Life Membership and Life. And Death.



(This article was originally published in 2014)

Yesterday was the annual long lunch at the Blacks. 130 guests (naturally, this was the legend Bob Neil’s playing number). Lehmo is MC and Tom Harley guest speaker. Both give generously of their time and are genuine stars. It is another brilliant day at the World’s Greatest Football Club (TWGFC). I have the privilege of presenting a life membership certificate to my ’86 premiership team-mate Brenton Eckert (“Nose”: he broke it three times in a single season – once in a training mishap and twice in separate games against Riverside, somewhat predictably).

Nose is 54.  He lives in Queensland with his wife and two teenage boys. He’s from Adelaide, and his mother and brothers live here. Nose is gravely unwell; has been for some time. In order to travel this time he has to have a blood transfusion. He’s pumped so full of peptides and every other banned substance known to ASADA and WADA and whomever that he has to decline the offer of a guest appearance for the SCUM in Uppy’s 250th or the Chardonnay Socialists in Howie’s 300th, for fear of Bob Neil #2 (park 10) becoming the centre of the second greatest drugs scandal known to the footballing world. This is just to get him through the weekend. This is likely to be the last time he’ll be able to make the trip.

209 games, over 100 goals, most improved, best club man, best in finals, A1 premiership player, and now life member of TWGFC. The room stands as one and applauds. I hand over the certificate with tears in my eyes.

Nose collects himself. He says that he has no intention of devaluing the life membership – naturally it means a great deal to him – but he would gladly give it back, together with the various other awards and achievements, and even the premiership, for an opportunity to walk across the green grass of Bob Neil #1 (Uni oval), down into the change-rooms, and start it all over again.

These words have been rolling around my head all day. They are not, I conclude, a lament. To the contrary; they are a powerful reminder to us all to celebrate every precious moment this glorious life presents. Touche Nose. Beautifully played. Unforgettable.



  1. MalcolmAshwood says

    Thank you Michael for this article as I cleaned up at Bob Neil 1 on Sat morning I was reflecting on the day and yes giggling at Tom Harley jumper auction $ 600
    Bob Neil jumper $ 1400 and Lehmo and Tom Harley were sensational , I kept coming back to Brenton Nose Eckert it was powerful raw emotion . Daddsy while I thought you nailed it , Brenton’s speech was succinct and full of reflection on the worlds greatest football club and life itself . We ( blokes especially ) speak highly and about some 1 when they have left this earth , Brenton I have been privileged to have several conversations with you during the last year and to look at , Rabs and Culls especially on , Friday during your speech you mean a lot to a hell of a lot of people , Nose folks
    Please tell Brenton while you still can ! Thanks Daddsy Thanks Nose !

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    As I mentioned elsewhere on this site a few weeks back, I have never forgotten that Nose didn’t care about what sort of footballer I was, he was a ripper bloke right from the time I ran past for a cheeky handball at training after he had been crunched (probably in the face) taking a pack mark three deep at the River Torrens end. With a smile.

    Saddened to hear of his circumstances, but all the better for having been a club mate of his.

    Keep going Nose.

  3. Super Dazz says

    Having reflected in recent times on the relative frailty of the human body. It was inspiring to wittness a quality individual like Nose deliver such a classy and thought provoking reminder of what we all take for granted. A privilege Nose!

  4. Enormous.

    Says a lot about the footy club and its people.

    Genuinely instructive.

    All the best Nose.

  5. Amen.

  6. Nose was the first Woodville supporter I ever met (the second was Paul Klaric ). This was when Woodville were the Woodpeckers not the Warriors. Before Malcolm Blight coached them into the finals. They were bottom usually lost every game all their champions left to play in Victoria or to another club in order to play finals. They were every body ‘s second team.

    But to Nose Woodvile were his team. And he barracked for the peckers with gusto. A mark of true integrity

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Beautifully written Daddsy. All the best to Nose. Wonderful that he could be there to be presented with his life membership.

  8. Tim Proudman says

    Great to hear Nose presented with his award, Sorry I wasn’t there to witness it. Always had the greatest admiration for Nose as a team mate and colleague. He “looked after me” when I arrived at the club in 1980 and we shared the A1 Res flag on Adelaide Oval. (Captain-coach Mark “Gordon” Schwartz another AUFC legend). Nose taught me how to get in and out of trouble on Inter-varsity trips. He was “Another Brick in the Wall” – the A1 defence line with Parker, Eckert, Slattery and me in 1985. I bumped in to him again in Brisbane in 1995 when I was working there. Always a wry smile and genuine bloke. I’d to sign up again to play alongside him.

