Almanac Memoir: Lyndon ‘Beefy’ Andrews – A Football Journey

Former Central District player Lyndon Andrews prepared this as a record of his time in footy, to be shared with his family. The Footy Almanac thought that it would interest many of our readers, so we are pleased to publish it on our site.

 

It was on a plane coming home from an overseas trip that I first thought about how many football ovals I had played on and I started making a list. Over the years I have added to the list as various games are recalled. It was during a COVID isolation period I thought I should seriously record something of my football career.

 

Oval is an interesting word described as having longitudinal shape or egg-shaped outline, derived from Latin word ovalus. Football ovals come in many shapes and sizes. Elizabeth Oval is 178 metres long whereas Norwood is much smaller at 165 metres. Some, such as Adelaide Oval, are more rounded and are described as having deeper pockets. These various shapes combined with different surfaces and weather conditions mean ovals often have a unique character. This gives rise to home advantage where a team often plays better on an oval that is known to them.

 

This is my story, loosely based around ovals that I have played on.

 

THE EARLY YEARS

 

I did not play a game of football until 1962 when I was in 4th year high school aged 15. Gawler Blocks Primary School (now Evanston Gardens), where I spent the first seven years of my education, only had 100 students so no team football was played. I cannot even recall taking part in end-to-end kicking. Probably if there had been, my kicking skills would have been much better.

 

I grew up on a farm with some interest in football and I supported North Adelaide. I am not sure why, but a star player Don Lindner was the teacher at nearby Angle Vale so that probably led me in that direction. It is a remarkable coincidence that I stood Don Lindner in his last league game for North Adelaide (a wedding story, more about this later). My brother supported West Adelaide and Dad took us to a league game at the then fairly new Richmond Oval.

 

At Gawler High in 1962 we played house matches. The school which was then on Lyndoch Road had no oval so on occasional afternoons we were allowed to walk (unsupervised) down to a dirt area called PRINCES PARK next to Gawler Oval to play games. The 4 houses, Murray (mine), Para, Angas and Barossa played in some uncomfortable woollen guernseys of the appropriate colour (green, red, yellow and blue). I cannot recall any of these matches, but I know I loved them because I was not in a classroom, where I really did not apply myself to academic tasks.

 

I seem to recall a teacher Mr Jim McDowell encouraging me to play club football, so in I joined Gawler Centrals. Matches were played at GAWLER OVAL. This was at the Gawler Showgrounds and was surrounded by the trotting track. We played in black and gold and were known as the Tigers. The Gawler Oval was shared with Gawler South for training and all games for these two clubs and Willaston were played here.

 

(Click on any photo in this article to expand)

 

Gawler Centrals Under 16 1962

 

Dad showed quite an interest in my football and undertook to work the scoreboard whenever we played on home games. He was a familiar sight up on the mound managing the numbers.

 

You need to know at this stage I weighed 15 stone (as shown in the 1962 picture). Over that summer I grew a little taller and also took control of my weight. 1963 was a significant year as we won the under 16 Colts premiership, one of only two premierships I played in.

 

Gawler Centrals Under 16 -1963 Premiers

 

During these years we occasionally ventured away.

 

WASLEYS had a Colts team and we travelled there crowded into 2 or 3 vehicles, one of which was the coach Tommy Ronan’s tyre repair van.

 

In our team were the Smith brothers who were bits of larrikins and possibly not the most academic. On one of the away games, we were waiting to be bundled into Tommy Ronan’s tyre van which often had a coating of dust on it. One of Smith boys thought he would label the van Tommy’s Tigers in the dust coating. However his spelling was not great, so what appeared on the van was Tommy’s Tiggers. This was our team name for the next few games.

 

LYNDOCH was another out-of-town venue. This oval is now a beautiful venue but then it was a sloping ground and difficult to play on. I incurred one of my first real injuries here, breaking my collarbone in a crunching tackle. I recall the bumpy ride back to the Hutchinson Hospital in Gawler was a painful one.

 

At this time I also played for the Gawler High School team. I cannot recall the high school games but the high school magazine of that year reports that we played games against Nuriootpa, Elizabeth, Salisbury and LeFevre losing only to LeFevre.

 

Gawler High football team from High School Magazine 1963

 

In 1964 I graduated to the seniors and held a place in the Gawler Centrals A grade. The Gawler and District Football League seniors meant travel to new venues. This team was coached by Trevor Hammond, brother of the North Adelaide legend Bob Hammond.

 

The team from Roseworthy played at ROSEWORTHY OVAL, which was an area fenced off from a paddock just opposite the small township. It was still just a paddock. I well remember leaving the game with several 3 corner jack prickles still embedded. Their team consisted mainly of imports and I think they won the premiership that year and folded soon after.

