Almanac Footy Teams: Kelly Country



The area around North Eastern Victoria, is often known as ‘Kelly Country’ after the famous outlaw, and the Kelly outbreak of 1878-1880. Ned was born in Beveridge in 1854, and this forthcoming side is drawn from players from around, and North of, that area. The family moved from Beveridge to Avenel, up to Greta, eventually settling there. His colleagues Joe Byrne, and Steve Hart were drawn from Beechworth, and Wangaratta respectively. Now, what/who to include, and what/who to leave out???


Ned, and his three companion outlaws spent time in a number of penal institutions. Whilst I want to focus on the geographical areas of North Eastern Victoria, which was both the location of the Outbreak, and family residences i make some exceptions. Firstly, i include Mick Kelly, ex Williamstown and Footscray; the reason why? Ned spent a period of time from 1871, until 1874 on the prison hulk, Sacramento, docked at Williamstown. With a surname of Kelly, and being from Williamstown, how could i leave Mick out? I have also selected a couple of players from the sleepy Riverina town of Jerilderie, a place where the outlaws spent a few famous days in February 1879. On the flip side i have excluded Yarrawonga, which had no specific role in this period. Maybe this is a major mistake ! Players like ‘Crackers’ Keenan are certain starters in most sides of this nature.


Here we go:


B; J Law, Strathbogie/North Melbourne, B Reid, Wangaratta Rovers/Collingwood, J Henderson, Avenel/Collingwood

HB; K Shelton, Avenel/Essendon, N Bussel, Wangaratta Rovers/Hawthorn, G Cowton, Benalla/North Melbourne/Footscray/ Sydney

C; X Tanner, Wodonga/North Melbourne, A Jarrot/Moyhu/North Melbourne/Melbourne, N Lappin Chiltern/St Kilda

HF; J Byrne, Wangaratta Rovers/North Melbourne, W Brownless, Jerilderie/Geelong, B Hall, Broadford/St Kilda/Sydney/Western Bulldogs

F; F Gehrig, Wodonga/West Coast/St Kilda, D Bradshaw, Wodonga/Brisbane/Sydney, M Dowdle, Jerilderie/North Melbourne

Foll; M Nolan, Wangaratta Rovers/North Melbourne, S Kekovich, Myrtleford/North Melbourne/Collingwood, M Kelly, Williamstown/Footscray

Int; D Gross, Euroa/Essendon, J Fraser, Mansfield/Collingwood/Gold Coast, B Kekovich, Myrtleford/Carlton, J Waite, Benalla/Carlton

Emer; A Carlisle, Wangaratta Rovers/Port Adelaide, J Shelton, Avenel/South Melbourne/St Klda, S Reid, Wangaratta Rovers/Sydney



Awaiting your feedback,





  1. Alovesupreme says

    I’m surprised that you didn’t squeeze Matthew Lappin in, a 250 game player, admittedly quite a few when Carlton were rubbish. The other player who might have featured at least on the bench was Phil “Snake” Baker of North’s great 70s team and “long bombs to Snake” fame.
    I wondered also whether Jimmy Bartel’s father might have been worth a shout as one of those examples of the best in our district who never played VFL/AFL.
    Could I also ask if Alan Jarrott is the only celebrated footballer to come out of Moyhu? I may be thinking of him, but I had an idea that there was another great from that neck of the woods in the 1970s/80s.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    Stevie J is from Wang!

  3. Good points. Forgetting about Stevie J was a major oversight. The ‘Snake; is in my best of Albury-Wodonga team. M Lappin, never impressed by him. Sorry.

  4. Adam Muyt says


    Nigel Lappin – played more than 200 good games for Brisbane, not St.Kilda.

  5. Mark Doyle says

    Another interesting pub discussion topic. Notwihstanding my appreciation of your work, I am a bit bemused with your criteria, especially the inclusion of Wodonga and the exclusion of other border towns. However, I guess it is your prerogative.

    As someone has already noted, Steve Johnson is probably a major omission. I am also wondering about the K. Shelton from Avenel who played for Essendon. Do you mean Ian ‘Bluey’ Shelton?

    Could you not find anyone from Glenrowan? I think Karl Norman (Wang. Rovers/Carlton) might have lived as a kid at one of the small towns near Wangaratta. With respect to Terry Bartel, father of Jimmy, he did a pre-season at Carlton and played with the resies. Does this count? Is Terry Bartel still alive? I heard he had cancer a few years ago. I think you are a bit harsh in your assessment of Matthew Lappin. Jon McCormick was another Wang. boy who played who played for Carlton – he didn’t do much at Carlton, but was very talented and played some exceptionally good footy for Wang. and almost won a Morris medal.

    With respect to blokes who were good enough to play VFL/AFL, you would have a very good team with blokes such as Stan Sargeant (North Albury), Brian Gilchrist (Wodonga), Neville Hogan (Wang. Rovers), Robbie Walker (Wang. Rovers), Dennis Sandral (Corowa), Sam Donovan (North Albury) and Andrew Carey (Myrtleford and another O & M team).

  6. Alovesupreme says

    You much better informed on the north-east than I am, but my reference to Terry Bartel was part tongue in cheek, but partly inspired by a newspaper article which suggested that he was a better all-round sportsman than his brief stint at Carlton suggested; that his “failure” to make it there was more a matter of inability to settle in the big smoke.
    I believe he passed away within the last twelve months.

    Jon McCormick didn’t shine in a very poor period at Carlton, but I had heard as you have confirmed that he was a very good O & M footballer. Karl Norman cast his own shadow at Carlton during that era, also. So both are good “mentions” on your part.

