaroos. But the boys from Arden Street knuckled down in the last quarter kicking four goals to one against the breeze, which gave them the much needed four premiership points. Leading the way for North were Tarrawingee and Wangaratta Rovers’ big man, ‘The Galloping Gasometer’ (Mick Nolan) and Ganmain’s Frank Gumbleton. In his first appearance for the Tigers John Pitura, playing his 100th VFL game, showed why he was such a sought after commodity at Punt Road. After the match, North’s coach Ron Barassi was cautiously optimistic that his team could climb back into contention for the ’75 flag if they managed to overcome the Bombers at VFL Park in round nine.



Meanwhile …


In Canberra, the ‘loans affair’ involving Rex Connor was becoming an embarrassment for the government with the identity of the “mystery” intermediary, financial broker Mr Tirath Khemlani, revealed.


Former Prime Minister John Gorton announced his resignation from the Liberal Party and declared his intention to stand as an independent candidate for a Senate seat in the ACT.


Mike Denness was re-appointed captain of England for the forthcoming Cricket World Cup and the four match test series against Australia. Simultaneously, Geoffrey Boycott announced his decision not to play in the international tournament or the test series.



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.



To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


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  1. Glen Anthony Davis says

    Ta Pete.
    St Kilda were luckier than Murtoa in handling the windy, kicking yips. Peter Essendon picked up a fair few players from Dimboola in the mid 1970’s, mid 1980’s. Any of them playing in the loss to Ararat? I’m aware Larry Watson was already at Windy Hill, Tim Watson would have been just 13. Merv Neagle?

    John Pitura could at least take solace from the Wagga victory. Gee-whizz, how much did Richmond’s fixation with him take out of the Tigers? Pitura played for Victoria in his final season with South Melbourne, 1973, before nigh on 18 months of argie bargie between the two clubs. In his 40 games with Richmond Pitura never showed the form he’d shown with South Melbourne. Richmond after their consecutive flags in 1973-74 could not win another until 1980, then………………………………………..

    Mike Denness’s re-appointment lasted as long as the opening test defeat. Tony Greig captained them for the rest of the series not losing a test; nor winning one though. It took another two years for Geoff Boycott to get over that particular dummy spit, and did he make Australia pay! The 1975 World Cup was good viewing on the old black and white TV.


  2. Riverina Rocket says

    Nice to read of my old Rochester coach Des Trotter playing for Warracknabeal in the Wimmera.
    He got Rochy into the finals in their last year in the Bendigo league in 1971.

    Max Deckert must have kicked a lot of “long precise drop punt passes” to Des Trotter in 1977.
    Des booted a then record of 126 goals in Warracknabeal’s 1977 premiership season

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