 

ROSEWORTHY COLLEGE was a campus of Adelaide University where agricultural courses were run, and as a government institution had a magnificent oval with luxurious turf.

 

HAMLEY BRIDGE was a typical country oval ringed by gum trees. John Bubner was the coach of Hamley Bridge and a hero of mine as he played in the 1960 SANFL North Adelaide premiership  team that I supported at that time.

 

On the long weekend in June a country carnival was played and I was selected to play in a second association side that played a curtain raiser to the main game. This was played on the BALAKLAVA OVAL and a significant event occurred here. Central District had just entered the SANFL and the newly appointed coach, former West Adelaide star Ken Eustice was at the game looking for footballers. I recall I had a fairly good game, taking several goal saving marks. After the game I was introduced to Ken who invited me to consider joining Centrals.

 

My team in Gawler did not figure in the finals and the SANFL comp had two games to go, so on the basis of meeting Ken Eustice, I fronted at ELIZABETH OVAL. My first game was in the under 17 side and I must have impressed them as next week I was promoted to the under 19 side. I then was invited to join them next year beginning a career that continued until 1975.

 

In 1964, while I was playing for Gawler Centrals, I was attending Elizabeth High to complete fifth year high (Leaving Honours). We played several competitive teams, even beating Norwood High who were a top team at that time. Given that seven of us went on to play at League level it was little wonder we were a pretty good team.

 

Those later to play League football were Bob Edmonds, Gary Smith, David Saywell, Richard Cochrane, Julian Swinstead, Geoff Smitham and myself.

 

Elizabeth High football team From High School Magazine 1964

 

THE CENTRALS YEARS

 

My Thirds (Under 19) career in 1965 and 1966 was enjoyable and successful in that I won two Best and Fairest trophies and had a taste of senior football with two Seconds games in 1966.

 

Sometime during the season my brother-in-law co-opted me to play a social game with a Highways Department team where he worked. This was at HILLCREST somewhere and the opposition were all deaf. It was quite a difficult game to play, not because of the opposition standard but they never heard the umpires whistle so play often continued long after a free was awarded.

 

Whilst with Centrals Thirds we had an end of season trip to Mount Gambier where we played at VANSITTART PARK. Terry Phillips had played league football that year and for some reason accompanied us on the trip. Terry was a gregarious character and, on the trip down took up a position in the bus aisle and set about expounding his views about the team. It was here he referred to me as “Beefy”. The other parts of his diatribe are long forgotten but for some reason his name for me stuck and I have lived with it for over fifty years. My sons at times have also been landed with it but Marilyn did not enjoy the tag Mrs Beef.

 

Playing at Centrals enabled me to play on some great Metropolitan ovals.

 

CDFC Thirds 1966

 

South Adelaide played their League games at Adelaide Oval but their Thirds (under 19’s) played at ST MARY’S, an oval near the Mitsubishi factory at Tonsley Park.

 

NORWOOD OVAL was a very small ground and the stand’s brick wall was very close to the playing area. Two notable opponents I had the job to curtail there were John Wynne and Phil Carman in one of his last games for Norwood. It was also the venue for a most thrilling game here. Tony Casserly kicked the winning goal from a boundary throw in in the last few seconds of the game.

 

I played my fiftieth game at THEBARTON OVAL and coach Dennis Jones allowed me to toss the coin.

 

A young Lyndon Andrews watches intently as Centrals’ Frank Middleton takes a falling grab in front of Sturt’s Keith Chessell at Unley

 

Another small ground was UNLEY OVAL. John Halbert and Rick Schoff were two formidable opponents on that ground.

 

It was never a pleasant journey to ALBERTON OVAL. In one of my earlier league games my opponent was Eric Freeman, (who was also a Test cricketer). My strength was being a close checker. Freeman answered those tactics by raking his fingernails down my arm. The umpire that day was Max O’Connell who later became a Test cricket umpire. Seeing him at Test matches in later years I often remind him of the incidents where I never got the free kicks that I should have.

 

Through circumstances which I will detail later I was the league coach for 1 game here. It was not a good game for me or my coaching record.

 

I can only recall mediocre games at RICHMOND OVAL, however it was the scene of a spectacular collision between Milky Vivian and Graeme Plew. These speedsters were both at full pace and unseen to each other, collided full on. I recall Milky got up, shook himself and played on whereas Plew was carted from the field.

 

My first ever game at GLENELG OVAL was when Neil Kerley was playing coach. Peter Marker was also in his first season, but my opponent was Brian Colbey, who later became a star half back flanker. In the Advertiser I was named to stand Ray Button who was kicking prolific scores then. Colin Stutley, one of Centrals early greats kindly said, “I’ll take Button”. I would have to examine some records to get the exact tally, but he kicked quite a few goals on Colin although many fewer than he would have if I had been his opponent.

