James Grapsas’s Blast from the Past: Daryl Vernon

A blast from the past: Daryl Vernon.

 

By James Grapsas

 

The football feats and off-field lives of many of the stars of the VFL/AFL are well documented. However, these legends of the game comprise only a small percentage of those who have been privileged to play football at the highest level. To gain a well-rounded perspective of football history, it’s important to hear the stories of players who did not spend quite as much time in the limelight. The recollections of these players usually provide a fresh perspective, a view that is different from the well understood histories of many of the stars of our game.

 

Recently, I was privileged to speak with former Richmond and Sydney Swans player Daryl Vernon, who played a total of 17 VFL games from 1981 to 1985. Standing at 175 cm, or almost 5’ 9” in the old scale, and noticeable with his blond hair, Vernon was quick and played mainly in the midfield, with occasional roles as a back pocket or small forward.

 

Vernon’s story includes playing with the Swans in their formative years in Sydney, experience in various competitions across the country and a significant contribution to grassroots football.

 

Starting out at Richmond

 

Daryl played his first senior game for Richmond in 1981[1] after being recruited from Essex Heights in the Mount Waverley area. “We were fortunate to win five or six flags from juniors to under 17s”, Vernon explained. “To play in premierships[2] with your friends was special and I still keep in contact with some of my teammates”. Vernon’s teammates at Essex Heights included Steve Bann, a golf coach who coached Stuart Appleby, and cricket legend Dean Jones. Essex Heights was a feeder club to Richmond of junior talent. “The club was really Richmond Fourths at the time. I was there with some other guys who later played with Richmond, such as Shane Williams and Cameron Clayton”.

 

Vernon worked through the ranks at Punt Road, playing for a few seasons in the Under 19s and Reserves[3] before his senior debut. In his first season in the Under 19s in 1977, Vernon had the distinction of tying with two other players[4] for the most votes in the Morrish Medal for best and fairest in the Under 19s competition. Unfortunately, Vernon was ineligible for the award because he had been suspended during the season[5].

 

In 1981, Vernon played in four senior matches for the Tigers. His personal highlight in 1981 was winning the Gardiner Medal for best and fairest in the VFL Reserves, an award shared with Geelong’s Malcolm Reed. “In the Reserves, we had a solid group of fellows all trying to get up into the side that had won the premiership the year before”, Vernon stated. “In relation to personal highlights, just getting into the senior team for a few games was a highlight. I got a lot of excitement out of Francis Bourke playing his 300th game that year, as Francis was one of my idols as a young bloke”.

 

Vernon’s senior debut was against St Kilda in Round 9 at Waverley Park. It was a game that generated much interest because in the previous week the VFL had docked St Kilda the eight premiership points[6] it had accumulated to that point in the season for playing Doug Cox, a player who was recruited from South Mildura, which was in Richmond’s country recruiting zone at the time. Vernon recalls: “There was a big crowd that day [approximately 40,000] and 95 % of them booed Richmond because Richmond complained about St Kilda playing Cox. In terms of the day itself, there was a lot of excitement because I was a born and bred Richmond follower. I had posters of Richmond players in my bedroom and to run out with some of those legends was just absolutely fantastic. I remember having a shot from 35 metres out, looking into the crowd and missing. I wonder if things might have panned out differently for me in the seniors that year if I had kicked the goal”.

 

Vernon recalled that some teammates gave him guidance before running out. “In particular, David Cloke said a few words to me before we ran out. He told me that I had earned my spot, to not be overawed by the circumstances and to keep doing what I had been doing previously in the Reserves. Senior players helping a teammate who is about to play their first game is important and something I have always respected. That mentoring is something I value and have done since I have been involved in local footy, including coaching”.

 

In 1981, Richmond were reigning premiers and had a posse of high quality players with whom Vernon was vying for a midfield role. “The senior team at Richmond in 1981 was a pretty hard team to break into after the 1980 premiership. There were some excellent players who played on-ball roles that I was contending for, guys like Kevin Bartlett, Dale Weightman, Robbie Wiley, Barry Rowlings and Paul Sarah came across. Until you get those 50 or 60 games under your belt, it is always going to be pretty difficult to break into a quality line-up like that”.

