Big Bob Pascoe – Hard and rugged

Big Bob Pascoe in full-flight with North Adelaide

 

Bob Pascoe greeted me with a smile. Almost 80, he’s still a big man without carrying excess weight. Huge hands, barrel chest and tree-trunk legs. Diagonal scars line both knees, his left shin in a slight curve.

 

Five large black scrapbooks sat on the table. As the pages turn, Pascoe humbly described his career, talking about opponents and teammates in a measured tone.  The photos show his heavyweight physique and matinee looks. At his peak, Pascoe had muscles like bluestones, stood 191cm tall and weighed 102kg.

 

Starting out with North Adelaide in 1957, Pascoe transferred first to North Melbourne then St Kilda, playing against the best rucks and defenders of his era. When he quit the VFL, he spent three years as captain-coach of Burnie in Tasmania.

 

One of five brothers, Pascoe was captivated by sports and athletics as a kid. His competitive instincts were honed in the backyard and in impromptu games of football and cricket, where everything was a contest. As a teenager, he spent hours on the trampoline, building his agility. He recalls walking on his hands alongside his brothers up the street outside their house in Prospect.

 

At Marist Brothers College he discovered high-jumping, setting a school record that lasted a decade. ‘I was mad on sports,’ Pascoe said. ‘I wasn’t very academic. I was always down the back of the class. The teachers let me do what I wanted.’

 

At recess and lunchtime, Pascoe fled the classroom to play football and cricket with his brothers and mates. On weekends, it was the same. Football was his first love, but he had no ambition to play at the highest level. After leaving school, Pascoe took up baseball.

 

Pascoe’s mate, David Scolyer, helped set the path. Scolyer wanted to play for North Adelaide, but was nervous about fronting alone and wanted backup. ‘We used to ride to school together,’ Pascoe said. ‘He asked me to have a trial run with the junior colts at North Adelaide.’

 

In an era of open invitation, Pascoe and Scolyer were 16 when they fronted at Prospect Oval and asked to play. ‘No invite or anything like that,’ Pascoe said.

 

After the pre-season trial, Pascoe and Scolyer made North Adelaide’s junior Colts team. Scolyer didn’t progress any further. In Pascoe’s second year, he played for the Under 19s. In 1959, aged 18, Pascoe played his first game of SANFL football. The rise was swift, the introduction to senior football brutal. ‘It was hard and rugged,’ Pascoe said.

 

Debuting at full-forward, Pascoe quickly learned the hatred that burned in fullbacks. Although he was a teenager, Pascoe wasn’t interested in copping kidney punches, stomps on his feet or the abuse.

 

‘They’d be niggling you,’ he said, demonstrating a low, backwards punch. ‘I’d give them a whack in the balls or stick my leg out behind them and knock them over.’

 

That era of football was punctuated with violence, an accepted part of the game. Without cameras and with just one field umpire, Pascoe was happy to dish it out. ‘Nobody else saw it,’ he said with a smirk.

 

In 1960, North Adelaide finished second, behind Port Adelaide. In front of 29,233 fans, North Adelaide defeated Port by 10-points in the second semi-final. Their grand final opponents would be Norwood, coached by Alan Killigrew.

 

North Adelaide had a young side. Pascoe recalls at least four other players aged under 20 in that grand final team. In front of 54,162 people at the Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide led narrowly at each break and took a four-point lead into the last term. Describing the match as ‘willing’, he recalled having an average game. ‘I wasn’t playing well,’ he admitted.

 

In the final quarter, Norwood gained the ascendency. North Adelaide’s coach Jack McCarthy threw Pascoe into the ruck as the game played out its frantic final minutes.

 

On the wing, up against Bill Wedding, Pascoe leapt over the top. ‘I belted the ball to the flank to Barrie Barbary,’ he said. ‘He grabbed it on the bounce, drop-kicked the goal and we won by five points. It was the only good thing I did that day.’

 

The final score read 14.11.95 to 13.12.90. At 19, Pascoe was a premiership player. His self-described modest contribution turned the game. Killigrew took note.

