Carn the Burgers

I followed Port Melbourne loyally through the last few decades of the twentieth century. In this period one our great rivals was Coburg. The two clubs had many stirring duels; my favourite memory pertains to the 1980 Grand Final. Coburg lost only four games for the season, all to Port Melbourne. In a low scoring Grand Final Coburg had a good lead mid way through the final term, but a late burst saw Port Melbourne run out premiers, our first win of a three peat.

Coburg had some great players in this time, a halcyon period for them. They collected three in First Division 1979, with a double in 1988, 1989. There were also two in Second Division, 1970-1974. I was present for their 1979 victory where in a free flowing close encounter where they defeated Geelong West. The final margin was 8 points. One of the low points of the day was a savage attack on Geelong West defender John Scarlett, the father of Geelong champion Matty Scarlett. The former Geelong and South Melbourne defender was brutally hit, casing him series injuries. This unsavory episode took a bit of the gloss of Coburg’s victory.

Though Coburg as we knew them are no more, there are plenty of strong memories of that time. I though hmm, the Burgers were a strong team in that period. Let me test the grey matter in my head, not on my head, and pick the best Burgers players I recall from that halcyon perid. The Captain Coach of this side can be no other than the former member for Wills, Phil Cleary.

B: D Hartigan, R Evans, J Douglas

HB: G Sheldon, B Nimmo, A Eade

C: G Halbert, L Burt, B Allison

HF: P Cleary (CC), K Ingram, G Reynoldson

F: T Price, R Smith R Halsall

Foll: M Weideman, T Rienets, T Dohnt

Inter: V Taranto, B Kaakour, A Bassett, A Harbinson

Some handy players in the list ,with a few who appeared at AFL/VFL level including Mark Weideman, Robert Smith, Tim Rienets and John Douglas. It’s worth mentioning that John Douglas also enjoyed a few years appearing with Victorian Cricket Side.


  1. Rod Oaten says

    Glen, The Burgers had a great victory over Port Melbourne at North Port Oval last Saturday. The previous week they thrashed last years VFL Premiers, Footscray. They are a great team, full of tough fair dinkum footballers. I reckon the future looks bright for the Coburg Footy Club, a proud stand alone club.

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