 

I faced a great challenge at PROSPECT OVAL in the last minor round game of 1970. I went to Dennis Jones to tell him I was unavailable for the game as I was to be best man at my brother’s wedding on that day. Jonesy would not hear of it as a win meant a higher position on the premiership table, so he said ,“Let me ring him”. I am sure my brother was not really assured, but they guaranteed that I would be there on time. I was to come off at three quarter time and be bundled into a taxi.

 

I actually had a good game that day and looking back, I think I played well because my normal anxiety was missing. I knew if I played badly it was not my fault. The umpire that day was John Caufield who was a teacher and we had discussed our common profession in a previous meeting. I saw him soon after that game and he said, “Where did you get to?” I explained the situation and was horrified to learn he had me down for some Magarey medal votes but could not give them to me as I was missing the last quarter. This was as close I ever got to getting any Magarey Medal votes in my whole career.

 

When we played at WOODVILLE OVAL they were always big games as they came into the League the same year as Centrals. Also, my wife had many connections with Woodville as her first cousins Eddie Holland, David Christie and Peter Obst all played there. People have often asked about the best player I played against. Barrie Robran gets my vote but on an individual game Woodville Centre Half Forward Bob Simunsen gets a mention as he towelled me up a couples of times. He was just too quick for me.

 

Thirds teams never played on ADELAIDE OVAL so playing League football on this ground was a great milestone. It has been the scene of some of my worst games and some of my best. In those days Adelaide Oval turf was not as it is today and the centre wicket area soon became a quagmire in winter. Normally, wet grounds favoured me but my first two games at this venue were dreadful. My career was saved by the faith Dennis Jones had in me and kept me in the team to record some much better games here.

 

In 1971 we were on the verge of making the finals but had to beat South Adelaide by a big margin to gain a better percentage. Our backline that day was magnificent. We kept South Adelaide to a such a miserly score (3 goals 6 points) that the percentage gained put us into the final four. The forwards had also played well but it was interesting to note not one defender got a mention in the best players.

 

CDFC League Players 1971

 

The whole of Elizabeth was excited that Centrals were playing in the finals for the first ever time at League level. I still believe the side we put out that day was probably one of our best ever (see appendix for Team list). To say we were nervous is an understatement, as we had never beaten Sturt and they were coached by the great Jack Oatey. They had won the previous 5 premierships. To add to the drama my opponent was to be the former Essendon player Bob Shearman. We won a great game and I made a major contribution by containing Shearman.

 

After the 1971 First Semi-Final (teammate Richard Cochrane on the left)

 

1971 in Adelaide Oval change rooms (Page from Sonny Morey’s book)

 

Over the years I have thought about us losing the next game v Port Adelaide and put in down to club inexperience. We should have immediately forgotten about that game and focused more on the next final. We lost in a close finish and I have always regretted it as we had done well against North Adelaide, the eventual premiers, during the year. We certainly could have won the Grand Final had we got there.

 

After continued frustration with the SACA, the SANFL took the brave move to establish a ground at the newly formed West Lakes, to be named FOOTBALL PARK. This was due to open at the start of the 1974 season but was not ready on time. I suppose we were a little overawed to be suddenly told that our game on the 14th May against North Adelaide was going to be the first ever game played there.

 

I need to digress a little to explain my position on this day. The previous year 1973 was not a particularly good year for me and when the Seconds coaching position fell vacant with eight games to go I was asked to take it on the job. The assumption was that my league career was over and this role suited me. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we won most of those games. I suppose it was natural that I took the job next year, however my trial form was excellent which saw me selected in the League side. I worked out I could do both.

 

Getting to games early suited me as it kept me occupied and not worrying about the coming challenge playing League. I would change into my match gear at halftime with tracksuit and then coach and address players up to three quarter time when my focus would switch to playing. I was in good form, so this routine was to continue even though it was a momentous occasion with the first ever game at Footy Park.

 

As northern suburbs dwellers we hardly knew where West Lakes was, and excitement was building. Over the years much debate has been made who had first touches of the football at Footy Park. Tony Casserly leapt high over both ruckmen and got the first tap. For years Tom Zorich was credited with first kick but recently found video has now put that in dispute. I maintain that my Seconds players usurped all these others and have credited my Seconds ruckman John Spaans with the first touch of football on this ground. It also made me the first coach to win a game on Football Park as my Seconds team recorded a victory.