 

Vernon was reasonably satisfied with his start at Richmond, but grew frustrated with the lack of senior opportunities. “I thought I did OK in my four senior games. If I had more time on the ground, I certainly would have improved each time and not been so overawed. These days, a player++ would be blooded more, as the clubs invest a lot of time and money in their draftees. In contrast, in my time I would go back to the Reserves if I had a quiet game in the Seniors and I could get back in the Seniors if my Reserves form warranted it. I was dropped after my first Senior game and the next week I kicked four goals in the Reserves, not that I was hungry to do so. I was trying to force the issue in the Reserves to get back into the Seniors”.

 

Vernon enjoyed his initial stint at Richmond and considered the possible areas for improvement. “Being a Richmond supporter growing up, I think I overawed to an extent. Starting out, I had the goal of playing the one game. When you reach that goal of playing one game, you need to settle and re-assess yourself. Looking back, maybe my skill level and my decision making could have been better at the time. Those areas might have been rectified a little better if we had the coaching support that AFL clubs have these days. I was pretty quick and competitive in a one-on-one situation. Perhaps I would have played a lot more senior games if I had the nurturing that players have these days”.

 

Go West – A season at South Fremantle (1982)

 

The lack of regular senior opportunities at Richmond led to Vernon taking up an opportunity to play in the WAFL for South Fremantle for the 1982 season[7].

 

“I was one of those people who would get frustrated about not getting much of a go”, Vernon explained. “I had doubts. What I wanted to do was to just have a full year of playing senior football. The club’s general manager Graeme Richmond had strong opinions and at one stage he said to me ‘As much as we would like to retain you, it’s not going to hurt you to play a full year of senior football [elsewhere]’. After the 1981 season, I took off for three months and travelled around Australia. I got to Perth and had no major intentions of staying there and playing. But South Fremantle got in contact with me when I was over there and a deal was done. Maurice Rioli was trying to get over to Richmond at the time and, although I was not a direct swap for Rioli, my joining South Fremantle and being capable of playing on the ball helped their decision to clear Rioli. Rioli came over to Richmond and played some fantastic football. I really enjoyed my time at South Fremantle and it was great to play a full season in the seniors”.

 

Vernon’s experience in the WAFL was favourable. “I really enjoyed it. The fast pace of the game suited my style well, as I was fairly quick. The football in the WAFL required quick decision making, which probably helped my football a little bit. It was a really good standard. The weather was a little better than Victoria: sometimes you would rock up to a ground in June or July wearing a T-shirt. The grounds were drier than in Victoria, which helped the games to be more free-flowing”.

 

Vernon remembered the Fremantle derby matches between South Fremantle and East Fremantle. “They were interesting games and we won a few there. I also played a night game against the Swans[8] at Waverley Park during the season. The Swans only sent over probably six or seven of their better players[9]. I played reasonably well that night, which so maybe some interest was shown there”.

 

Flying north – Playing for the Sydney Swans (1983-1984)

 

Vernon returned to Victoria after the 1982 WAFL season and joined the Sydney Swans for the 1983 VFL season[10]. He added eight senior games to his tally at the Swans across the 1983 and 1984 seasons[11].

 

“I decided to come back home after the 1982 season. I was young and married. It was pretty hard being away from family while I was in WA as you’re isolated. I decided to come back and was actually in discussions with Hawthorn for five minutes. The Swans spoke to me and I had my bags packed. I think I was the first ever recruit at Sydney once the Swans had moved up to Sydney”. Vernon lived in Sydney during his stint at the Swans.

 

Vernon reflected on the challenges the Sydney players faced in adjusting to a new city (for nearly all the players) in which there was little awareness of Australian Rules football and the club infrastructure was limited. “It [1983] was an interesting year and there are a few stories there. It was interesting when you consider that you would have to make a phone call, or be called, to find out where you were training that night. We had hardly had any trainers and we didn’t know where we would be training until late because grounds weren’t available. Several guys from those days at the Swans are very good friends because we only had each other when we moved up there. We knocked around together, spending time with teammates and their partners”.

 

Vernon said that the highlight of his time at Sydney was the first round of the 1983 season in which the Swans defeated eventual runners-up Essendon at the SCG by a point. “The highlight has to be the first game we played in 1983. We played Essendon, who went on to make the Grand Final that year, at the SCG. I think Paul Salmon and Mark Thompson were playing their first games. Some champion players were playing in that game. One of my old teammates and friends, Stevie Wright, brought up this game the other day. We won by a point. The ground was that hard in the middle and guys were slipping and sliding. We had Greg Smith who dislocated his collarbone, Dennis Carroll fractured his leg and was out for four to five weeks after that, and we had about three or four other players injured. We basically won the game with 14 players who could still jog a bit. It was a really exciting game”.