 

After missing the finals in 1961-2, North Adelaide finished fourth in 1963. Victories over West Adelaide (24-points) and West Torrens (2-points) set up a grand final against Port Adelaide. This time, Pascoe trudged off the Adelaide Oval, with Port Adelaide winning by 33-points.

 

It was the last game Pascoe played for North Adelaide.

 

Shifting east

 

At 163cm tall, Alan Killigrew was nuggetty and rugged. Rejected by St Kilda in 1937, he spent a year with Murtoa in country Victoria before returning to St Kilda in 1938. He kicked 75 goals from 78 games between 1938 and 1945. After winning the best and fairest in 1941, Killigrew served three years with the Australian Navy in World War 2.

 

While on duty, Killigrew was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the spine and wasn’t expected to walk again. Three years of rehab in the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital kept him on his feet, but his body could no longer handle the rigours of football. He coached St Kilda from 1956-58 and Norwood from 1959-62. When he accepted the North Melbourne coaching position in 1963, Killigrew remembered Pascoe.

 

After starting his career at full-forward, Pascoe had grown into his skin and played mostly in the ruck or at centre-half-forward. Through 95 games with North Adelaide, he kicked 103 goals. Taking over a Prospect milk bar from his aunt, he quickly trebled the annual profit. His fame as a footballer helped.

 

When Killigrew came calling, Pascoe wasn’t interested. He’d already been to Melbourne, and had bitter memories of being rejected.

 

In 1961, Pascoe married Elaine. Their honeymoon was a road trip, to Melbourne for a few days then to Geelong. On a whim, Pascoe went to Kardinia Park. ‘I introduced myself to Bob Davis and asked if I could train with them,’ he recalled. ‘No way; Davis wouldn’t let anyone else in.’

 

Killigrew promised Pascoe it would be different at North Melbourne. They knew each other reasonably well, having played plenty of games of squash in Adelaide. ‘Do you think I could beat him?’ Pascoe said with a chuckle. ‘He was a bugger.’

 

But Pascoe declined the offer, not wanting to sell the delicatessen. He’d recently had a daughter, Jane Maree, born in 1962.

 

Undeterred, North Melbourne’s secretary Leo Schemnitz made another attempt, offering to sell Pascoe’s delicatessen for him. Pascoe remembers Schemnitz saying put your price on it, we’ll make it up if it doesn’t match. There were other influences too. ‘There was a bigshot in Adelaide, Vince Keene,’ Pascoe said. ‘He came out in a great big limousine, him and Killigrew.’

 

Keene and Killigrew hurried into the delicatessen, worried an SANFL official would see them about to poach a star player. Pascoe listened to their pleas and promises. ‘They talked me into it,’ he said. ‘Killigrew saw the potential. I virtually beat Norwood on my own one day.’

 

North Adelaide lost Bob Pascoe, but in 1964, they recruited his brother Barry. At 183cm tall, Barry was shorter but had the same, solid build as his brother. Across two seasons, Barry played 25 games for North Adelaide then sought a clearance to North Melbourne, to follow his brother. North Adelaide refused to clear Barry, and he was forced to miss the 1966 season.

 

North Melbourne

 

Pascoe celebrates the night premiership with Allen Aylett

 

Pascoe has a dedicated scrapbook for all the clubs he played with. Photos in the North Melbourne scrapbook show Pascoe in his prime, chiselled, strong and big. Action shots in packs, alone with the ball, in the ruck against the best. In 1964, he was 23.

 

Pascoe spent four years at North Melbourne. The club missed the finals each year. With an average list, Killigrew’s inspirational pre-match messages fired up his team. ‘He’d break out in a sweat and slobber,’ Pascoe recalled. ‘You’d end up feeling like you could run through the brick wall.’

 

After playing 17 games in 1964, injuries, including a broken collar bone limited Pascoe to 11 games in 1965. But he was adjudged best-on-ground in North Melbourne’s 40-point upset win over Carlton in the 1965 Night Premiership. The trophy was North Melbourne’s first silverware after 40 years in the VFL. A photo taken in the clubrooms after the game shows Pascoe, arm-in-arm with Alan Aylett, their fists raised in exuberant victory.

