Almanac Local (Junior) Footy: Debuting for South Colac


Gavin Reynolds on the morning of his debut for the South Colac under 14.5 team




My kids have so far grown up with two unwritten, but steadfast rules – play cricket for Pomborneit and barrack for Collingwood. Everything else is up to them. Including who they play footy for.



Oldest son Gavin has played very little football. A bit of Auskick and the odd game playing school footy. Baseball has been his winter sport for the past few years, winning a premiership and doing well with the bat in that sport. In summer he’s had some success at cricket and in high jump. His plan was to play baseball again and maybe a little footy around that when he could in 2021. A few clubs approached him to play footy and the spark was lit. South Colac, through their junior coach Adam McNamara, were very impressive in their approach and the way they sold their club. Gavin has mates at a few clubs but decided to don the royal blue and white of South Colac with a couple of his mates there. After one training session, he was sold. Baseball was on hold.



Gavin’s choice of South Colac was poignant. While I never played there in my relatively short football career, my grandfather Kelvin, who I paid tribute to in THIS PIECE last year, is South Colac royalty. He’s on the honour board as president, secretary, coach, best & fairest and life member, sadly with the deceased asterisk next to his name. I’m drawn to those honour boards every time I visit the South Colac rooms at the Elliminyt Recreation Reserve.




The honour board at South Colac



Gavin is named in the ruck. A position I was rightly never considered for. At 13 he has matched my height and already far exceeds my leap. Friday night is spent polishing his boots, making sure he is ready to play. I could well be more excited than he is.


Game day. South Colac v Irrewarra-Beeac. My good mate Jamie has his son playing for the opposition. We stand together on the beautifully elevated undercover South Colac terrace. Gavin wins the first tap. Much like Brodie Grundy, it goes to the opposition. Irrewarra-Beeac goal early. Then goal often. They’re strong, well drilled.



Gavin (second from right) heading in for the opening bounce of the game



Gavin gets a few handballs, a few hit outs. Then a few kicks. Kicking is not his most natural skill. The opposition continue to score. It’s 8.3 to 0.0 at quarter time. Coaches Adam and John are positive in the huddle. Focusing on what went well.


South defend well in the second quarter, only conceding three goals. Gavin misses a mark at centre half forward where he had made good position. The marks start to stick after that for him on a wet autumn morning. He switches between ruck and centre half back. The cappuccino from the canteen is excellent.


Uncle Dean visits the half time huddle. A man of many clubs, he finished his career winning South Colac’s best first year player as a 26 year old. He started his career playing Under 16’s for South aged 7-10, jumper well below his knees. Dean asked us to call around before training on the Thursday night before the game. Didn’t know what to expect. He presented Gavin with one of Kelvin’s watches, totally out of fashion now, mounted trophy style with an inscription marking Gavin’s first game for Kelvin’s beloved South Colac. Gavin was chuffed. I was extremely moved by the gesture. Gavin was born a month after Kelvin died. Yet he gets the significance of who has preceded him.



Kelvin’s watch



Irrewarra-Beeac dominate the 3rd term. At the final change coach Adam implores the team to keep trying, and just to score.


Irrewarra-Beeac kick some more goals. Then Gavin receives the ball in the centre square and takes off for a run. Has a bounce. Bangs it in from just inside 50. The ball bounces once, then twice, then through the goals. South, we, have scored. A chill runs through my spine seeing Gavin do that.


The game is a flogging but the mood is upbeat. South Colac are rebuilding their junior program. We’ve been through that at the Pomborneit CC, the rewards take time but they do arrive if you put the effort in. Adam McNamara, John Kelly & Ashley Borch are the right men in charge. Gavin wins a $20 voucher from the local sports store for being the team’s best player on the day.