 

The aftermath of this thrilling win resulted in Vernon and some teammates travelling from the SCG to the social club in unusual fashion. “During the Easter period, they had the Easter Show on next door and you couldn’t get taxis after the game. So we’ve won the game and we walked out to try and go to the new, temporary Social Club at Randwick. We couldn’t get back there! It was amazing. We only had the Social Club facility at Randwick for a year or so. Funny thing was, and it’s a true story, I was out straight after the game with the coach Ricky Quade, Barry Round and Bernie Evans. We couldn’t get a taxi so we paid a guy to put us in the back of a milk delivery van, so we managed to get to Randwick after all!”

 

This trip was one of many examples of the challenges faced by the Swans players in those early days; challenges which helped to foster a strong camaraderie amongst the players. “The majority of the Reserves were still in Melbourne and you had coaches overseeing the Reserves who were flying up to Melbourne for games”, Vernon said. “It also took a while to get used to the humidity in Sydney. There was a lot of camaraderie in those early days in Sydney. Most of us were from Victoria and you had a few guys from Wagga who would stay with their mates in Sydney. The majority of the guys from Melbourne didn’t know anyone else in Sydney. People were looking for jobs left, right and centre as they tried to settle in Sydney”.

 

After finishing 1983 in 11th position[12], the Swans began the 1984 season strongly, winning four of the first five games, including a win over Collingwood at Victoria Park in round 4. The club’s performances dropped away after that. The Swans missed the finals[13] and coach Ricky Quade was sacked mid-season. Interim coaches Tony Franklin and Bob Hammond guided the Sydney fortunes from round 14 to the end of the season.

 

Vernon recalled: “I left the club about six games into that year, so I couldn’t tell you how they actually finished up and why things deteriorated. I think I played the first four or five games. I was just sitting on the bench each week and it was driving me insane. I ended up playing in the local league for North Shore[14] the rest of that year[15]. We ended up reaching the Grand Final in 1984[16]. We had Barry Breen, who was coaching, John Hendrie from Hawthorn was playing with us, and there were a few other blokes who had dabbled in VFL who were playing with us at the time. We were beaten in the Grand Final, so it was a pretty good effort for us to get that far. I enjoyed that. It was a pretty tough competition as you were playing against a lot of ex-rugby league players”.

 

After limited senior game time for Sydney in 1984, Vernon decided it was time for a change. He ended up at Richmond for the 1985 season.

 

Back at Punt Road – 1985 season

 

“I got down there in January 1985 and asked if there were any opportunities and whether I could do a couple of training sessions”, Vernon said. On rejoining the Tigers, the club had a different look from 1981. Barry Richardson was the general manager and Richmond premiership player Paul Sproule came over from Tasmania to coach for the 1985 season. There were key changes in playing personnel, including several players from other clubs. “The club was starting to turn a few players over”, Vernon explained. “That was when we had an inclusion of Collingwood fellows: John Annear, Phil Walsh, Craig Stewart, Noel Lovell, Wally Lovett. And we had lost David Cloke, Brian Taylor and Geoff Raines to Collingwood. I think Richmond ended up recruiting six or seven Collingwood players in that era. So the whole feel of the club had changed”.

 

Vernon added five senior games to his career tally in the 1985 season[17]. His senior appearances included three Brownlow Medal votes and 30 disposals against Melbourne at the MCG in round 11. Vernon played in the back pocket in that match, rather than in his usual midfield or forward pocket role. He recounted: “I thought I was best suited for playing as a forward pocket, rover or some other on-ball role. In that round 11, 1985 game, I came off the bench about 20 minutes into the second quarter and I went to back pocket. I played the rest of the day as back pocket in the same way that other guys had played back pocket against me. After that game, I thought: ‘Here is my opportunity. Maybe the club will look at the way I played as back pocket and will realise my ability to play similar roles in the future’. The back pocket role in that game gave me the opportunity to be creative and to help set up attacking moves further down the ground. The role also displayed my abilities to tackle and to close opponents down”.

 

“It’s certainly a highlight at the end of the day to know that you were able to be BOG in a senior game and to get the three Brownlow votes. There would be a lot of players at VFL/AFL level who went through their careers without getting three Brownlow votes in a game. And I got Ron Barassi that night, who bought me a beer after my performance. After that I thought I can die a happy man!”.

