Never a dull moment in central Victorian footy

CONTROVERSIES and heated clashes all form part of the rich tapestry of footy in central Victoria.

The sensational third quarter walk-off by Bendigo Footy League club Kennington-Strathdale at Maryborough in Round 14, 1993 is an incident I’ll never forget.

Maryborough’s Princes Park was also the setting for perhaps the fieriest district league grand final the Advertiser covered during my time reporting.

It was the venue for the 1985 Maryborough Castlemaine District League grand final between Maldon and Chewton.

Police actually entered the Chewton rooms at half-time threatening players with retribution if they continued to fight rather than play football.

Think about that scenario. Uniformed police in your change rooms during the long interval laying down the law about ongoing fisticuffs – the ‘cut lunches’ so beloved of radio commentators.

Maldon player Greg Loney, one of the stars of the Bombers’ premiership victory, recalled the incidents.

“It was a very tough game and the brawl in the second quarter became so ugly that extra police were called for,” he said.

“Our enforcer Dougie McLeod ended up in hospital with cuts and stitches but he was back in the rooms later that night for the celebrations.”

Loney is convinced the cool coaching of Maldon’s ultimate footy legend Peter Cole, the Bombers’ senior coach for 18 years, was a major factor in the club’s memorable 1985 season.

“Peter stayed in the game, too, coaching and taking turns as president at both Kangaroo Flat and Castlemaine and then onto (MCDFL club) Campbell’s Creek,” he said.

Cole won four day and two night flags with Maldon, none more famous than the ’85 victory.

I still regularly see Coley at BFNL matches where the Maine is playing. He’s there with son Shayne in a semi-official capacity.


BUT back to that 1985 MCDFL grannie.

The real heroes for Maldon were the Kelly and Kinross brothers who made up six of the Bombers’ side.

Andy Kinross was adjudged by most at the game, including MCDFL stalwart and Advertiser correspondent Max Martin, as best afield.

Loney takes up the story. “Andy had crossed from the Goulburn Valley League mid-season that year. He was Maldon’s version of Nathan Buckley at his most imperious.

“No-one could catch Andy Kinross. His brothers Paul and Michael could also play.

“And then we had the Kelly brothers —Brian, Gerard and Brendan.”

Loney himself was also a fine contributor for Maldon with a couple of goals from his forward pocket.

“I think it’s fair to say we had been the superior team all season, but on the Big Day Chewton really took it up to us.

“They’d decided to knock a few of our good players over. It was a solid encounter from the word go, and it got worse.

“By half-time the constabulary had stepped in and told the Chewton blokes to cool it – or else,” Loney said.

The ’85 victory was to be Greg Loney’s only senior premiership. He’d played in three-in-a-row in the juniors growing up in Queensland but in 200 senior games with Maldon the 1985 grand final win was his sole success.

Exactly 12 months later, Chewton won the 1986 MCDFL flag on the back of Geoff Klemick’s season tally of 167 goals: a league record which still stands.

Then a little more than 20 years ago Chewton went into recess and never came back. They followed fellow-MCDFL club -– factory combine Primrose — into oblivion. 


Incidentally, in the days long before instant communication via smart phones, laptops and tablets such as the ubiquitous iPad the way Martin’s MCDFL copy reached the Addy was a story in itself.

Max would dutifully prepare his copy (on a trusty typewriter) at home in Maryborough and parcel everything up in a green railways envelope.

One of us would have to meet a late afternoon-early evening train at the Bendigo station and retrieve the MCDFL green envelope.

Twice weekly this was the routine. Sundays for the Saturday wrap-ups and midweek for Max’s previews, published with those from the Heathcote and Loddon Valley leagues on Fridays.

I was in a flap one mid-80s Sunday evening at the Bendigo railway station. The guard (remember them) on the train couldn’t find the green envelope among his paraphernalia in the guard’s van. Panic set in.

A hurried search of the station master’s office finally ended with the elusive parcel being uncovered. Unbeknown to the late-in-the-day officials, the MCDFL report had arrived safely on an earlier train. Whew !


Thanks to Ken Piesse’s Football Legends of the Bush (published 2011) for re-kindling my interest in a half-remembered footy incident.











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