Almanac Footy: Colac Youth Club Under 16 Premiers 1965 and 1966



Inspired by a post from Matt Zurbo on grand finals, Footy Almanac editor David Wilson (E.regnans) suggested fellow editors and the wider Almanac could share their premiership victories. Here is a brief account of my only two premierships with the Colac Youth Club in 1965 and 1966.



Colac Youth Club Premiers 1965, Col Ritchie is front row, second from the left [Source: Author]


Colac Youth Club Premiership Team 1966

Colac Youth Club Premiers 1966, Col Ritchie is front row, far right [Source: Author]

I was fortunate enough to play in consecutive premiership sides with The Colac Youth Club U16 team in 1965 and 1966. I don’t remember much about the ’65 game except that it was hard fought and we won in the dying moments by a few points.



1966 I remember more clearly. I’d spent nearly six months with my right leg plastered from ankle to the top of my thigh, and I was desperate to get back into footy once the plaster came off. That took a little longer than I’d anticipated as it took some time for my withered leg to return to normal. Thankfully it did and I was able to play the last part of the season.



Our team had gone through the season undefeated only to lose our first match against the Colac Magpies in the Second Semi Final.



Kicking against a strong win in the last quarter we managed to sneak home by a goal or so in the preliminary final, and into the Grand Final to face our arch rivals.



I had a dream start in the Grand Final, kicking the first three goals of the match in the first 10 minutes. The first came not long after the opening bounce. I was playing forward pocket-cum-rover. My dad always told me: ‘play in front son’, which I did, and low and behold the ball landed in my arms. All my team mates called me to pass the ball off. They didn’t think I could kick the distance.  I decided I could, went back, held the Ross Faulkner for a torp and let sail. Perfect connection with my Matchless footy boot (a forerunner to Adidas) and the first goal of the match was scored. My second goal again came by playing in front as a floater dropped short into my waiting arms. Another beautifully executed torp and I’d kicked two in five minutes. The third came from the next centre bounce after ruckman Doodle Williamson with a mighty punch forward sent the ball in my direction.It was just me and my opponent, and luckily my zippy pace was just enough to get in front of him, pick the ball up and snap around the corner. No-one was in the goal square, the ball bounced end on end and finally rolled through for another. I could not believe my fortune. Come the second quarter I had a new opponent who immediately gave a whack when I wasn’t looking. Down I went like a bag of spuds, then staggered to my feet and received another whack. I don’t think I got another kick for the match after that!



However (to cut a long story short) we easily accounted for our opponents despite my troubles later in the game and took out the 1966 flag for the second year running!




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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Great stuff Col.

    So tell us about the junior comp in Colac?
    How many teams/clubs?
    Were the Magpies from the Imperials Club?
    Any district teams?
    School teams?
    Catholic teams?

    I’m presuming this was in the era when each town & distict had a junior comp and the teams were not aligned to a senior club?
    Be interested to know.

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks Rocket.
    As I remember, the league was The South Western District Junior Football Comp and it was played on a Sunday, and yes, featured Catholic teams.
    The teams were: Colac Youth Club, Colac Magpies (catholics and our fierce rivals), Coragulac (mainly catholics), Beeac, Forrest, and Apollo Bay.
    The Colac teams were not affiliated, but others probably had links with their local teams.
    I have no idea when the comp finished up but I think it went on for a few more years.
    John Cassin who played for Essendon, Nth Melb & Fitzroy played for Coragulac.

  3. Thanks Col,

    Just as I thought. I reckon the junior footy comps were a micro-ism of socio-economic life in reasonably-sized country towns in the 1960s into the 70s…

    The Kyabram junior comp in which I played, is uncannily similar to the Colac one.

    Also a Youth Club team, High School and St Augustines were all from Ky, then Tongala, small town near Ky just like Coragulac – then village teams from Lancaster, Merrigum and Girgarre.

    Be interested to know of other junior comps in this era.

    By the 1980s the senior leagues had appropriated the junior teams and folded them into their own competitions.

  4. Wayne Matthews says

    Excellent summation Colin and Dr Rocket’s comments on the similarity of socio-economic life and the composition of junior football leagues in country towns during the 1960’s I find particularly relevant. On reading both your comments I recalled a lad who played for Colac Youth Club and although he attended St Josephs Catholic School he chose not to play with the Colac Magpies. I recall a few comments but never any animosity. CGR, my recollection of the 1966 season differs a little. I believe we were beaten by the Magpies on our home ground at South Colac however we defeated them in the last game of the home and away games at their home ground, the Western Oval. Losing again in the second-semi final we met again in the Grand Final. I clearly recall those three goals you kicked in the first quarter. The last, as you described an absolute pearler, and not without controversy. You had chosen not to pass to the half-forward, unmarked some 17 yards out in front of goal, and take the shot yourself. Kevin Bartlett must have learnt from this. The ball hit a tuft of grass beside the goal-post and wobbled through. The Magpie supporters were outraged. Rob Oborne’s father was in raptures. I, still 17 yards out, couldn’t believe it. You probably don’t remember the last goal of the game with a minute remaining. The game was won, we were three goals up. Gliding across the front of the pack, number 10 was paid the mark and the free kick by umpire Geoff Finch. It was blowing a howling gale, the ground was quagmire, which was normal for the Western Oval. Number 10 was on a slight angle but lined up to kick to the wing. A foot or two after leaving his boot the wind caught the ball which turned 90 degrees and sailed through the big sticks. The sealer after the sealer. That night we went to Ian Foley’s parents house. Ian became an outstanding footballer and I believe he won two Maskell Medals in the Hampden League. Ian’s brother Ron was our Coach. How fortunate were we? That night Keith Simpkin showed considerable initiative and from the funds received Keith went down to the Commercial Hotel on Murray Street and returned with a couple of bottles of sherry. I could go on…

  5. Wayne, please do go on…we’re loving it.

  6. Great piece Col. The ten minutes is a wonderful memory. No doubt others can relate such purple patch stories.

  7. Roger Lowrey says

    Great yarn Col. Love your goal-kicking prowess although the opposition’s methods of slowing you down were, sadly, very 1960s in style.

    Mind you, my aroused curiosity keeps nagging me with the question “whatever happened to Doodle Williamson?”


  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    A forward pocket after my own heart Col.

    Col from Colac – that’s a good name for a Coodabeens caller too.

  9. Wonderful story Col, as I mentioned to you earlier, I love the back to back torpedo punts! You could easily go months of watching the AFL and not see two spirals kicked at the goals today.

    And to echo JTH, please do go on with your tales, Wayne. Very entertaining!

  10. Wayne Matthews says

    Thank you John, I’ll delve into my memory bank and see what I can find. Stories from years ago may be overlooked or become lost as time passes. This forum evokes those memories and we can continue to appreciate and value them. Colin’s story and photographs has done that.
    RDL posed the question of, ‘Whatever happened to Doodle Williamson?’ Russell, or Doodle or Darkie, could play. I’m going with Jack Riewoldt and Cam Mooney type. Like Jack, knew the rules better than the umpires and let them know. Like Cam, always got caught breaking particular rules and spending a Tuesday night or two at the Tribunal. I started school with Russell back in ’55. Colin may be able to update.
    Cheers. w.

  11. Colin Ritchie says

    The memory is being stirred here! At the CYC two Williamson brothers played, Russell and Colin, one had the nickname ‘Doodle’ and the other ‘Darkie’, not certain which belonged to who. I’m sure they both played together in ’65 but only Russell (?) (‘Doodle’ ?) in ’66.

  12. A great yarn, Col.
    And excellent comments on the thread.

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