 

Round 7, 1966, Pascoe suffered a sickening injury against South Melbourne. Chasing a loose football, Pascoe and South’s Eric Sarich kicked at the ball at the same time. Sarich’s boot collided with Pascoe’s left shin and broke the tibia and fibula, the broken bones protruding through his shin.

 

The initial bout of surgery was unsuccessful, and Pascoe endured another operation to help the bones knit together and wore a calliper for six months. The injury left his shin with a noticeable curve. And it ruled him out of Victoria’s state side. Sympathetic Victorian officials gave Pascoe and jumper and blazer regardless.

 

At the end of the season, North Melbourne secured Barry Pascoe from North Adelaide. The brothers would play VFL football for the first time together.

 

Round 1, 1967, Pascoe wore padding on his misshapen leg. He had no confidence in the leg or the padding, and discarded it at half-time. ‘It never bothered me after that,’ he said.

 

North Melbourne won seven games in 1967 and finished eighth. Pascoe finished 3rd in the best and fairest. It was his best year of VFL football, but he would be left embittered.

 

Pascoe had a good contract for that era, which included a retainer plus match payments. During the off-season, club secretary Leo Schemnitz tried negotiating a new deal. ‘We called him Shifty Schemnitz,’ Pascoe said.

 

Schemnitz’s new deal was the retainer without match payments. ‘That started the dispute over the contract,’ Pascoe said.

 

With North’s captain, Noel Teasdale retiring, Schemnitz claimed the only way to pay Pascoe more was if he accepted the captaincy. Angrily, Pascoe rejected that offer. ‘I told him I don’t want to be bloody captain.’

 

As an added aggravation, Barry’s renegotiated contract didn’t include match payments.

 

Pascoe engaged a solicitor, John Allen, to negotiate the deal. Schemnitz wouldn’t budge. The club held a meeting at the North Melbourne Town Hall. Pascoe had the support of the members, but not the committee. The back page headline the following day told the story, Kangaroos sack the Pascoes.

 

Sacked over money. The news stunned rival club officials. ‘We had phone calls from Melbourne, Richmond and St Kilda to go there,’ Pascoe said. ‘I was really playing good footy at that time.’

 

St Kilda

 

St Kilda stood out. Premiers in 1966, coach Alan Jeans made contact. Pascoe was offered a trip to Singapore as part of the contract. A few days later, having signed with St Kilda, he talked up his new club for a bunch of journalists. One scribe asked why he left North Melbourne. ‘I went to St Kilda because they’re a better class of player,’ Pascoe said.

 

His answer simply described St Kilda’s strong list, but the quote became a headline and was interpreted differently at North Melbourne. Inadvertently, Pascoe had dumped on his former teammates. ‘They were a great bunch of blokes,’ he said. ‘They turned against me. Without thinking, I’d put my foot in it.’

 

At St Kilda, Pascoe found Jeans was an innovative coach, coolly passionate without Killigrew’s brimstone approach. Jeans demanded his players stick to the game plan. ‘Jeans was tactical,’ Pascoe said. ‘Jeans would say you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to stay there.’

 

After eight rounds, St Kilda were 7-1 and second to Geelong on the ladder. In round nine, the clubs clashed at Kardinia Park. During the third quarter, Pascoe was reported for kicking John Sharrock. ‘I didn’t kick him,’ Pascoe explained. ‘He got knocked over and the ball was coming. I was following it and I ran over his stomach.’

 

Boundary umpire Ray Frost reported Pascoe for standing on Sharrock’s stomach and kicking him in the ribs. In the rooms after the game, Pascoe wasn’t worried. ‘I thought that’s bullshit, I’ll get off of that.’

 

At the tribunal, Frost said Pascoe had run five yards towards Sharrock. ‘The ball was well away,’ Frost said. It was quite deliberate. Pascoe jogged into Sharrock and brought his right foot into his front. It was a particularly vicious kick. Pascoe stood on Sharrock with his left foot while delivering the kick with his right.’