  9. It’s people like Nose that make the Blacks the World’s Greatest Football Club. We’re the mighty Uni team…

  10. Bob Miles says

    It brought a tear to my eye – special moment in our footy club.

  11. Dan Hansen says

    I wasn’t aware of Brent’s illness and wish him and his family all the best. Great write up Daddsy and I’m proud to be a small part of TWGFC.

  12. Daddsy,
    A tribute to not only a great bloke in Brenton Eckert. but also to the team-mates and other club stalwarts who have maintained contact with Nose – even though he has resided in Brisbane for many years.
    The thing is – had Nose only played 20 games with the Blacks in lieu of 200 plus, he would still have been welcomed back with the same affection.

    Well done Nose – well done Blacks.

  13. Well written and well said on the day Daddsy. As has been noted it was an emotional day but a fitting evant to mark the impact of a great bloke and legendary clubman. Brenton embodies all that is great about AUFC and he seemed to take all of us under his wing at some point of time. Given that I played about 13 levels below Nose my football tutelage was restricted to training (on nights where it was too cold to leave Bob Neil Number 1 – any thankfully dark enough to hide there) and watching him give lie to the characterisation of Uni Poofs on game day.

    I was, however, lucky enough to live with Nose for a while when I first moved out of home for an altogether different form of education. Without going into too much detail the specific placement of handbags on the kitchen table and the delicacy of fish finger stuffed roast chicken have left an indelible mark on my life.

    Friday was a great reminder that Nose and through him the club has impacted on so many and Life Membership was a fitting tribute.

    Well done Brenton.

  14. Like Melon, I also shared a (different) house with Brent in the 1980s. Great times, great memories, great footy club and even greater bloke. The tyranny of distance makes it hard to stay in physical touch but memories are forever. Thinking of Brent, Al, Mitch & Brayden, all the best.

  15. Screecher says

    A very moving moment. Once again displays that it isn’t the awards we win during our life (in sport or elsewhere), but the friendship and memories we gain along the way that mean the most.

  16. David Gordon says

    Great day last Friday. Once again, Daddsy, Sam and Book well done on yet another cracker of an event! Congratulations and thanks Nose for those words on what was no doubt an emotional day for you. Honestly, your words struck a chord with everyone in the room. I hope you felt like the whole of the Blacks family were there for you and we are thinking of you now. When I first came to the AUFC from the country it was guys like you that mixed with the whole club and made me feel right at home from the start. Back then, running around on beautiful Uni Oval, having a kick and a catch (better still a bump, a spoil or a crunching tackle), Chocka’s nicknames and “Hold Your Bowlies” craziness at The Queens Head, the constant stream of Saturday night parties in everyone’s trashed rental backyards, and the stories you embellished in the original “SubStandard” about those antics….they really were the best of times. Good on you Nose.

  17. Wish I was there. Great stuff, Daddsy.
    Bob bless the lot of us.

  18. Eddie Dadds says

    I was there for the lunch and completely echo all that’s been said above. I’d never met Nose before last Friday but he left a pretty indelible mark on all that were present

  19. chocka bloch says

    Thanks Daddsy, The Nose gets his mugshot several times in the club’s ’86 report (a premiership year) the feature being a hug from Paul Whaley who came across to the Blacks when Teachers College folded. Nose had some great players to strut with that year – Cory Brick Shithouse Williams, Sean “The Kid” Tasker, Keg Foster, Mick Kenny, Bruce Keynes, Daddsy, Can’t Stop Eaton, Craig Schulz – & the list goes on & on. They still couldn’t protect him from broken noses though, although it does protrude just a bit. Keep the nose up Brenton.

  20. I have read all the epithets re Eckert the nose breaker including Bloch’s work. Let’s rename the nose as an Eckert in footy circles as a tribute . Umpy he belted me in the Eckert , works for me , he sounds like a beauty. Love to him and the family . Nank

  21. Our paths have only crossed infrequently since growing up in Cleve (back in the days of dropkicks, aluminium stops and spending your wages on Nigger Blocks, Fags and/or brandavino – without getting arrested) Nose comes from solid breeding and this was evident during his response to Daddsy’s words on Friday. he certainly put things in perspective and I’m sure those of who were unaware of his declining health were taken aback at the news, especially considering Nose’s calmness and eloquence. True class….glad you were able to share with the WGFC..