 

Footy Park looked magnificent to us. Large fresh change rooms where we had room to kick balls into nets amazed us. This game presented one of my biggest challenges in that my opponent was the great Barrie Robran. Video exists of this game where Wally May expounded my virtues. I was to play other games at this venue but none as satisfying as this.

 

In writing this story I uncovered a letter written to me after this game. Reading the letter from David Williams brought back some great memories of this Football Park game.

 

 

 

(Update – I recently caught up with David’s brother Tony Williams, who still has the footy that I gave to David)

 

 

While playing for Centrals, I played some interstate trial games.

 

The first of these was in 1972 when Centrals and South were invited play a trial game in Alice Springs at TRAEGER PARK to mark the silver jubilee of football in this league. Flying to games is normal for AFL players of today but to us then was quite a different scenario. We won the game and had some bonus tours the following day to local landmarks.

 

Tony Casserly had succeeded Dennis Jones as coach in 1973. Tony was recruited from EAST FREMANTLE, so a trial game was scheduled against them in Perth. Match day proved to be unusual Perth weather in that it rained most of the day. These conditions suited me, and I won the trophy for best player on that day. Next day was not so good. We travelled to Rottnest Island in terrible conditions and most players were very seasick.

 

The Footscray Football club had a good relationship with Centrals and as we played in the same tricolours. I believe they had presented the club with its first set of jumpers in 1964. We played two preseason games against Footscray, one of them at Elizabeth and the other on WESTERN OVAL, their VFL home ground. We were young and were intimidated by these well-known stars and I recall playing against the great Ted Whitten.

 

In 1975 due to my Assistant coaching position (see next paragraph) I was forced to miss the trial game in Hobart which would have seen me having played in four states and one territory.

 

CDFC League Team – 1974

 

Midseason in 1974 club officials deemed I could not continue in my dual role; I was offered the Assistant Coach position which was unknown at the time. It was a nothing position really although it gave me a league coaching record of one game (a loss) mentioned earlier when Tony Casserly went off to play state Football. So, 1975 saw me just as a player. I was now a school Deputy Principal and some chest pains after a game tempted me to retire. Tony Casserly was on the outer with club officials and the heir apparent was Gary Window who would make no concessions to an ageing player (28yo).

 

LOCAL ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL

 

I was enjoying not having to meet the demands of training and work when a Blackwood football club official, who knew my brother John, contacted me re playing for them. There were a few games to go and they needed a win to escape relegation. Initially I rejected the proposal, but they kept insisting they needed me. Finally, I agreed to play. The first game was at BRIGHTON OVAL and I was a little worried when they named me at centre half forward. Having spent a lifetime in the backlines this was a new experience for me. The game went well and over this period the team avoided relegation.

 

Home games were played at BLACKWOOD OVAL, which is nestled in the foothills and is a ground that never really dries out in winter. The surface is continually muddy and this mud seems to have some stone chips in it that led to many scratches on arms and legs. Locals knew this and application of much mercurochrome after a game was vital.

 

As this league was completely new to me, I have long forgotten where all games were played but recall fronting on the expansive EDWARDSTOWN OVAL for one of the games.

 

Soon after the 1975 season finished, I was approached to coach Angaston in 1976. I was ready to agree when, through a teaching colleague, an offer to coach Salisbury Football Club was made. The prospect of playing and training locally was too good to pass up. Also, I knew quite a few of the players who had played at various levels at Centrals. These two years meant playing on new set of ovals.

 

Salisbury Football Club 1975

 

Home games were played on SALISBURY OVAL, an oval off Brown Terrace in Salisbury. I played on the following ovals over the two years I was coach:

 

SALISBURY NORTH The visit to Bagsters Road was always a tough game.

 

ELIZABETH NORTH. Played on an oval on Woodford Road.

 

THE PADDOCKS. This was a huge sporting complex. Para Hills Football Club played here and was then coached by old high school friend, Roger Hughes.

 

BRAHMA LODGE. Some of my old students from Brahma Primary played against us here.

 

SMITHFIELD OVAL. It was unusual to play here as my dad had told me he had brief football career playing for this blue and white team. My brother also played some games with the Smithfield club.

 

Elizabeth now play at Argana Park which is a real sporting complex catering for a range of sports for both men and women. However, in my playing career we played at RIDLEY ROAD OVAL.

 

At VIRGINIA OVAL, Ray (Radish) Prior (ex Centrals) was my opposition coach when we played there.

 

SALISBURY TEACHERS COLLEGE had a nice oval where this institution fielded quite a strong team. Chris Hatch was one of their good players who I considered had some potential, but I never heard of or saw of him playing anywhere again.

 

The CDFA was a strong association in those days and provided a great local support base for Centrals. In fact, many of its officials had played roles in the initial formation of the Central District club in 1959.

