Footy: Prato’s journey to Bulldogs not as exotic as Daw but no less remarkable

By Richard Jones

The Majak Daw story makes a nice yarn. But how about Maryborough boy, Eddie Prato, taken by the Western Bulldogs with pick No.58 in the AFL rookie draft?
Eddie spent most of 2009 playing basketball with the Ballarat Miners in the South East Australian Basketball League. At 6 ft 8 ins in the old, he might have seemed cut out for the hoops game.
But when his SEABL season had been completed Eddie played Rounds 16 and 17 of the Bendigo Football League season for Maryborough’s reserves.
Magpie senior coach Shane Fisher liked what he saw.
Eddie stepped up to the ones for the late August Peter Holliday Tribute Match against Kangaroo Flat and booted three goals. Holliday, a former Flat player, had been tragically killed in the Kokoda Track air crash.
Not content with those three goals in his debut senior match, Eddie landed three more the following weekend for the Bendigo Bomber reserves against the Werribee Tigers.
So his total of footy played in 2009: two BFL matches in the magoos, one senior BFL game and one VFL ressies outing.
He’s spent time since then training at the Whitten Oval. Now he’s on the Doggies’ rookie list.

Shane Fisher, the Maryborough coach, is crowing a little, spruiking to the district clubs from the Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League: see what can happen when you come in and play major-league country footy.


  1. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says


    Fascinating story.

    What is Eddie Prato’s ethnic background?

    And why is the Maryborough coach getting stuck into the clubs from the district footy league?


  2. Richard E. Jones says

    GOOD questions, Sir Rodney.
    Will follow up on the ethic background matter re Eddie, but the major league Maryborough club vs. the Maryborough-Castlemaine District F.L. clubs’ matter has been simmering — no, boiling — along for some seasons.
    Here’s some direct quotes from Maryborough coach Shane Fisher this week. Remember, former Maryborough and then Bendigo Bombers’ VFL player Stewart Crameri (from Italian heritage, of which there’s a rich vein in Maryborough) was also drafted this week.
    Stewy went pick 43 to Windy Hill after Essendon overlooked him by one spot 12 months ago.

    Back to Fisher. He said Prato’s and Crameri’s selections was a major boost for footy in Maryborough.
    “We’re trying to recruit players from the district level to play in the major league and improve their footy,” he said.
    “Eddie and Stewy played major league footy and now they’re going to the next level.
    “From my point of view Eddie being selected might prove to a few people around Maryborough that there is a pathway to the AFL if they come in and play major league footy.”
    {ROCKET — My maternal grandpa owned hotels, freehold, in Maryborough. I spent many a summer there as a kid and later as a teenager. In my first year vacation from Melb. Uni. I worked as a labourer on construction sites in the district that summer. It was bloody hot, but my co-workers looked forward to 6 pm becoz they knew I could get a couple of jugs of cold frothy for NO cost from grandpa.
    Very handy.
    Mind you, I go back some winter Saturdays these days to write up Maryborough’s BFL games for Monday’s Bendigo Advertisers. It’s not much of a town — very flat, featureless and not much going for it.
    Way back in the late 50s (and until the early 90s when they joined the Bendy F.L.) Maryborough played in the Ballarat F.L. Geelong West was also a member club of that league. I’m sure you remember that !
    I used to go to Princes Park to watch Maryborough play all those years ago. The gatekeepers’ boxes at Princes Park are still exactly as they were in the 1950s.}

  3. Richard – interesting story. I reckon big blokes get it so easy. All they have to do is stand there and take a grab or two and everyone raves. We small blokes on the other hand have to work our arses off for years.

    However, he does sound like a good prospect.

  4. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Thanks Richard.

    Never been to or seen a game at Princes Park, Maryborough but I believe its got one of the finest pieces of 19th century goldfields architecture in the form of the grandstand – is that right?

    Maryborough were in the Ballarat league when Rochy were in the Bendigo league. I recall star Eaglehawk forward Geoff Scott going to coach them. I think they are the Magpies, guess they were able to stay that way because they were black and white stripes and Castlemaine wore a black guernsey with a CFC monogram… Is the ‘Maine Maryborough’s local derby?

    The Maryborough Castlemaine District Football league is in pretty good shape isn’t it?

    Took a semi load of lucerne hay down to Newstead once – earned a few jugs of beer unloading it but alas no payola from the old man.

  5. Richard E. Jones says

    ROD: yep, Maryborough’s grandstand is a beauty, very similar in size and grandeur to the one which graces Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval. That one was finished in 1903-04. I’d reckon Maryborough’s would be of the same vintage.
    Castlemaine has worn the Collingwood strip, black and white vertical stripes, for many seasons now. The Maine are known as the Magpies, and so are Maryborough.
    Maryborough changed its strip some seasons back after a few years in the early-mid 90s in very similar colours to Castlemaine’s. The Maryborough Magpies now have a lot of white and a fair splash of teal in their strip, with a smaller dash of black.
    ii/. Spoke to Bendy Pioneers’ coach Mark Ellis over coffee at lunchtime today. He reckons Eddie Prato hails from Italian stock, but that’s only his opinion. More to come on that one.

    2/. Dips, as a small ‘tall’ of just 6 ft. 3 ins., I can’t for the life of me remember a rover or a ‘small’ winning a game when the chips were down, deep into time-on, last quarter.
    Yep, plenty of ball-gathering and little chip kicks into the forward line. But who rises above the pack to take the grab and kick the winning goal in the last, few seconds?
    It’d have to be a tall, wouldn’t it?
    Bobby Skilton might have won three Brownlows, but he also played just ONE final: a losing first semi, from memory.
    You might remember it, but I don’t can’t recall him winning a game off his own boot.

  6. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    The area has produced a few boys of Italian heritage to play VFL/AFL.

    I’m thinking Ron Barassi, Ron Auchettl, and Kevin Delmenico – all hail from Castlemaine, although I don’t think Barass ever played there.

    I’ve just checked on the Fullpoints footy website and see where probably one of your favourite players (since you love little blokes) – Tony Polinelli came from Maryborough – reckon he wore #35 & Billy Goggin wore #36 – both were superb stab passes of the football.

    Pretty sure RJ Skilton kicked 7 goals and virtually beat St Kilda off his own boot in the first round of 1968…which, of course, was another Brownlow year for him.

  7. Richard E. Jones says

    AH yes, Rocket, but did he soar in the air — head and shoulders — above a pack to snag the last mark of the day.
    And then go back and kick the winning six-pointer just seconds before the final siren ?

    I’ll bet Bobby’s goals all came from snazzy, little kicks from around about the half-forward line. From not much more than 35-40 yards out, in the old imperial jargon. Of course, there might have been the odd snap, perhaps over the shoulder even, closer in: from the F-F line!

    Polinelli, Goggin, Nipper Tresize, Peter Pianto, Syd Tate: all handy little blokes, extremely useful at setting up moves and plays.

    The Delmenicos used to have the Guildford pub, the same tiny town which produced the Barassi clan. Ronald Dale didn’t play for the Maine, I understand.

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