Geelong West, a team you can’t resist

 

by Glen Davis

What’s the name of the team, many Almanackers might say, especially the younger ones. Geelong West Football Club as we knew it  is no more, amalgamating with St Peters in 1988. But prior to that they had strong, proud history. They won 25 Geelong District Football Association (GDFA) premierships, four Ballarat Football League (BFL) premierships, and four Victorian Football Association (VFA) premierships, three in Second Division and one in First Division.

In the 1970’s they became the only team i am aware of , apart from Preston in the 1960’s, to win premierships in both First and Second Division in the same decade. It was a halcyon period for them. Relegated at the end of 1971, they went through the following year undefeated and won the Second Division premiership. Spearhead Graeme McLean kicked 137 goals, reaching his ton by R 12.  They were the first team to remain undefeated throughout a season since North Melbourne in 1918. Spearhead Graeme McLean kicked 137 goals reaching his ton by R 12. Back in First Division in 1973 they narrowly missed out on the finals, and Graeme McLean kicked 99 goals. They won the First Division flag in 1975, and were runners up in a tight, spiteful grand final against Coburg in 1979.

This decade saw two century goal kickers, McLean, and Joe Radojevic, who kicked 119 goals in 1975. Quite a few players made the transition to the Victorian Football League, including Terry Bright, and the Browne brothers, and there was the unforgettable administrator, the legendary Dudley, ‘Tiger’, D’Helin, always ready with a quip, or a quote.

So after all of this let’s put together a Geelong West side of the decade. I will use some ‘literary’ licence, because i’m a picking a side of 22, unlike the 18 players teams of the VFA in the 1970’s. As we recall there were no wingmen in those days.  OK, here we go.

B: B Eddy, J Smith, H Smith

H/B: J Kline, J Friend, I Russell

C: D Harris, A Gilmore, G Wells

H/F: R Browne, P Stephens, T Bright

F: G McLean, J Radojevic, S Wells

Foll: W Yates, M Browne, W Goggin

Inter: D Manson, A Lynch, G Middlemiss, P Evans

Emer: R Deeath,  J Barry, T Colley, C Arklay

Coach: W Goggin

Cheers,

Glen!

Comments

  1. Aaaah the memories of the 70s VFA days. Was a Dandy fan myself but given the Channel 0 rotations you got to see all the teams regularly. Some great names there, Glen. Use to love the FF shoot outs with Frosty Miller, your Joe, Freddy Cook etc. Testing my memory, but I seem to recall that the Geelong West ground was unusual, did it have a bike track around it or am I confusing it with something else?

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Glen,

    I remember the scenes in Geelong in ’75 when the team got back to Geelong.

    I went to the ’79 pennant decider.

    Some great names and memories.

    Cheers.

  3. Peter Flynn says

    A character by the name of Hoggy used to shake the Ch 0 commentary box and yell abuse at Gibbs, Henrys etc.

    As a result Gibbs at one stage placed a ban on going to Geelong West home games.

    Classic.

  4. smokie88 says

    Glen,
    Joe Radojevic: champion goal-kicker, champion footy-trip organiser.
    Flynny,
    Williamstown has a “Hoggy” also. He has now passed on, but the
    bar-b-que in front of the W.L. Floyd Pavilion is named in his honour.

  5. Glen – Coburg in the 70’s won flags in 1st Div, 1979, as you mentioned in your terrific piece & 1974 in 2nd Div, after they were relegated the previous season when they lost the epic “Battle of Bell Street” match against Preston.

    Would’ve loved to see you find a place for Alex Andjelkovic, a member of the all conquering ’72 Roosters and a very handy quick bowler for the mighty Dogs in District Cricket – Player No109, took a “seven for” one afternoon.

    MCR

  6. Good points alamancers. The GW ground, the Western Oval, did indeed have a bike track around it. The Channel 0 commentary van was almost overturned after a close victory by Geelong West over Port Melbourne in 1979. To my memory the margin was 3 points, and former Footscray/Richmond centreman, David Thorpe, then at Port Melbourne, suffered a bad knee injury. Good point Mic, i forgot about the Burgers. AA, my memory of him is very faint, sorry Thanks all for your feedback.

  7. Alovesupreme says

    I can point to the precise date on which Geelong West began to roll in 1964. They had joined the VFA in 1963. That mine of misinformation, the internet, offers conflicting views of their first season, some claiming that they missed finals football by a whisker, with another (which accords with my unreliable memory) indicating they finished 2nd last.
    The Roosters lost their first four matches of 1964, and were then home to Mordialloc. Mordi (coached by Ron Porta – Footscray and South Melbourne) had been strengthened by the arrival of three useful players from Moorabbin as well as my brother from South Melbourne Reserves, and were flying, and approached this match over-confidently. The team travelled by rail motor to Geelong in high spirits and returned with their tails between their legs. This sparked a run by Geelong West – 11 wins from 14 matches to get them to the finals. They won the flag by winning three successive matches, Mordi went out in straight sets from 2nd at the end of the home and away matches.
    I’ve played on the ground with the concrete bike track, which was a bit disconcerting, but realistically players were less likely to hit it, than to be run into a fence at other grounds.

  8. Glen – You are correct sir, 3 point margin in favour of the Roosters 18.18-126 to 18.15-123. I believe that game was the sixth, and last, game the great David Thorpe (Player No: 1370) played with the Borough.

    Marc Fiddian recently released a book on the history of the Roosters. Great club, well worth a read I’m sure.

    MCR

  9. Mike Helman says

    My memory tells me that Peter McKenna played one or two seasons for West. I was having a discussion with an ex West Premiership Player Bert Gratton about whether Sam Newman played a few games at West.
    Are you able to tell me please?
    Thanks

  10. Mike your post was in 2013 but here goes on Sam Newman. Yes he did play at least one practice match with Geelong West which was, from memory, at Coburg. Having just finished at Geelong he fronted up with a view to playing perhaps for the season but he did unluckily cop an errant and accidental knee in the back during that Coburg match resulting in a hospital stay and, again from memory, the loss of a kidney. So ended his brief foray into the VFA.

  11. Hmmm, unsure of that point Chris. To my recollection he lost a kidney as a result of a heavy knock during the Geelong V Collingwood, 1st semi final in 1967.

    Peter McKenna went to Geelong West in 1978, then Captain Coached Port Melbourne in 1979.

    Glen!

  12. John Lappin says

    did Alan Julien ever play for Geelong West

  13. G’day John. You’ve got me totally stumped there.

    Who was/is Alan Julien and when was he playing ?

    Glen!

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