 

MARILYN

 

At this point I need to mention the support my wife Marilyn has given me throughout my career. Playing League football required training at least twice during the week. Match days on Saturday were full and then we often had light training on Sunday. Her support for me continued and was even greater when children came along, Kirsten in 1972 and Nigel in 1974 added to the household duties Marilyn managed. Ryan came in 1977 so when I was coaching Marilyn was managing three kids.

 

Me, Kirsten and Marilyn (Advertiser April 8th, 1972) and Me, Marilyn and Kirsten in bath (Messenger)

 

Nothing emphasizes how much she did as what occurred after one match at Salisbury. Whilst playing I had a fall and was concussed. This became evident as I was very confused after the game so was taken to hospital. Marilyn as she often was, was rostered on in the club kitchen and still filled her shift. After this she visited me in hospital and more drama unfolded as the car lights were left on and the car battery was flat, not a pleasant time with three kids in tow. In gets worse in that this was her 30th birthday and when visited by my assistant coach later that night I apparently told him Marilyn had not been it to visit me. Ironically on this day I had completed a unique event for me in that I had kicked six goals and even to this day cannot remember any of them. Marilyn can never forget this day.

 

COUNTRY FOOTBALL

 

At about this time several of my close mates from Western Teachers College had been appointed to the country and were enjoying it, so a transfer was applied for and an appointment to Melrose was gained. Almost immediately the club president Jim Carey contacted me, offering the coaching position for the local team. Wilmington had combined with Melrose and home games were shared between the two towns. I was happy to play for no fee but consistently refused the coaching position as I wanted to make sure I settled in well in my school principal’s position. I think they thought I was holding out for money, so they tripled the offer.

 

I finally told them no amount would change my mind but whoever they appointed, I would give them any support I could. Roger Pearce, a lovely guy from Wilmington eventually took the job and it turned out one of the most enjoyable years of my football career. Coincidentally they were also the Tigers playing in Black and Gold. So my second premiership was recorded in same colours as first some 16 years earlier. Winning the Mail Medal finished off a great season and despite urgings I never played again.

 

Wilmington United 1978 Premiers Flinders League

 

The Flinders League had only four teams, so my oval tally only increased by 5. Home games were played at MELROSE OVAL and WILMINGTON OVAL. It was a dusty and rough road to QUORN OVAL. MURRAY TOWN was just down the road. Their meagre numbers were boosted by several Aboriginal players from Davenport, a reserve just out of Port Augusta. BOOLEROO CENTRE was the fourth team and always the most contested, as there was always some animosity to Booleroo people. I believe I traced that back to when they got the hospital built there instead of in Melrose many years ago.

 

Melrose Oval is a beautiful oval under the shadow of Mount Remarkable. That season the rains did not come till late and I had told Roger I was about to play in sandshoes as the hard grounds was upsetting my dodgy knee. This never eventuated as the season broke late in about the fifth week and I arrived at the ground to find the B grade playing in about a 30cms of water all over the ground. It was just when we about were to run out on the ground that one of the McCallum boys, who played cricket, remembered that the oval drain had been blocked during summer. Once this blockage was removed large volumes of water started moving off the ground. We won the toss, and it is the only time a team has won the toss and kicked with tide.

 

I often tell these stories about playing football that year:

 

Big Bird

Our ruckman was a huge bloke called Chris Clarke who went by a very apt name Big Bird. In my first game in the first contest Big Bird crashed into the opposing ruckman as he forced the ball forward. As the ball came to me, I looked for support and saw Big Bird still at centre helping up his opponent and apologizing. My welcome to a game where it was still a contest, but all social niceties were not forgotten. With only four teams you played 5 rounds (and then finals) which gave me a side benefit in meeting some of the wider community.

 

Lincoln Storey

Lincoln was a legendary trainer who astounded me by never wearing anything but short sleeves in the coldest weather, and it really does get cold in Melrose. In one of the games when winter had really set in Lincoln approached me at half time with a bottle and said, “need a sip?”. I was initially horrified to have alcohol offered during a game. This was my introduction to Green Ginger Wine which in Melrose and possibly many other country communities is a basic standby for the footy, fishing or in golf bags.

 

Roger Pearce

Roger was a dour defender who could never be called a conversationalist. His pre-match addresses were brief and he shied away from making any talk much in public. Early in the Grand Final celebrations he had to be hauled onto a table to speak. This occurred many times during the evening, but as more and more alcohol was consumed the problem was not getting him up but getting him down.