 

After shining against the Demons on that June 1985 afternoon, Vernon was used in a midfield role the next week against Essendon at the MCG[18]. He recalls getting a corkie in the buttocks that afternoon, which hampered his movement significantly. Richmond’s round 13 match against Sydney at the SCG was Vernon’s last match at senior level. He played the remainder of the 1985 season in the Reserves[19].

 

“In 1985, I won Richmond’s best and fairest in the ressies[20] and I think I finished second in the Gardiner Medal[21]. I had another reasonable year in the twos. I was always comfortable in the twos and just needed that opportunity in the Seniors. Perhaps a reason why some teammates and I did not get much of a go in the Seniors that season was that Richmond had recruited a few guys from other clubs. Possibly, the club felt pressure sometimes to play the recruits in particular roles, even though there were other players at the club who would have been better suited to play in that role”.

 

After another VFL season of few Senior appearances, Vernon decided to leave Richmond at the end of the 1985 season. “I thought that there was not much of an opportunity of me continuing on here”, Vernon recalled. “I thought it was time to swallow the pill and maybe get involved in coaching or something else. I had a captain and assistant coach job in the VFA put to me when I was 25 and I thought that would be worth a go”.

Springvale VFA days – 1986 to 1988

 

The next stage of Vernon’s football journey was Springvale in the VFA, where he played from 1986 to 1988[22]. Vernon played in Springvale’s 1987 premiership side and was adjudged winner of the 1987 Norm Goss Medal for best on ground in the Grand Final. Springvale defeated traditional VFA power Port Melbourne in the 1987 decider[23].

 

“I went to Springvale for the 1986 season and they appointed me captain and assistant coach”, Vernon said. “We had a non-playing coach at the time, Phil Fryer. We slowly bonded a few players together over that year and come the next year the club took a stand. Very strong club, Springvale, and very honest. Some other clubs in the VFA would offer ex-VFL players and players from the country the world, but would not necessarily pay those players”.

 

Springvale recruited former Carlton and Footscray star Phil Maylin as captain-coach for 1987. Past VFL players Emmett Dunne (Richmond and Footscray, 1980 premiership player), Robert Prosser (Sydney Swans), Peter Moloni (Sydney Swans) and some players who had plied their trade in the Reserves at Richmond or the Sydney Swans came across to the club. Vernon felt there was a good blend of playing talent and commitment to the cause. “These were the sorts of guys the club wanted”, Vernon explained. “We didn’t want the high-profile stars from the VFL. We were after a bunch of good, honest guys. Our guys banded together and we ended up with a pretty good composition of a team”.

 

Vernon observed that, prior to the 1987 season, Springvale were in danger of being forced out of the VFA. “At the start of the 1987 season, the VFA were trying to kick us out of the competition and they were trying to push up Dandenong. The VFA wanted to eliminate some clubs based on the demographics of the regions. So it looked like Springvale weren’t going to survive. But not only did we survive the 1987 season, we ended up beating Port Melbourne, who were regarded as the class and stalwarts of the competition, in the Grand Final. That was fantastic”.

 

Retirement

 

At the end of the 1988 VFA season, Vernon retired at the age of 28 due to persistent injuries. “I had ankle problems and a reasonably steady business going in the signwriting area. I thought I would put my time and efforts into the signwriting business. My work was up and down ladders all day. My legs were falling apart a little bit and my ankles were playing up. I had an ankle operated on and they took out the nerves in one side. Things were getting a little bit tough. As much as I had passion for the game, I just felt I needed to take a step back for a little while”.

 

Vernon ended up buying a holiday property in Phillip Island. “We started to spend some weekends down there”, Vernon explained. “I nearly went back to Springvale again. I was close, but I thought I had better give it a miss. In the end, I played seven or eight games for the Phillip Island footy club[24]”.

 

Local football days and coaching

 

After starting with Phillip Island in 1989, Vernon went on to be the captain-coach of the club. “I captain-coached Phillip Island in 1990 and 1991. We played three Grand Finals in two years. We won the first one[25], drew the next season and lost the replay by 3 points. I had a good year in 1990, my first season as captain-coach. I won the league medal, the club best and fairest and I might have even got the BOG in the Grand Final. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching my first year in the country.”