 

Sharrock was notably vague. ‘I couldn’t say at all,’ he said. ‘It could’ve been a kick or a hip, or anything. It just knocked the wind out of me. It was just a bump. I couldn’t say what it was.’

 

While admitting he could distinguish a kick from a bump, Sharrock said he couldn’t recall Pascoe standing on him. Player Advocate Charlie Gaudion told the tribunal Sharrock felt no stops. He wasn’t even sure that it was a kick.’

 

The tribunal thought otherwise, taking 20 minutes to find Pascoe guilty and suspending him for 11-weeks. Back then, the VFL played 18 rounds. The huge suspension ended Pascoe’s, unless St Kilda made the grand final. ‘I nearly fainted,’ he said of the tribunal verdict.

 

Frost’s report and the suspension burned within the Pascoe brothers. Not long afterwards, St Kilda’s squad went for a Sunday morning run along Beaconsfield Parade. The umpires were out on a run too. Barry saw Ray Frost among the group, jumped a fence and chased him. ‘Barry took care of it,’ Pascoe said.

 

The chase didn’t go unnoticed. Footballers can be reported for off-field incidents against umpires. The Pascoe brothers are at it again screamed the headlines. ‘There was a hell of a blue,’ Pascoe recalled. Barry was reported for misconduct, but escaped suspension by writing an apologetic letter.

 

In 1968, St Kilda finished fourth and played Geelong at the MCG in front of 98,885 people. Barry showed his class, gathering 28-possessions in a 24-point loss as his brother recovered from a life-threatening kidney operation in hospital.

 

St Kilda missed the finals in 1969, but Pascoe and Elaine welcomed a new daughter, Rebecca. In 1970, St Kilda rebounded to finish third. Pascoe missed a few games with injury during the year, and the trend would continue in the semi-final against South Melbourne at the MCG in front of 104,239 people. ‘When you run out onto the ground, it hits you,’ Pascoe recalled.

 

His spent most of the day on the bench and ended up with one kick. He wasn’t selected for the preliminary final against Carlton. He never played another VFL game.

 

At season’s end, Pascoe was 29. Working for Michelin Tyres, a colleague, Mick Keating, had a brother working the wharf in Tasmania. The brothers were talking footy. One morning, Mick relayed an offer. Three years as captain-coach of Burnie in Tasmania. Pascoe was interested. Burnie flew Pascoe and Elaine to Tasmania and the offer was laid out. A three-year contract. Free rent and more money than St Kilda were offering.

 

Back in Melbourne, Pascoe considered the offer. ‘I was getting on a bit, so I took that into consideration. The money was better, but it wasn’t about money.’

 

Pascoe would need to break his contract with St Kilda, which had a year to run. He went anyway.

 

Burnie – North West Football Union

 

St Kilda fought to keep Pascoe. Club secretary Ian Drake applied to the VFL to defer Pascoe’s clearance to Burnie for a year. Drake said Pascoe’s chances of a clearance ‘looked slim’ and hinted the two clubs were trying to work it out.

 

In that era, to work it out meant arguing over money. ‘It appears certain Pascoe does not intend coming back to play in Melbourne and we are just trying to seek a way around his commitment,’ Drake said. ‘The club has never refused to clear players to Tasmania.’

 

Pascoe, already in Tasmania, refused to return. After a short wrangle, his clearance was sorted. ‘There was a bit of money handed over,’ he said. ‘It all went through pretty easily.’

 

He rented the South Oakleigh house to Fitzroy Football Club’s secretary, and moved the family to Tasmania. Burnie Football Club owned the Bay View Hotel and gave Pascoe the keys, as licensee. The pub was quickly transformed, the dining hall renovated into a disco with fluorescent paint on the walls, a city landscape complete with skyscrapers and rivers. When the fluoro lights went on, everything lit up.

 

An FJ Holden was cut in half, complete with working headlights for the DJ. Black and white tiles were laid on the floor. The disco was named the Bay Rock Disco and people from all over Tasmania booked in for the weekend. ‘We just killed it,’ Pascoe said. ‘We paid the pub off when I was there. It was in the shit before that.’