 

The McCallums

This one family has participated in much of the history of this region. Naturally many have the name or are related to them. They were large family group and we had seven of them in the grand final side. It would have been eight but much to his angst I ruled one of them out in a fitness test with a dodgy hamstring. Roger had asked me whether we should select David and I said give him a fitness test and with a puzzled look he said “what’s that? “I took David and asked him to return several kicks going quite hard. All was going well until I deliberately kicked one over his head. Naturally, he turned hard and away went the hamstring. I tried to explain that it was necessary as we could not go into a Grand Final with potentially one player short. I also tried to explain that this was my only second Grand final ever and potentially my last season so I was desperate to win. I am not sure he ever forgave me.

 

Jeff McCallum was a great centre half back but Grant McCallum was probably the best of them. Young Andrew McCallum became an important part of game plan that year particularly against Booleroo. They had found that a player Colin Arthur could play me from behind and stop me marking. This is when I took young Andrew and told him to position himself in front of the pack heading towards goal .The plan often worked as they punched the ball away from me it fell into Andrew’s lap and he made good use of it. On a recent visit to Melrose and the sporting complex I saw that young Andrew had won several club Best And Fairest awards. Perhaps I taught him something.

 

Sheep help win a premiership

 

The grand final was always going to a great contest and during the season Ian Collins, who played for Booleroo, had been a player that had caused us a lot of trouble. However on Grand final day Ian was a much less player than he had been during the year. Many years later I met Ian and talked about the Grand Final. His performance on that day was discussed and he said it is very difficult to shear 100 sheep on Friday and recover well to play footy the next day. Ian being a shearer could not afford to miss a day’s work. So, I often give part credit to our premiership to the hundred sheep Ian had shorn on the Friday prior to the Grand Final.

 

Grand final day

 

With potentially my last game of football and a premiership chance, I was particularly anxious prior to the game. My anxiety increased when I realized Bentley Foulis was not at the ground. When I asked where he was, I was told that he had been away and should get here on time. They could easily see my concern and said we have Roger Crawford on standby and Roger now appears in the only photo taken of the team, and Bentley, who made it to the game does not appear. This was a photo taken on my camera which was the only one at the game. A copy has hung in the Wilmington pub for years and has appeared in one of the Wilmington history books. Whilst I was delighted to have won the Mail Medal having to accept this on the ground prior to the game also increased my anxiety,

 

Disappearing teams

 

I have told of the Melrose/Wilmington combination. The Flinders league folded the year after I played and now, they have joined the enemy Booleroo to form BMW. On discussing this one day with an older resident, he told me of the early days when footy teams abounded. In the area now represented by BMW each of these towns had their own team—Melrose, Booleroo Centre, Wilmington, Morchard, Willowie, Appilla, Murraytown and Pine Creek. Add in Quorn and Carrieton and you can imagine how many labourers each farm had.

 

UMPIRING

 

After Melrose the family shifted to Whyalla. In Whyalla I nearly took a coaching job but did take up umpiring. This meant two new ovals to run around as all football was played on either BENNETT OVAL or MEMORIAL OVAL.

 

SUMMING UP MY JOURNEY

 

I have always said the biggest advantage I gained out of football was the friendships made. As I have travelled throughout Australia in past years it does not take long to find someone who you played with or against or had some connection with a team that I played with.

 

A recent gathering of Centrals Past Players. From Left: Richard Davis, Doug Wickham, Kevin Johns, Lyndon Andrews, Ken Russell, Peter Vivian, Peter Nicks, Phil Ashmead, Sonny Morey, Ian Kroehn, Robin Mulholland, Terry Moore, Julian Swinstead, Bill Cochrane, Geoff Smitham

 

———————————————————————

Appendix A – Nicknames

These are part of the Australian language and abound in sporting teams. Many are just shortened versions of the family name e.g.

Stuts – Colin Stutley
Johnsy – Kevin Johns
Others have long lost derivations but are used extensively.
Milky- Peter Vivian
Spog- John Wyley
Buck- Terry Moore
Sally -David Saywell
Oigle- Ian Kroehn
Irish – Robin Mulholland

Three of Marilyn’s cousins I played against were
Nipper – David Christie
Bubbles – Trevor Obst
Dutchie – Eddie Holland

 

Appendix B – Coaches

A coach plays an integral part of any sporting team. apart from tactics, fitness, there is player care, team selection and general team management. Having coached I know it is not an easy job

My coaches:
Tom Ronan (premiership) Gawler Centrals Under 16
Trevor Hammond Gawler Centrals A Grade
Ron Harris Sr. CDFC Under 17
Bill Ward CDFC Under 19
Lawrie Stevens CDFC Under 19
Trevor Jarman CDFC Seconds
Ken Eustice CDFC League
Jack Kiernan CDFC Seconds
Dennis Jones CDFC League
Tony Casserly CDFC League
Roger Pearce (premiership) Wilmington United
Unknown – Blackwood (I do remember former Crows coach Brenton Sanderson’ father David was in that team)

Although not my team coach Gus Guthrie deserves a mention. One year I had lectures on Tuesday and Thursday so could not train with seniors and worked out with Gus who was the coaching the under 19’s. He looked after me well.