 

Leongatha was the next chapter of Vernon’s senior coaching days. “I then moved to Leongatha to coach in 1992. The club finished 8th in the season before I arrived and they were third in my first season as coach. The next year, my father died and I decided to have a bit of a break. I played a few games at Leongatha and had a stint coaching at Wonthaggi in 1994. I had a break for a while and came back to Phillip Island in about 2003 as a non-playing coach for a couple of years in which we made the finals”.

 

In the mid-2000s, Vernon helped to establish a junior football competition in Phillip Island. His son coaches at Leongatha and Vernon regularly travels to Leongatha to watch matches and to support his son. “I’m involved in local football now”, Vernon said. “My son had an accident two or three years ago. He’s coaching at Leongatha and I give him a bit of a hand to support him where needed”.

 

Reflections – Work and football

 

Vernon’s days in the VFL were during the era when League football was part-time, with most players holding down regular employment and club training consisting of two or three nights each week. “When I was playing senior football, I worked as a signwriter, which I have been doing since I was 16. We trained three nights a week and I would be working 40-50 hours a week as well. It was difficult to fit everything in, but it all worked out OK”, Vernon explained.

 

Reflections – Coaches

 

Vernon played Senior football for three coaches in the VFL: Tony Jewell, Ricky Quade and Paul Sproule. He played under Mal Brown at South Fremantle in 1982. Vernon’s view is that each of these coaches brought differing qualities to the coaching table, although the coach who had the greatest impact on him was not at Senior level. “Paddy Guinane, who coached Richmond thirds [under 19s] and Reserves, was a very positive influence on my career. He coached me for a while and I had a very positive rapport with him. He made me a better player and he gave me opportunities. He gave me the support when needed, although he probably could have pulled me up on a few things and tried to help me improve some areas of my football. However, I was the captain of those sides, so Paddy tended to spend his time helping the other players”, Vernon explained.

 

Influential teammates

 

Vernon named Sydney Swans champion Stephen Wright as a key influence. “I had a lot of time for Stevie because he had a lot of time for other people”, Vernon recalled. “The guys who were filling positions that I was trying to get into weren’t necessarily great in giving advice to help me get into the team. I’m not being negative on them, but those players had their own agenda”.

 

Vernon spoke about his colleagues at Punt Road. “One person I admired tremendously was Barry Rowlings. I thought Barry Rowlings was a lovely chap who was willing, if I went to him and asked for ideas on how I could improve, to provide help. He was always one who was willing to open up”.

 

Vernon feels that today’s League footballer is more likely to mentor junior colleagues at a club. “The players these days know their standing in the squad better and they work much better as a team. A player now is more likely to take a junior colleague under their wing and help him get to the next stage. In our times, we all held down full-time jobs and we arrived at the club at 3 o’clock in the afternoon to train. So it was a case of ‘get out there [to train] and get home’. Very different to today’s full-time environment”.

 

Interest in AFL now and views on today’s game

 

Vernon has continued to support Richmond. He added: “I certainly have a soft spot for the Swans, as I had a good time up there”.

 

In relation to the current state of the game, Vernon firmly believes the Reserves competition should be reinstated. “The number one priority is to have a Reserves competition back. A problem with the current set up is that a VFL club that is aligned with an AFL club may be pressure to drop players who are performing well in order to allow AFL listed players a run when they are available. These days, young players in the TAC system don’t get the opportunity to go to a league club and to be part of that club before they play senior footy. I would like to see clubs have lists of 50 again to return to that whole of club feeling”, Vernon stated.

 

Vernon believes the standard of the competition has been very good so far in 2015, but the modern game has shifted away from some of the best features of 1980s football. “The standard of football this year has been very good, better than the last few years. I like to see full-forwards stay near the goals and for the team to work around them, instead of the full-forward running up and down the ground. These days, players don’t kick to contested areas as much. As a result, the skill of small players running front and centre of the packs and crumbing for scoring opportunities has been missed to a fair degree”, he explained.

 

According to Vernon, recruiters are sometimes blinkered in their thinking and tend to favour athletic attributes over football skills and smarts. “I think that clubs and recruiters are too focused on the athletic skills of young players coming through, rather than pure football abilities and knowing how to read the play. I have seen some former AFL players play at Leongatha and they often play like robots. They often don’t know how to read the play in country areas. I think it’s because these players have so many meetings and are so finely drilled. I don’t think many players know how to read the play now. Michael Barlow is a great example. It took him a while to get drafted and he played for a while in the country. He is now one of the best readers of the play in the AFL”.