 

To earn extra money, Pascoe crushed bluestone rock at Mount Barrow, a decent motorbike ride out of Launceston. Paid by the yard, the bluestone became crude roads into the bush for the loggers. ‘We crushed thousands of yards in a big crusher,’ Pascoe said. ‘It was big money.’

 

In Tasmania’s chill, Pascoe wore shorts, a hat and a pair of boots while crushing. To extract the bluestone, it had to be blasted. ‘We handled gelignite and dynamite,’ he said with a grin. ‘We used to crimp the caps with our teeth. One bloke blew his fingers off.’

 

Occasionally, Pascoe went to the river at lunchtime, loaded the gelignite, lit the fuse and threw it in. Downriver, he’d retrieve bucket loads of concussed trout. ‘We got up to some things,’ he said. ‘We used to have some fun.’

 

Fun aside, and despite his playing experience, Pascoe found the transition into coaching difficult at first. Addressing a group of expectant players was a new form of pressure. ‘I was very self-conscious,’ he said. ‘No confidence in myself because I didn’t think I was good enough.’

 

Aged 30, he was one of Burnie’s oldest players. He taught the rucks and rovers how to set up for boundary throw-ins and ball-ups. ‘I’d hold the ruck out,’ Pascoe said. ‘A lot of the blokes couldn’t believe how strong I was.’ He smiled.

 

In 1972, Pascoe captain-coached Burnie into the grand final against La Trobe, who were coached by former St Kilda star Daryl Baldock. In the second quarter, Pascoe tore his hamstring. At halftime, he recalls having four or five injections into the muscle in a bid to keep playing.

 

Pascoe limped through the second half. La Trobe ended up winning by 22-points, 11.16.82 to 8.12.60. Across three years, Pascoe built a strong side. He represented the NWFU each year and in 1973 he captained Tasmania against Victoria in Hobart.

 

Having missed out on playing for South Australia and Victoria, captaining Tasmania was a great honour. ‘I knew a lot of the players,’ Pascoe said. ‘There was Nicholls and Paddy Guinane waiting for me. We put up a pretty good show but they were too classy.’

 

Victoria ran out winners by 35-points, 11.23.89 to 8.6.54.

 

Late in the season, Pascoe injured his right knee. The torn cruciate ligament forced his retirement. Club officials begged him to stay, offering to keep him as coach. Pascoe refused, and the family returned to Victoria.

 

The following season, former St Kilda player John Bonney returned home to Tasmania and stepped in as coach. ‘He won the premiership that year,’ Pascoe said with a rueful grin. ‘Bonney had a readymade side to take on. A couple of Burnie players went to Melbourne and played in the VFL.’

 

Pascoe built the team. Bonney finished it off.

 

In 1970, Barry Pascoe played six games with St Kilda. A serious knee injury, a cruciate ligament, forced his retirement. He went to Albury, coached for a few years and ended up managing Cleanaway’s waste-processing facility. Pascoe remembers Barry, who died in 2007, as a skilful ruck-rover. ‘Tough as nails,’ he said.

 

 

Upon reflection

 

Pascoe with a couple of trophies at home in Brisbane –

When Bob Pascoe first went to North Adelaide, he didn’t think he’d last that first preseason. But he had that competitive instinct, honed in the backyard with his brothers. ‘I had to beat everyone,’ he said.

 

Aside from losing repeatedly to Killigrew at squash, Pascoe whipped teammates at table-tennis. He could walk the length of a football field on his hands and arm-wrestled for money in pubs, winning bets of up to $500 a wrestle. ‘I used to get a lot of money.’ He smiled. ‘I never ever got beat in arm-wrestling.’

 

Playing in a semi-professional era where every footballer had a job or went to university, the only trade Pascoe had was a pastry cook, having started in a bakehouse at 13. During his career, he sent time fitting tyres, landscape gardening, selling cars, working in bakeries, pubs and crushing rocks. ‘I reckon I had 20 or 30 jobs because you couldn’t settle into places,’ he said.

