Northcote Park FC: Friday night footy at the Bill Lawry Oval (April 10)

 

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Northcote Park FC McNiecemellrick cup

Pictured here West Preston President Paul McInerney (holding the McNiece/Mellerick cup) together with Dennis McNiece (left) and Peter McNiece (right).

by Stephen Marson

The AFL has its Adelaide Showdowns, WA Derbies plus the traditional blockbusters involving Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond, Essendon, and Hawthorn and Geelong.

In the Northern Football League it does not get any bigger than the local Darebin Derby/Blockbuster between the Northcote Park Cougars and West Preston Lakeside Roosters. The two clubs are again locking horns in the 2015 season-opener with Northcote Park hosting West Preston Lakeside this coming Friday 10 April at Bill Lawry Oval with the game commencing at 7:30pm. The game again promises to be a classic encounter.

Last year, in the corresponding Round 1 night game, the game ended in a draw. The Cougars took the honours when the sides renewed hostilities in July prevailing by 32 points.

Since 2004, the two clubs have been playing for the McNiece/Mellerick Cup. Next week’s game will be number 25 for the Cup. West Preston won the first five encounters, however Northcote Park currently leads the battle 14 to 9 with last year’s draw, not having lost to its rival since Round 6 2012

Both Cougars President Peter McNiece and Roosters President Paul McInerney agree the local derby has a tendency to write its own rules. Peter McNiece said “It’s always a good game. We have played them for many years. There’s a fair bit of a mix between the people involved at the two clubs many of them went to school together,” he said. “The corresponding season opener last year was a good game and I think it will be a very competitive match. Hopefully we can again have the McNiece/Mellerick Cup back in the Committee room cabinet at Bill Lawry Oval.”

The McNiece-Mellerick Cup was organised after officials from both clubs wanted to recognise two families of boys whose paths had continually crossed. The families are Northcote Park’s, Jeff, Ian, Dennis, Peter McNiece brothers and West Preston Lakeside’s Hank, Jim, Mark, Digger Mellerick brothers.

In the early days of these games (Pre 2004) Jeff McNiece and Mark Mellerick were opposing captains, when always a tight battle eventuated with many games decided by a goal or less.

The Mellerick brothers were great servants of West Preston Lakeside footy club over many years as well.

The eldest two McNiece boys Jeff and Ian both started there football careers at West Preston playing alongside The Mellerick boys before eventually going on to have stellar careers at Northcote Park. In a poignant and proud moment in Northcote Park history and a proud moment for the McNiece family all four McNiece brothers all played senior games together with the very first one being against West Preston!

All four McNiece brothers are members of the Northcote Park’s Team of the Century premiership players, and amongst them have won Best & Fairest Awards. Jeff, Dennis and Peter have also captained the Club.

Furthermore, in recent scenes reminiscent of Sheeds returning to Essendon FC, in 2011, Peter as President and Dennis as General Manager returned to the club in official capacity to administer the club and help it on its journey to again becoming a NFL powerhouse club respected both and off the field.

In a nice touch leading up to this week’s game, due to West Preston’s ground not being available for training, Northcote Park granted permission for West Preston to train at Bill Lawry Oval. Pictured here are West Preston President Paul McInerney (holding the McNiece/Mellerick cup) together with Dennis McNiece (left) and Peter McNiece (right).

 

This piece is written by Stephen Marson who will be our Northcote Park correspndent this season.

About Stephen:

  • third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University in Bundoora.
  • Passionate about most sports, but mainly follow football, basketball and AFL,
  • Writes  for BoundForGloryNews as a TAC Cup Under 18’s follower,  attends many TAC Cup and National U18s Championships games.
  • Supports the mighty Richmond Tigers.
  • Can followed  on twitter at @stephenmarson.

Comments

  1. There is something magnificent about local footy.
    Something totally different from the AFL.
    It’s played with the same dedication and ruthlessness but its rawness is alluring.

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