Gavin presented with his award from South Colac’s Ashley Borch



The Under 18s also get flogged. South are struggling for numbers in that team and rely on some surplus opposition players to switch teams for the day. The reserves storm home after a slow start, narrowly going down by 7 points. Gavin’s coach Adam kicks 3 second half goals to almost carry his team home. The senior game saw South register a strong win, 7.14.56 to Irrewarra-Beeac 3.7.25 in wet, windy conditions. The South seniors look very strong, looking forward to watching more of them this season. Gavin and I enjoyed watching the South Colac seniors far more than we enjoyed watching Collingwood play GWS at the ‘G later that night.


As a family we could not have been made to feel more welcome than we have been at South Colac. We are on board for the long haul with them. I like to imagine that Kelvin Joseph Reynolds was looking down and enjoying what he saw of Gavin Joseph Reynolds’ debut in the royal blue and white stripes. Go South.



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About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Great stuff Gavin, 1st ruck a bit of Shaun Grigg/Marlion Pickett about him. The watch is a great tribute. Great story Luke

  2. Love it, Luke.
    Well played Gavin. Well played South Colac FC.
    And well played Uncle Dean.

    I reckon this is a simply wonderful story of life.

  3. Colleen Reynolds says

    Proud as punch of you all !

  4. Terrific piece. Thanks Luke. Keep us posted throughout the season (if you have the time). Congratulations to G. Reynolds from all at the Almanac.

  5. CITRUS BOB says

    Ah! Country footy from the grassroots up! Well done to all the Reynolds family from Grandpa through to Gavin!
    Forget that Collingwood bit Gav. What about closer to home?

    This is what the game is all about – the history, the family the love of the game!

  6. Outstanding Luke. Congratulations to young Gavin. Hope his career is long and fruitful. Local footy is just magnificent.

  7. Rick Kane says

    Great piece Luke and well done Gavin! Actually, well done your whole damn clan. Many takeaways in this essay but I particularly liked this nugget of wisdom: the rewards take time but they do arrive if you put the effort in.

    And a tip of the hat to JTH joke in his comment. Noice.


  8. Rod Oaten says

    Great story of family and country footy.

  9. Adam McNamara says

    Awesome piece Luke. Hopefully the start of a long journey at South Colac for Gavin and all your family. So lucky and honoured to have you all as part of this great club.

  10. Nice work.
    Looking forward the the 3rd history of Pombo book. No wonder that the Bulls are publicity whores,. It’s the key to a successful club.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Congrats Gavin and the wider Reynolds clan. Plenty of threads in this piece, but the baseball surprised me in a good way.

  12. Gillian Coote says

    Great account of Gavs debut and I truly believe that Kelvin will be watching from above.

  13. Brilliant Luke great stuff,Gavin ( the watch AWESOME )

  14. Shane Reid says

    What a wonderful piece Luke. I was lucky enough to live in Colac for a year, my first teaching job. Wonderful part of the world. Hope you and your son are able to forge some great memories through the South Colac footy club

  15. Matt Zurbo says


    Just gold!

    I’m back at Otway, playing twos, coaching Under 18s. C u. for a beer in a few weeks!

  16. Peter Fuller says

    Well played G.Reynolds. Parenting kudos to L. Reynolds also (provided we disregard the child abuse implicit in forcing the children to barrack for Collingwood).
    It’s heartening to hear your account of coach Adam’s attitude; Gavin seems to be in good hands at South Colac as well as at home.
    Luke, I recently read a rule for parents when their children play sport: there are two things to say after the match, did you have fun? & I love watching you playing and enjoying yourself.
    I hopelessly failed that criterion, as I was too busy dissecting my boys’ performances. I’m sure that you will do better.

  17. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Rodney. Unlike Grigg and Pickett he has most covered for height in his age group. The watch was a wonderful gesture.

    Cheers ER. It’s been uplifting to be around local footy again.

    Thanks for your support and for attending the game Colleen!

    JTH- Gavin is enjoying the support from the Almanac. Reckon there might be a few more stories in the South Colac season.

    Thanks CB. Grassroots sport, whatever the season, is fantastic. Not sure about the closer to home AFL team….

