Football Corowa style 2015


The Ovens and Murray (O&M) Football League is one of the stronger rural football competitions in the nation.   Teams are drawn from both sides of the Murray River, with the football being of a high quality. I’d not been to an O&M game for a few years, so what better time than now!

I caught up with our good mate Simon Mac, and then the journey started from North Fitzroy, up through Victoria’s majestic North-East, then across the mighty Murray to Corowa.

Corowa – Rutherglen formed in 1979. Both clubs had long histories, Rutherglen being a power house prior to World War One, with thirteen flags in twenty years; however since that point Rutherglen could never again scale those heights, with only two more flags in the next sixty years. Corowa did not have the same level of good fortune, as Rutherglen had in their halcyon years, Corowa only managing two flags. The two sides being only separated by the Murray River, and a short drive, merged in 1979. Since then the merged club has been a steady side in the O & M, with premierships in 2000 and 2003.

John Foord Oval, Corowa, on a wintry Saturday, can be a cold place. Warm people, but the weather is another issue. Simon and I caught up with my Uncle Frank, who played with Corowa in the 1950’s. The first half went well for the locals who played alongside the attacking flank in front of the scoreboard, and hopes were high for a home town victory.

At half time the locals were in a strong position 27 points up, Wodonga having only managed 2-2-14, seemingly on their way to passing their previous lowest score between the two teams, a tally of 6-3-39 back in 2011. The second half was a different ball game, with Wodonga finishing the stronger.

For Wodonga Daniel Bradshaw, the former AFL player was a noticeable performer. Bradshaw was recruited from Wodonga, had a sterling career in Brisbane including two premierships, followed by a short spell in Sydney before injuries curtailed his career at AFL level. He obviously thought there was still plenty of footy in him returning to Wodonga to pull on the boots. Bradshaw finished the match with four goals, three from strong marks, and the other from a free late in the final term. His duel with Corowa vice – captain Alastair Austin was a highlight.

Corowas’ backline was led by the redoubtable pair of Kade Kuschert and Alastair Austin. Re the latter, how he missed out on being included in the Ovens and Murray representative squad has risen more than a few eyebrows!  Holding Albury’s Setanta OHailpin goalless and then holding Yarrawonga’s Brendan Fevola to a solitary major is a fine achievement, yet Austin was not deemed sufficient for inclusion in the representative squad. Hmmm, maybe Brendan Fevola in his coaching role decided Austin was too good for inclusion. Strange things happen.

A Corowa player who put in a noteworthy performance was Sam Carpenter. He originally came from down past Frankston, on the Mornington Peninsula. What was exceptional is that due to a work related incident he has no left hand; none the less the nuggety number 14 played a strong game.

One other point that can’t be let ride pertains to the umpiring.  When a side scores ten goals, five/half were from umpiring decisions, it is contentious. The hoots of the Corowa supporters said it all. Can one umpire, in particular the unnamed, though for want of better terminology, the hirsute challenged umpire, influence a result in this manner? Both sides copped some bad decisions but Wodonga got a decent run of decisions near the goal front, possibly impacting on the result.

Wodonga finally came home 10-9-69 to Corowa-Rutherglen 8-7-65. I’d been a good luck charm to the home side for along time, as i can’t recall the last time i saw them go down, but nothing lasts for ever. One interesting spectator in the crowd was Wodonga horse trainer, Brian Cox. Onya Coxy .Congratulations to Wodonga on their victory; for the home side a home match versus bottom side Myrtleford awaits. Go Roos!




  1. Tony Robb says

    Thanks Glen
    ‘Its one of the prettier ground in the country surrounded by river gums. Ive spent many a day in my youth at Corowa and stopped at the ground last year. The trunk carving at the front gate is a ripper.

  2. There is nothing like day at Country footy off to watch Kakee play later in the year with a mate who lived down there. (it’s one of the few grounds that’s in a “paddock” not a town)

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hey Glen, how was the “match day experience”? What was the crowd, how many of them ventured out from their cars?

    What about catering? Were there big vats full of plump red saveloys on sale from a trestle table covered in a red and white checked tablecloth?

  4. The crowd? A guestimmate, is that how you spell it, maybe a four figure sum. Lots of cars around the fenceline, with the fact the netball took place simultaneously om the neighbouring field, saw a decent crowd for an overcast, wintry day. It was a bigger crowd than i’ve seen at Tungamah and Donald over the last few years

    The tucker: Pies, sausage rolls, potatoe cakes, were all avaialble. The sandwiches my nan used to prepare for the Corowa home games were not to be seen. Mark,the trestle table withe big red and white tablecloth was out of sight, though not out of mind.

    I’d like to get to another game this year, maybe the next Yarrawonga clash.

    The future is unwrittem.



  5. Rocket Singers says

    I’m guessing that Yarra is now the local derby for Corowa-Rutherglen now that they don’t paly each other?

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