Reg Walker was a former athlete who was appointed a fitness coach. We ran many miles with him. Jack Kiernan trained us in 1968 and I have never been fitter. (Played 19 games). Summer was exhausting with challenges like running up Golden Grove Road.

 

Appendix C – Mark Mitchell Shield

Mark Mitchell Shield winning side Brahma Lodge Primary School 1973

Whilst I never played on the Brahma Primary school oval it was the training scene of a great little football team. This team went on to win the Mark Mitchell shield which was awarded to the best primary school football team in the State. This involved playing teams in a knockout comp over several weeks. Peter Burford a former Sturt footballer and staff colleague, was a great help with this team. I think David Owens was the only one of this team to go on and play some league football. The win also led to an appearance on TV with the Channel Niners show. Craig Wasley and Derek Foulds (Captain and Vice-captain) accompanied me and brought a laugh when they said they both said they were ruck rovers that rested at centre . These would be called mid fielders now.

 

Appendix D – Playing career

1962 Gawler Centrals Under 16
1963 Gawler Centrals Under 16
1964 Gawler Centrals A Grade, CDFC Under 17, CDFC Under 19
1965 CDFC Under 19
1966 CDFC Under 19 , 2 Seconds games
1967 3 League Games
1968 19 League plus 1 night game
1969 2 League Games
1970 14 League Games
1971 19 League Games
1972 4 League games
1973 No League games (injured)
1974 15 League games
1975 3 League games (Total League 80), Blackwood 8 games
During 1964 to 1975 played an estimated 40 Seconds games
1976/77 Captain-Coach Salisbury Football Club
1978 Wilmington United Flinders League Premiers (retired)
These total approx. 270 and when you add in interstate games and trials my total games played would be close to 300.

 

Appendix E – Notable Teams

1974 First game Footy Park v North Adelaide
F – Saywell Reed Kleinig
HF – Mobbs Chiron Wyley
C – R Cochrane Skinner Vivian
HB – Nicks Andrews Zorich
FB – Morey W Cochrane O’Connor
Ruck – Moore Casserly Ashmead

19th and 20th Maksimovic and Russell

1971 Finals Side
F – Saywell Jones Norsworthy
HF – Haughan Wyley Mobbs
C – Vivian Skinner R Cochrane
HB – Nicks Andrews Davis
B – Swinstead Kroehn Moore
Ruck Farnham Casserly Mulholland

19th and 20th Johns and Spaans

 

Appendix F – Ovals List

Princes Park Gawler
Gawler Oval
Lyndoch
Wasleys
Roseworthy
Roseworthy College
Hamley Bridge
Balaklava
School games? possibly Nuriootpa and Birdwood
Elizabeth Oval
Norwood
Prospect
Thebarton
Woodville
Alberton
St Marys
Unley
Vansittart Park
Adelaide
Richmond
Glenelg
Football Park
Western Oval Footscray
East Fremantle
Traeger Park (Alice Springs)
Brighton
Blackwood
Edwardstown
Salisbury
Salisbury North
Virginia
Salisbury Teachers College
Para Hills Paddocks
Elizabeth
Elizabeth North
Brahma Lodge
Melrose
Wilmington
Quorn
Booleroo
Murraytown
Umpiring-Bennett and Memorial in Whyalla

 

Appendix G – The long lost Wilmington Premiers poem

Wilmington-Melrose A Grade Premiers 1978

 

Rogger (Roger Pearce) rejuvenated the ailing club

With no Friday night sessions, by the boys at the pub

We had training on Thursdays and on our own on Mondays

with a serious lack of interest towards training on Sundays

He had some of them fit by Grand final day

And here they all are and how they did play.

 

Clarkey’s (Chris Clarke) our big man, the best to be found

Out rucks the others, without leaving the ground.

 

Searley  (Dean Searle that Saturday  had more kicks than beers

And showed some real promise for  a lad of his years.

 

Andy McCallum showed all of us how he

kicks Goals in Grand finals, must come from Willowie!