 

Unlike a lot of players in that era, he trained alone. Running up and down St Kilda beach. Using weights. Trampolining for agility. ‘I liked training,’ Pascoe said. ‘I really worked hard. Built up my lats and arms so I could hold a bloke out in the ruck and put it where I want.’

 

Pascoe reflected on a few photos in the scrapbooks. In 1966, he was one of the premier ruckmen in the VFL, up against Polly Farmer, John Nicholls, John Schultz, Neville Crowe, Don McKenzie, Ray Gabelich and Ken Beck. The photos told the story. ‘Without bragging, I was as good a ruckman as any of them,’ he said, pointing at a photo. ‘You never see ruckmen like that anymore. They just push each other now.’

 

Compared to the SANFL, Pascoe found the VFL a better standard, more playing on, more handball and stab-passing. ‘It was tougher,’ he recalled. ‘Much faster.’

 

He kicked a lot of goals for a ruck, 103 (95 games) with North Adelaide, 37 (53 games) at North Melbourne and 32 (36 games) for St Kilda. The umpires awarded him 10 Brownlow votes during his VFL career. ‘I was a good kick and handball,’ he said. ‘One asset I had being a ruckman was I was good on the ground and strong on the ground.’

 

Pascoe enjoyed playing for North Melbourne more than any other club. His teammates made North Melbourne a great place to play, and he was reluctant to leave them. ‘But the administration were a shifty bloody mob,’ he said.

 

He played 228 games for four clubs, but it could’ve been more. Pascoe missed 37 VFL games through injury and suspension. He seemed to be reported at crucial times. While playing for North Adelaide, Pascoe received four weeks for kicking a Glenelg opponent. The suspension meant he was unable to represent South Australia.

 

In a night game, he was reported for tripping Ted Whitten, and was cleared by the tribunal. All up, he was reported four times for kicking, copping two lengthy suspensions. It led to opposition supporters nicknaming him Boots.

 

After returning to Melbourne from Tasmania, Pascoe sold their South Oakleigh house. The family returned to Adelaide, where Bob coached a local Woodville side.

 

In 1976, he spent a year with Solomontown Football Club in Port Pirie. ‘They’d fly me up in a light aircraft and I’d play and they’d fly me home,’ Pascoe said. ‘If I wanted to spend the weekend I’d drive my car up with the family and stay in a hotel.’

 

When Pascoe flew or drove home from Port Pirie, his knees and ankles ached. He’d been playing football for sixteen years. Solomontown were paying $800 a game, more than he earned per game previously. Money wasn’t the issue anymore. ‘I knew I was buggered,’ he admitted.

 

That was it. Injury doesn’t discriminate. The scars on Pascoe’s knees tell the story. Three knee replacements, because one didn’t work. The curved left shin with the wide scars where the bones broke through.

 

From Melbourne, the family went back to Adelaide, made their way to Albury and on a visit to Brisbane decades ago, bought a house. ‘I made a lot of money out of football,’ Pascoe said. ‘I was very lucky. It opened a lot of doors for me.’

 

In 1996, Pascoe attended the AFL’s Centenary ball at the Rod Laver Tennis Centre. Seated at St Kilda’s table, North Melbourne’s table was nearby. Despite the years, that comment, a better class of player, still rankled with many of his former teammates. ‘A couple of them I was still mates with,’ Pascoe said. ‘But the others gave me the arse.’

 

Pascoe still enjoys a good game of football, but described the modern version as claustrophobic. ‘It’s so stop-start now. It’s not open play,’ he said. ‘When I played it was more open. You played your position. The flankers played the flank and you always knew where someone was. You didn’t have to look. You knew you had a mate down there.’

 

Long after he retired, Pascoe remains disappointed with North Adelaide’s 1963 premiership defeat and the injuries and suspensions that disrupted his VFL career. Timing didn’t help either.

 

After being sacked by North Melbourne, he could’ve gone to Richmond, who won the premiership in 1969. St Kilda recruited Pascoe two years after their 1966 premiership, and he quit the Saints a year before they lost the 1971 grand final to Hawthorn.

