Almanac Footy History: The Lexton Football League and Lexton Football Club – Part 3


Roger Spaull has written a history of the Lexton Football League and Lexton Football Club for publication in the Footy Almanac to be presented in four parts over this week. Part 1 can be read HERE, and Part 2 HERE. Part 3 looks at some of the many great players that have represented the club during their history.




From its formative years , Lexton was blessed with some wonderful players and clubmen such as: Peter Smith, Joe Briody, Merv Karslake, Max Vickery, the Fisher Brothers, Rod Branigan, Colin Woods, Bernie Gallagher,   Ken Morvell, Barry Morvell, Robert Palmby , Doug Impey, Gary Morrison, the White  brothers, Alan Hyslop, Ian Morrish, Roy Day, Joe Jensen, Merv Roxburgh  and,  of course, Howard Lockett.


The Briody Brothers of Lexton


There were eleven children of the Briody family- eight boys and three girls. It is thought that the above photograph shows Hugh, Frank and Joe Briody. It is hard to verify but a lone source stated that seven of the brothers had played football with Lexton FC.

Source: ‘The Age’ August 30th  1951. Page 14


As part of  ‘Lexton 1971’  and under the page  heading ‘ Giants of the Past,’ a panel,  of long-time and active members of Lexton FC,  were invited to vote for who they believed  were the best players that they had seen play for Lexton FC. The poll results were as follows:


Rod Branigan ( 15 votes), Howard Lockett ( 15 votes), Max Vickery ( 8 votes), Ken Morvell ( 7 votes), Bernie Gallagher ( 6 votes), Mark White ( 4 votes),  Doug Impey ( 3 votes) and Joe Briody received two votes.




At the time that the above mentioned 1971 poll was conducted, Mark White (born 1951) was twenty years of age and was trying his luck with the Carlton FC.


Prior to heading to the Blues, Mark had played over 100 games for LFC Senior XVIII’s; and had been a member of three premiership teams (1966, 1967 and 1968). Mark was an emerging young star of country football and, along with Jim Jess (Avoca), was regarded as a potential VFL footballer.  He was one the best contested high marks in the history of LFC


In 1970, Mark crossed to Golden Point FC (Ballarat FL); and in 1971 was signed by Carlton. Mark lined up in the Carlton Reserves for the Round: 2 clash against Essendon and was named in the best for the Blues that day (as shown below). He also impressed against Geelong in Round: 4; and in the game against Richmond (22nd May 1971), Mark was named Carlton’s best player.


Source: ‘VFL Record’   April 17th 1971 Page: 12


In all, Mark played 10 Reserves Grade matches for Carlton FC before he stepped away from VFL football and returned to Golden Point. In 1975, he won the Henderson Medal. Mark also captained GPFC during his career in the BFL. Mark’s brothers played with Lexton FC; and they were fine contributors to the club and were also members of premiership teams.


Former Lexton star, Mark White, displaying the Henderson Medal that he won in 1975. This photograph was published in ‘The Ballarat Times NewsGroup’ paper in April 2021.





Darren Jolly ex-Lexton- 23,  AFL games, 122 goals  and a star in Collingwood’s 2010 premiership victory over St Kilda. Darren was also a member of Sydney Swans’ triumphant team in 2006.


Although he played with Lexton FC well after the club’s ‘Golden Era’ had ended, any article about the LFC should include reference to Darren Jolly ( born in 1981). Darren’s football journey began at Lexton.


Note: Research indicates that a certain D. Jolly was a member of Lexton’s 1945 premiership team. It is probable that he was a relative of Darren’s.


Darren graduated to North Ballarat FC before being selected, by Melbourne, in the 2001 Rookie Draft. Darren played 48 games with the Demons. He then crossed to the Sydney Swans (117 games) before being traded to Collingwood.


During his last phase of AFL football, Darren established himself a key player for the Magpies; and it is an inspirational story about a player who grabbed a new opportunity in life with ‘both hands.’


In the 2010 AFL Grand Final Replay against St Kilda, Darren shone for Collingwood; and, one trusted reference, listed him as the third best player for the victors that day at the MCG.   Darren won 35 hit outs at stoppage; and the ‘Collingwood Forever’ website summarized his contribution to the Magpies ‘success as follows…


“Proof that ruckmen get better with age, Jolly’s career took the scenic route, spending time as a second-string ruckman at Melbourne, rising to prominence in Sydney before confirming his status as one of the best ruckmen of the 2000s at Collingwood. A man who covered the ground well for his size and was adept at switching to full forward to cause  opposition coaches headaches with his height and overhead prowess. Jolly was a model of durability, playing 142 matches in a row between 2005 and 2011 and is best remembered by Collingwood fans as one of the keys to the 2010 premiership triumph.”


Those readers who would like to know more about Darren Jolly’s career may enjoy his interview with David Rhys-Jones, of SEN Radio, in 2017. Although his time at Lexton receives scant attention, Darren’s journey in football is well worth hearing…




The Lexton Football Club had an abundance of fine players; and in the period 1945-1998, the following players won the Peter Smith Medal for the Best and Fairest player in the Lexton FL.

1949     Joe Briody

1951     Max Vickery

1966     Howard Lockett

1969     Merv White

1971     Howard Lockett

1976     Julian Kaye

1978     Julian Kaye

1983     Steve Kirby

1998     Malcolm Sargent




In the 54 years of the LFL, only three Lexton players had won the goal kicking award.  Rod Branigan (twice), Terry Page (twice) while Geoff Le Poidevin also topped the table. The details are:


1962    Rod Branigan- 80 goals and 1963- 70 goals.

1978    Terry Page-85 goals and 1980 – 85 goals.

1992     Geoff Le Poidevin- 72 goals.


Other players who won the goal kicking award in the Lexton FL included:  Jim Jess ( ex-Richmond & Avoca :103 goals), Jim Gull ( ex- South Melbourne & Natte Bealiba:  68 goals), Malcolm Scott ( Avoca:  98 goals ,  Robert Redpath (Avoca:  79 goals),  Laurie Plowman ( Landsborough: 124 &109);  and,  former television  journalist and newsreader ( Channel 7, 9 and  10 ),  Ray Astbury from Avoca also won the award with 75 goals.


One of the league’s finest forwards in the 1950’s was Frank Driscoll from Navarre. Frank booted 106 goals in 1954; and then won the award the next season with 127 goals. As mentioned above, Frank played with Essendon in 1957-58. He kicked only eleven career-goals with the Bombers but in his VFL debut, against Collingwood in Round: 1 in 1957,   he kicked four goals in a most promising display.


Source: The Argus July 15th 1950.


One of the drawcards of the Lexton FL was Jim Gull who booted 68 goals for Natte Bealiba in 1970.  Jim, who was in born in 1928, was still a force with which to be reckoned in 1970. He had played VFL with South Melbourne in 1949-50; and later played for Daylesford; and,   in a match, against North Ballarat in 1961, Jim kicked 21 goals 13 behinds. That season he topped the table with 159 goals.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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