  7. Mark Doyle says

    Alovesupreme, I am sorry to hear of Terry Bartel’s death. I am not aware of the newspaper article that you refer; was it the Albury ‘Border Mail’. I knew Terry reasonably well in the early 1970’s when we were both in our early twenties. I didn’t have any contact with him since about the early 1980’s. I did hear sometime in last 20 odd years that he was living in Albury and working as either a real estate or car salesman. The reason that Terry did not “make it” at Carlton was his lack of dedication and committment. Playing VFL footy was a distraction from his social activities and his love of “wine, women and song”. I know of a few other blokes who I played footy with in Albury and Canberra, who were of similar ilk.

  8. Alovesupreme says

    I didn’t see it in the Mail, but their report is here. I was surprised that herr Google revealed that it was May 2010, as my imperfect recollection was that his passing was more recent. The article also confirms that the children including Jimmy were reconciled to their father before his death. I recall a splash in the Herald-Sun around the time of his Brownlow on the subject of the breach after the parents’ marriage break-down.

  9. Daff did some sensitive stories on Terry Bartel. Must have been a great bush star.

  10. Correct, Crio.
    Paul Daffey’s articles on Terry Bartel were excellent. At least one of which was
    printed in the big paper.

    Gee, that zone was a furtile recruiting ground for the Roos back in the day !

  11. Dean “Special Fried” Rice from Longwood would slot into a pocket (either up forward or back) nicely. 234 games, including a premiership with one of the game’s greatest sides (Carlton 1995) ain’t bad credentials…

  12. Thankyou for the feedback. Yes K Shelton is the great Ian ‘Bluey’ Shelton, and goodness me, how did i say Nigel Lappin played for St Kilda, not Brisbane, that’s a mjaor mistake, Was not aware Dean Rice came from Longwood, thanks for pointing that out. Re Mark mentioning my inclusion of Wodonga, i thought long and hard about it, because it did not play a role in tke Kelly outbreak, but due to its proximity to the region, and the handy players it has produced i included it. Maybe i could have said Yarrawonga, as when the outlaws rode to Jerilderie they crossed the Murray not far from Yarrawonga. On that basis i could have picked Phil Ryan, ex North Melbourne. Which other Border towns would you feel i should include Mark?

  13. Reckon the Carlton 1945 Bloodbath GF captain Bob Chitty might qualify on a honorary basis. After the Blues he went to coach Benalla in the O & M. Famously he played Ned Kelly in a movie. Extremely well cast according to Jack Dyer. Kelly reputably played a few social games in Benalla… maybe a myth. But it was great to see the nephews having a kick of the pigskin in the Heath Ledger movie.

  14. Greta topic about a Kelly Country / N E / AFL side. Greta F C in the Ovens & King F L have produced two VFL / AFL footballers in Ian Montgomery – Collingwood & Karl Norman – Carlton, who both played senior footy at Greta, before heading into the Ovens & Murray F L with Wangaratta F C & Wangaratta Rovers F C, then onto the VFL / AFL. The coach of this side could be – the great Laurie Nash (ex South Melbourne F C & Test cricketer) who coached two premiership teams in 1946. He was playing coach of Wangaratta FC & non playing coach of Greta F C. Paul Daffey’s great article about Terry Bartel is available at this link –

  15. Ta Justin, that’s handy info. Ian Montgomery, was he the Pies full forward pre Peter McKena? Karl Norman, he was the recent Carlton player? Was he related to the other Nornman who played for Wang in the old days. The news on Laurie Nash is new to me.



  16. justinkelly says

    Ian Montogmery played in the mid `1960’s with Collingwood as a backman mainly & yes, Karl Norman is the son of legendary Wangaratta Rovers full forward, Steve. Check out –

  17. In response to “Alovesupreme” on the August 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm – Former Hawthorn player, John Hendrie originally came from Moyhu, before heading down to School at Scotch College as a boarder.

  18. Thanks Justin.
    When Alan Jarrot was playing, I had a student from Moyhu – a locality of which I had previously been unaware (being a Western District boy). Hendrie certainly adds some lustre to Moyhu, I suppose in the manner of Justin Koschitzke at Brocklesby, Adam Schneider, Osborne and the Daninhers, Ungarie.

  19. There you go, hey. I would never have thought ‘Bomber’ Hendrie was from Moyhu ! And where is Osborne? Near Wagga i guess, but exactly where?

  20. Is this the John Waite who Played for Mytleford/ALbury/Essendon – referring to the team posted by Glen August 2011?

  21. Graeme, The above i/c players is Jarrod Waite, Benalla > Carlton – current player. You are thinking of Bruce Waite, from Albury > Essendon, who sat on the bench in the 1965 EFC Premiership side. Bruce returned to the O & M F L & won the 1972 O & M F L – B & F award, the Morris Medal with Myrtleford in 1972. A very good suggestion !

  22. Peter QUick says

    Glad to see mention of a few blokes from my years in Albury (1960s). Stan Sargeant (North Albury) an absolute gun full-forward. Brian Gilchrist from Wodonga was chased by Melbourne & Geelong but was a country boy at heart.Gee, he could play! But for mine, the best I ever saw up there (and this includes Sam Kekovich) was Denis (Sam) Donovan. Ruck-rover for North Albury, so skillful, tough, the full package. Bobby Davis wanted him at Geelong – he was said to have kicked 5 goals on Roy West in a friendly game up in Albury after the Cats won the 1963 flag. But a dickhead with no discipline and never fulfilled his potential – would have walked into a VFL side if he had had the dedication.

Leave a Comment