    Great idea above Nank maybe Gordo can come up with a commemorative wine that would be fitting – “mmmm..perfect after a West End, with a earthy, pungent aftertaste of BN#1 centre square mud but definitely good on the Eckert”

  22. Disappointed to miss the event due to travel this year. As usual not only does it reinforce the priceless value of community inherent in the AUFC Blacks (and now Greys), but also how it gives diamonds among us the chance to shine. I never played alongside Nose, but I certainly recall you running out onto the ground as part of the senior side at the end of a 1 RES game. And everyone knew the nickname – only one of the few that refer to parts of the anatomy (Simon ‘Spleen’ Ball, Tim ‘Donga’ Thompson, Dan Hanson ‘Knees-and-booms-a-Daisy’ – a few that spring to mind). Congrats on your life membership, but moreover, congrats on your contribution to the life of the club and the obvious esteem in which you are held by so many.

  23. Well written Daddsy – wish I’d been present. An emotional arvo from all accounts.

  24. Thanks Daddsy for a wonderful presentation last Friday. You had me tearing up with your words, and then when the assembled 130 patrons rose as one, I have to admit I was struggling to keep it together. This response kept me awake most of the night as I kept thinking “I don’t get standing “O’s” – why are they doing this?” So thanks Michael & all those in attendance, plus the many who have posted here. Please remember all your old team mates – I’m not the first to go through some tough times, nor will I be the last.

    Swish – an absolute pleasure tossing you a sneaky handball, rather than a short pass. As we all heard (again) on Friday, my kicking sucked.
    Plug – you all wished you were Peckerheads! So glad you remembered
    Proudo – ta. I’d play alongside you any day, just leave your bro at home!
    Shotgun – very true & a reflection of this great club. The Missus says g’day.
    Culls – ’twas an absolute pleasure sharing a house with you. Got a greater kick out of sharing a table with you on Friday and reminiscing. Sorry I had to make an early exit, but thought I’d disappear before you came up with any handbag references
    Diggers – ta. Another house – the house of splat from memory. Lots of stories over the years on and off the field of endeavour.
    Eddie – nice to meet you. Don’t know if it’s because of, or in spite of your parents, but you’ve “done good”
    Gordo -now you’re dragging up old memories – backyard parties! Looking forward to a bottle that has a pleasant Eckert.
    Mr Leonard – Cleve days!!!! Loving your ideas. Say g’day to IMS for me
    Bob – ta. Only the best got body parts in their nickname
    Chocka – I was really hoping to catch up Friday. Mad Dog Milte was there, so we only needed you & Derek & Clive to make a Sunday Training circa 1981 quorum! Until you came back to the AUFC fold, the Blacks were just another club. Indeed I was about 1 season from leaving and joining my old scholars team. You turned things on its head and made it into the club it is today. There was no way I could leave the unique environment you single-handedly created. I certainly flourished in such a club environment and enjoyed every second of my playing days, and the 25 years since. This is the man who deserves “standing ovations”

    Thanks to all & please keep in contact.

  25. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Totally agree with the comments above Nose you are a star Thank You !

  26. John Griffen says

    John Griffen
    Sitting in the warmth of Darwin and have just heard that Nose Eckert has just been awarded Life Membership of the Blacks . I was fortunate to coach him and some other amazing amateur players to the 1986 A1 Premiership on beautiful Adelaide oval v Riverside . I think Nose decided to burn his boots after the game on a poorly prepared Les Burdett pitch ! Memory has faded but I believe with Nose Whaley , Nose “Skittle “Parker ( I called him nose Parker for years ) it was a pretty good trifecta of Noses ! Nose Eckert Ruck roved that day and I believe he was our best , rattling off a few of his teammates names made me realise what a honour it was to coach such a talented group. Congrats Nose Eckert a Premiership , Life Membership ! As you said to “walk up that race one more time and start it all over again ” From the Coach it was a great journey and the GF a brilliant fight , may the fight for your health continue .

  27. John Griffen says

    I would also like to pay tribute to Daddsy ( so coach able and talented )for his words re Nose and his footy ability, Rulebook for keeping past players in the loop. Footy is more than a game , it unites people and an amazing “teacher ” for young men .
    Tom Harley at the presentation ! His father led the ruck for us at Teachers College , and his father was our club Doctor when I first started at the Panthers Adelaide Oval , time marches on !

  28. My recollection is that Nose edited the Substandard in the days when it rolled out of a gestetner machine, before anyone had ever head of a computer let alone the internet. It was required reading. I still have some scraps of it at home somewhere (yes, I admit, when my name was mentioned!) It was clever, erudite and affirming stuff to read, and bloody funny. Great memories, Nose!

  29. It says a lot about the more but also a lot about the great club.

  30. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I write this with deep sadness and a heavy heart,Brenton Nose Eckert passed away today just a quality
    quality bloke RIP Nose

  31. Nick Raschella says

    Very nicely said Daddsy. Very sad to hear the news of Nose passing away.

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