 

In a 2011 interview, Alan Jeans lamented the five grand finals he lost as coach, including the 1971 premiership. ‘I lost in the ruck each time,’ Jeans said.

 

I asked Pascoe if 1971 could’ve been different, had he stayed at St Kilda.

 

With a smile, Pascoe went to speak. Then he smiled and shrugged.

 

 

 

 

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About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…

Comments

  1. Warwick Nolan says

    Thank you Matt. Really enjoyed this piece.

  2. Terrific stuff Matt. As an 8yo I was at the 1963 SANFL Preliminary Final that my West Torrens lost to Pascoe’s Roosters by 2 points. I was distraught. Should get over it soon.
    Have clearer memories of Barry rather than Bob. He was more brilliant and quite the matinee idol. Would have been a star and the better player in the VFL if he had not had a bad knee injury.
    Noel Teasdale came over and coached West Torrens for a while in the 70’s. More bad memories.
    Torrens had a link to Essendon after Dick Reynolds coached us in 1963. Bob Shearman and John Birt came over and played for us. Also John Cassin who Barassi whipped into line at the Kangaroos after being a total lunatic at Torrens. Definitely “Mad Dog” when I saw him.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for this Matt. The Pascoes were just names to me, you’ve filled in lots of gaps, as once they moved east, they weren’t mentioned much in SA at all.

  4. Richard Solomon says

    Bob and Barry both tough nuts and what a sad day for the ROOSTERS when they both went to the VFL.My Dad was acting NA doctor and at half time Bob showed him his scar where he had had his kidney removed by my Dad when Bob was about 11 years old . My Dad at the time was Chief Honorary Surgeon at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Dr George Solomon and his great friend Dr Sid Krantz were club doctors in the 1950’s and both are NA life members.

  5. Daryl Schramm says

    Pascoe is a footballing name I had forgotten about and not referred to in any recent readings of mine. Thanks for the story Matt. A good read.

  6. matt watson says

    Thanks Warwick. Pleased you enjoyed it.
    Peter – your memory for footy is great. It’s amazing how football heartache seems to hang over us more than the successes. I guess there’s always a what-if element to living.
    Richard – amazing that your dad did Bob’s surgery. He had another kidney operation in 1968. The doc didn’t expect him to live through the night.
    Bob is nearly 80 and still fighting fit so your dad certainly helped!!
    Daryl it was a pleasure. I would like to reach out to former SANFL/VFL footballers living in south east Queensland and chat to them.
    There must be a heap!

  7. Enjoyed your article very much Matt.What a career and life.All the best to him.Bob was magnificent.I had the pleasure of being his partner in the ruck in that Tasmanian team.He was a great captain and Darrel Baldock coach.I think we gave them a run for their money that day.I also had the displeasure of playing against him at one stage.I was with Melb Reserves mid 60’s and he was coming back from injury.Might have been the broken leg.Great memories.

  8. Martin P Pascoe says

    Im his Youngest brother Martin Pascoe. Bob in fact had 6 Brothers and 1 sister, so he was the oldest of a family of 8 kids. You are right that the first 5 Brothers were all born more or less by the 50s and the other three including me, the youngest and the ‘black sheep’ of the tribe , came much later into the mid 60s. Bob also has tributes to him at the MCG in the inner sanctrum. I saw these photos and salutes when I worked as a Journalist there in the 2000s. Just one more thing Bob does not turn the big 8-0 until mid Feb 2021! but this is a well written very accomplished and very well researched story on Big Bad Bob Pascoe

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I missed your earlier comment Matt. I think Big Dean Farnham might still be floating around in SEQ. He’d be good for a natter. He bobs up to a few Lions past player functions.

  10. Mark Righetti says

    My Dad Dan Righetti lived next door to the Pascoe boys and went to same school . He remembers them well (specifically Bob and Barry walking on their hands past his home) the Deli was next door on Braund Rd Prospect. Dads 86 now (and a one eye roosters supporter) and still remembers em well

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