Bare feet, T-shirts and kick offs were all the go when Dawsons started playing Touch
MATT Dawson was 16 when his family threw on their first T-shirts for the 1979 Dubbo Touch footy comp.
The sport was only four years old and teams like Quelch, Snare’s Bears, Wallace & Mcgee, Dubbo City Council, Hostel, Super Stubbs, Tub Everleigh, Kooltrend, Handee Hardware, Brian Pearce Smash Repairs, Sid’s Bottle Shop and Macquarie Valley Windows were all fielding teams.
Next week, Dawsons tip off for their 40th season.
Matt and his boys, Ben and Matthew, will run out in sunsmart singlets instead of the old “T’s” although they might even step back in time with one of the myriad from four decades. The teams will tap off to start their games, a far cry from long distance kick offs with heavy leather balls.
Matt and his older brothers, Mark and Michael, played together in those early days in teams known as Dawson’s Plasterworks. It was a collection of mates from school and work.
“We’d known each other most of our lives and knocked around together all the time so playing touch footy was just another excuse to have fun. Some blokes played footy with CYMS or Macquarie but for most of us it was just a social game and a chance to get hot and sweaty on a Sunday morning and have a few beers,” Matt laughed.
Now Dawson’s has at least three teams across the different comps and grades.
“The girls have joined us in the Mixed and there’s a few fathers and sons either playing together or have done so in the past,” he added.
“My eldest, Ben, played his first game when he was just a boy but then they brought in minimum age so Matt had to wait a little longer.”
Matt’s been with us for a few years now and plays a lot of rep games, both for Dubbo and the Hornets at State and National carnivals.
“Daws” has continued the tradition.
He shares the mantle as Dubbo’s longest serving player with Wayne Garnsey and Neil Webster, while one of the pioneers, the ageless Reg Walker, remains involved after giving his playing boots away a couple of years ago.
“Our late father Les was really supportive, but he was so involved in greyhounds he rarely came to watch us play. One day we talked him into coming down for the grand finals. He left when we were down 5-1 at halftime. When we got home he wanted to know how much we lost by. We couldn’t convince him we’d actually won until it came out in the paper a few days later,” Daws smiled.
Les and his family provided the land for Dubbo Greyhounds, hence the Dawson Park complex. It was typical of the man who had great pride in the city. He would be mighty proud of his sons and daughter Liz, who married Steven, one of the earliest players, and his grandsons who have continued the connection.
Dawson’s Touch teams will celebrate their 40th anniversary next week with a cake to be cut by the family in between pool matches.
Dubbo Touch president Neil Webster is proud of the club’s achievement.
“We think they may well be the oldest continuously playing team in NSW, maybe even Australia,” he mused.
“We are checking through the records with Touch NSW and Touch Australia and if it proves to be the case, we might have to mount a Steeden and a Dawson’s T-shirt in the clubhouse!”
Toni, Matt, Matthew, Forest, Emma and Ben Dawson.
Dawson’s Plasterers 1989: Kel Cross, Gary Criss, Colin Law, Gary Walker, Bruce Dunn, Col Smith, Steve Cross, Alex Grant, front, Warwick Cross, Greg Evans, Stooge Graham, Matt Dawson, Bruce Beggs
Back, Warwick Cross, Kel Cross, Duck O’neill, Col Smith, Steve Cross, Bruce Dunn, Col Law, front, Gary Cross, Steve Graham, Bruce Beggs, Matt Dawson