 

Bish (Malcolm Bishophe’s our ruckman, who looks rather dumb

but when came the Grand Final, he extracted his thumb

 

Tails  (John Taylor)   has experience, which always shines through

when his minds on the footy, not his wife from Orroroo

 

Jamie (Jamie McCallum)  he played the last half of the game

and like a true champ, put their winger to shame

 

Terry (Terry McCallum) he used his effective habit

head down and tail up, like a “Brindinna” rabbit

 

Dennis (Dennis McCallum)  was there if we ran out of legs

but he was more value, in drinking the kegs

 

Jeffrey McCallum, he had some strange notion

that Grand finals should all be played in slow motion

 

Brewery (Bevan Bury)  that night, was awfully frisky,

drank Brandy til stumps, didn’t know it was Whiskey

 

Shorty (Kevin Girdham)  that Saturday, away did get carried

the lad went to pieces and got himself married

 

Wooly’s  (Andy Woolford)  our rover, who shows little fear,

his love life improved, so’d his footy this year

 

Beefy’s  (Lyndon Andrews)  our medallist, you may well shed a tear

should you hear the false rumour, that he won’t play next year

 

Davey and Hitchy (Dave McCallum & Trevor Hitch)   unlucky this season

hurled abuse from the boundary , for no special reason

 

Goofrey (Geoff Slee)  was voted the best on the ground

and no harder  trier, out there could be found

 

Grant Mac’(Grant McCallum)  he’d lost us one game by a goal

but his performance that Saturday, was really top hole

 

Neville (McCallum) was there when the tempers were hottest

to sort a few out, just to keep ‘em all honest

 

Farmer (Roger Crawford)  fulfilled his childhood dream

he got his photo, in the A Grade premiership team

 

McAuliffe’s (Trevor )  got talent, of this there’s no doubt

kicks goals on an angle, from ninety yards out

 

Spanner (Dean Sanders) that night, far away he did roam

got lost at the golf club, couldn’t find his way home

 

It’s easy to see, with a team so great

Why we took out the finals in seventy eight

For three years straight we’d been a big flop

Then Rogger he took us from bottom to top

 

So take care of yourselves for the rest of the year

Lay off the smokes, the bad women and beer

‘Cos we’ll be there be it rain, hail or shine

And do it again in seventy nine

 

By Bentley C Foulis

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. What a great idea and an interesting read. Thank you for publishing this story.

    It reminds me of my own experience with Central Districts footballers/school teachers in the country.
    Lyndon’ “Seconds ruckman” John Spaans had retired by the time he was my year 10 home group teacher and then coached the school team in the state schools competition in year 12. I am happy for him to be credited with the first touch at Footy Park. But I am glad that at the time I didn’t know that he was a part of the Centrals team that ended my Sturt team’s run of premierships in 1971.
    Peter Bubner was a current player in the mid-80’s when he taught me maths/PE and coached the school team when I was in year 9.
    Living in the country you always wanted to do well when you got to play for one of these league footballers.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    I have just spent the best part of an hour reading and looking for links when I should have been doing something else. I don’t know Lyndon but as an impressionable football follower from the late late 60s, the early 70s CDFC finals at ‘The Oval’ against Norwood and Sturt captured the hearts of a lot of neutral SANFL followers at the time. I was there for both of them. And that lace-up guernsey was up there with the best at the time. So many names from the past. I got to know Richard Davis in the mid 90s when he was the principal at St Paul’s Lutheran School at Enfield. My two boys attended there in their primary years and I was on the council a short while. Always lots happening. I’m now a member of the Penfield Golf Club and have gotten to reminisce with Rick Vidovich on occasions. A great read and thanks for posting.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Lyndon for giving us such a wide-ranging account of your time in footy and for giving us the permission to distribute it widely and for posterity. That photo of the Centrals past players is priceless. Isn’t Kevin Johns in ripping nick.

    I ran this past Graham Cornes (who had already seen it via a relative of yours) and he remarked that “Footy is much more than Adelaide Oval and the MCG”

    Have you considered doing something similar about your time as an educator?

  4. Wonderful read. Many thanks Lyndon. As a West Torrens supporter 8 years younger than you (I was at Centrals first game in 1964 – wins were rare so I remember them) you provoked many great memories. Elizabeth was the only SANFL ground I never went to (grandad said it was a waterbag journey). Each suburban ground had it’s character and idiosyncrasies. I liked Richmond the least. Spectator mound was spartan and the oval always seemed greasy.
    So many wonderful players in that 1971 Centrals finals team. What a brilliant era for SA football.
    In the past players photo I could pick Kroehn and Morey without the captions. We all end up looking like our grandfathers!
    Footy ovals are each a unique character in the drama of sport. The stage as memorable as the play. You capture it brilliantly.
    Congratulations on a fine career in football and education (my wife – the Avenging Eagle – was a teacher). Anyone who blankets that turncoat Bob Shearman in a final (former Essendon player indeed) is a friend of mine.

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