    Cheers Dips, indeed it is.

    Thanks Rick, we literally had no kids at the cricket club in 2008, in 2020/21 we had 68 juniors and Woolworths Blast participants. It will take time but South Colac will have a strong junior program again, very good people in charge and dedicated to the cause.

    Thanks Rod!

    Adam- we are honored to be part of it and it’s all mainly due to your approach that we chose South Colac. Keep up the great work.

    Don- any publicity is good publicity. The 3rd book is in the embryonic stages…

    Thanks Swish. Gavin is really disappointed to not be playing baseball, unfortunately both are played at exactly the same time and he really wanted to have a crack at footy.

    Cheers Gill, I like to think so too.

    Thanks Malcolm!

    Thanks Shane. Which school?

    Matt- saw your under 18’s had a great win on Saturday. Look forward to buying you a beer at Gellibrand on May 8th!

  18. Luke Reynolds says

    Peter- Adam is wonderful with the kids, I can’t speak highly enough of him.

    I’m trying to ask those questions after the game, while still aiming to encourage improvement and being competitive. It’s a fine line these days as I’ve found as a cricket coach.

  19. Great article. Junior sports emcompases so much more than winning, although nice to do. Team, uniform, fitness, mateship, community …the list is endless. Enjoy your time with Sth Colac, I raised my four children there and we loved it.

  20. DBalassone says

    Great piece Luke and congratulations to your son Gavin! He certainly has grown since I last bumped into you in the Olympic Stand.

  21. Thanks Luke. Watching your children participate and sometimes succeed is a great part of parenting. (Drove past the Bulls’ ground last week on way to SA – looked like an oasis).

  22. Andrew Gaylard says

    What a lovely evocation of the sporting lives of families and the historical ups and downs of footy clubs – thanks, Luke.

    I recognise a few names on that honour board. It sounds as if South Colac is still the friendly club it was in the late 60s. Having been an mostly redundant and frequently bench-warming cog in the well-oiled machine that was its 1968 U17 premiership team under “Spud” McCoombe, I still remember fondly the warmth of its welcome to an untalented refugee from another comp.

  23. Luke Reynolds says

    Tracey- you’re spot on. Team sport is wonderful for kids. We done on your own contribution at South Colac, I note your name among the life members on the honour board.

    Damian- he’s a big lad now, won’t be far off being a Collingwood 6 footer

    Thanks Noel, love watching and rarely miss seeing my kids play sport. Appreciate the comment about the Bulls ground, do call in next time you’re going past.

    Cheers Andrew. No doubt that Under 17 premiership is a wonderful memory for you and nice to hear they were so welcoming to you back then too.

  24. Great stuff, Crackers.

    I get the feeling that, for Gavin, this is just the start of a long and interesting football journey.

  25. Phil Hill says

    The Fitzroy Juniors are a very large club now but they started with one team who scored their first goal in the last quarter also, but it was the last quarter of the last game of the season!

    I really enjoyed the article

  26. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Smokie. Enjoying the journey already, pleasantly surprised with how well he has started his footy career.

    Phil- thank you. From little things big things grow. Hope South Colac can emulate what Fitzroy Juniors have done.

  27. Been a while to get to this mate, had a shocker of a week getting over a nasty cold!

    Beaut story, well done to young Gavin – it wasn’t long ago we were talking about the boys’ recent cricket exploits over a fresh ale, now he’s lining up in the ruck!

    Also echo others who said how wonderful a gesture the watch was – magnificent.

  28. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Jarrod! Hope you’re well soon and it’s not too long before we catch up over another fresh ale.

  29. One great story Luke how proud Kelvin would be, to see Gavin in South Colac colours,his sporting career will boom now ?????

  30. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Lizzie, Kelvin would love seeing Gavin in South Colac colours. Gav’s sporting career is coming along nicely, but most importantly he is having lots of fun and making heaps of friends at both the cricket club and now the footy club.

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