 

Conclusion

 

I enjoyed talking to Daryl Vernon about his career and football perspectives immensely. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.

 

The final question is: “Which past player will be next?” I look forward to selecting my next interview subject and relating their story to you.

 

[1] Vernon wore jumper number 40 in his Senior appearances at Richmond in 1981.

[2] Paul Hogan’s excellent Richmond history The Tigers of Old (1996) records that Vernon played 186 games for Essex Heights from 1968 to 1977, which was when Vernon was between eight and 17. He played in five premierships for Essex Heights (1968, 1970, 1971, 1976 and 1977) and won four club best and fairests: Hogan, page 235. Vernon also won the league best and fairest twice: Hogan, page 235.

[3] Between 1977 and 1985, Vernon played 29 games for the Richmond Under s19s/Thirds and 58 games for the Richmond Reserves: Hogan, page 235.

[4] Andy McPhie of Fitzroy and Stephen Simpson of North Melbourne.

[5] Hogan, page 236.

[6] Later in the season, the VFL amended the zoning rules and reinstated St Kilda’s premiership points.

[7] Vernon played 18 games and kicked 15 goals for South Fremantle in 1982: Hogan, page 236.

[8] South Melbourne moved to Sydney for the 1982 season. The 1982 Escort Cup match in question was played on Tuesday, 11 May 1982 at Waverley Park. The club was still officially South Melbourne at this time. The club was referred to as “the Swans” from 1982 and they became officially known as the Sydney Swans for the 1983 VFL season.

[9] South Melbourne won the match by 115 points.

[10] Vernon wore jumper number 10 in his Senior appearances at the Sydney Swans.

[11] In addition to his Senior appearances for the Sydney Swans, Vernon managed 12 games and kicked 8 goals for the Swans Reserves in 1983-1984: Hogan, page 236.

[12] In the 12 team VFL competition. The Swans won seven matches and lost 15.

[13] Sydney finished 10th in 1984 in the 12 team competition with a 9-13 win-loss record.

[14] Vernon played 10 games for North Shore in 1983-1984.

[15] Vernon finished equal fourth in the 1984 Phelan Medal for best and fairest in the Sydney Football League (now known as Sydney AFL), three votes behind winner Graham Jones from Western Suburbs.

[16] East Sydney defeated North Shore in the 1984 Sydney Football League Grand Final by 99 points.

[17] Vernon wore jumper number 42 in his second stint at Richmond.

[18] Richmond lost this match against Essendon by 81 points (15 June 1985).

[19] Richmond lost this match to Sydney by 77 points (22 June 1985).

[20] Vernon polled 128 votes to win the 1985 Richmond reserves best and fairest. Other leading vote getters were Ian Sartori with 114 votes (2nd place), Dan Foley with 106 votes (3rd place), Richard Geary and Peter Czerkaski with 92 votes (equal 4th place), and Tom Crebbin with 87 votes (6th place).

[21] Hawthorn’s James Bennett and Greg Dear were the joint winners of the 1985 Gardiner Medal.

[22] Vernon played 42 games and kicked 50 goals for Springvale in the VFA: Hogan, page 235. He played two matches for the VFA representative side: Hogan, page 235.

[23] Springvale defeated Port Melbourne in the 1987 VFA Grand Final at the Junction Oval by 38 points.

[24] Vernon played his first game for the Phillip Island Football Club in 1989.

[25] Phillip Island won the Bass Valley-Wonthaggi District Football League premiership in 1990.

Comments

  1. Sensational read, James, I loved the research you put into it.
    Looking forward to your next blast from the past.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Grand effort James, well played.

  3. Top effort James, great reading about a player who was not a ‘star’. These are the blokes who make the game what it is/was.

    One point though James, i don’t know if i skipped it. How many senior games/goals did Darryl manage ?

  4. James Grapsas says:

    Thanks for the early feedback.

    @Glen – Daryl played 17 VFL/AFL games for 5 goals (1981-1985).

  5. I watched Mike Sheehan’s ‘Open Mike’ on channel 504 last night. He interviewed Beau Vernon; son of Daryl. Beau broke his neck in an on field clash a few years ago, resulting in him being rendered a paraplegic. Beau has fought through this adversity. He now coaches his old side, the Leongatha Parrots, who are top of the ladder as well as working part time in a risk management role with the AFL. A very moving story.

    Glen!

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