Blokes who grew up on dairy farms Team of the Century – latest

Blokes who grew up on dairy farms team of the century (latest)


On a post-wet evening in the western district, where the dams are full, and the puddles are many, and the footballers and cows are relishing the mud, the young dairy farmers (and some older ones) met for their conference and dinner at Glenormiston College.

They were there principally to hear the naming of the dairy farmers’ footy side.

There has been a lot of interest in this dairy farmers’ team since we mucked around with it at the dairy conference dinner at the MCG earlier this year.

Since then has received many comments with nominations, and the word has spread through the local press and radio and from herring-bone to herring-bone and beyond.

You can hardly pull up a three-leg stool without someone having something to say about it all.

So, from the nominations, we have picked another team – which is getting closer to the mark. It is sure to create discussion, if not argument. (You think we could find a place for John Williams in the team – that must be reconsidered.)

But here it is.


FB:          Francis Bourke                  Ian Salmon (the ‘cow technologist’)                        Gary Farrant

HB:         David McLeish                   Peter Knights                     John Devine

C:            Colin Watson (Capt-coach)          Brendan Edwards            Scratcher Neal

HF:         John Rantall                        Scott Lucas                          Anthony Stevens

FF:          Leon Harris                         Lindsay White                    Adrian Gleeson

Foll:        Darren Flanigan                                Paul Couch                          Ronny Wearmouth

Interchange: from  John Williams, Bernie Harris, Smirky Dwyer, Kevin O’Keefe, Neville Bruns, Doug Farrant, Chris Heffernan, Peter McIntyre, Brian Mackenzie, Daryl Salmon, Max Robertson, Gary Rohan, Alan Jarrot, the McDonald brothers (Anthony, Alex, James, Philip), Ben Cunnington, Craig Cleave.


Queries surround some possibles so if anyone can confirm their bona fides that would be great:

The Lord twins

Garry Wilson

Morrie Hearn – he became a dairy farmer at Yambuk

Scott Burns

Royce Hart

Greg Whittlesea

Bill McMaster

Josh Fraser

Ben McEvoy



As a result of all of the discussions, and the debate this is likely to generate, and the arrival of further nominations, we are saying that the team remains fluid, which is appropriate for the dairy industry, and that the Match Committee will meet from time to time to re-consider.

Your suggestions (and clarifications) are most welcome.





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Personally I wouldn’t allow dairy farmers to play football. They are perpetually faffing about at the nether end of quadrupeds (Yes, even on their holidays.) and are the vectors of dropsy and bag rot and prone to a variety of facial tics and grammatical howlers.

    Litza if you’re out there (and a boy from The Bool should be reading this) I’ve stolen your REDACTED idea for a small part of a small piece I’ve written for The Age on Sunday. Cheers.

  2. ajc

    Am reading this, by virtue of Gippsland dairy farmer lineage as well as being from The Bool (where dairy farming money is playing a pivotal role in the Warrnambool & District Football League)

    I’ve no proprietary license of REDACTED, nor concerns about any appropriation and look forward to the piece on Sunday…

  3. There is nothing new under the sun, except out of Warrnambool.

  4. Robin Grow says

    How could you overlook the late Ernie Hug, Collingwood player 1963-5 and 1967-70. member of Victorian team at the 1968 carnival. A major claim to fame was that he distributed hay on the farm in a Rolls-Royce. Returned to the farm and was tragically killed in a tractor accident

  5. Stone the Crows ! what about the Danihers! Four of them cobber and the great Willyswandog Barry Round. The all definitely milked cows and don’t forget Darren Berry. Trevor Steer (what a name for a farmer) also and he has made a mint in recent years on his farm out of Leongatha but they are meat producing.
    Fair dinkum mate
    PS here is another list cor blimey – Greg Daniels(Ess), Denis O’Callaghan (Coll), Wayne Deledio (Carl), Fred Rose (Carl), Charlie McInnes (Carl), Kane Munro (WC), Ernie Williamson (StK), Len Catton (Melb), Fred Cole St.K)

  6. JTH
    just some news that Adam McNicol’s father died at Manangatang last Saturday. Great shock to the family. Funeral in Mang Friday

  7. Barny, Josh's dad says

    Pretty sure ernie Hug was a beef farmer, there is a big difference between them and dairy farmers, was one myself, still do relief milking around Waaia, milk cows for people so they can have a day or night off. The Danihers were not dairy farmers, mainly cropping and sheep

  8. Dear John, Having grown up near Jindivick in beautiful West Gippsland I believe Barry Bourke came off a dairy farm at Jindivick, also home of Jindi cheese. Barry played for Melbourne in the 1964 winning premiership team and was a very good cricketer as well. I saw mention of Ablett’s father from a farm but he was training a few horses in Drouin when the boys were growing up, not farming. And Bill McMaster came off a sheep/crop farm at Lake Bolac, definitely not dairy country. Also, Trevor Steer who played in that ’64 grand final for the ‘pies came from Drouin but his father was a contractor I believe.

  9. Dairy farmer's daughter says

    Stephen Theodore, from St Kilda, grew up and I think to this day, remains on a dairy farm around Colac way; and so did Tim Pekin from Fitzroy. And while we are at it, are we sure that Luke Hodge isn’t in this category. His Gt-grandfather and grandfather were dairy farmers, but not sure whether his father was. Whether Theodore and Pekin are considerations for team of the century is a moot point, but if Hodgey’s credentials are verified, he would have to be the Team captain!

  10. From Paul Daffey’s report on the Hampden League Grand Final:

    “The score at the main break was 4.7 (31) to 3.4 (22) in favour of Warrnambool. Koroit then picked up the pace to win by 41 points. The men who guided the Saints to victory included former North Melbourne and St Kilda player Joe McLaren. Joe milks cows on the family’s farm at Woolsthorpe, just north of Koroit. He’s 37 years of age but apparently he’s lost none of his pace.”

    Sounds like Joe McLaren should be a nom at least.

  11. Stephen Theodore was one of the toughest and most feared players to pull the boots on. One Hampden interleague game Theodore was less than impressed with Mad Dog Muir’s rough treatment of a young kid during the match. Theodore, fearless and keen to protect the young team mate, ran the length of the ground and knocked Mad Dog Muir out cold, breaking his hand in the process.
    He was a tough but a fair opponent.

Leave a Comment