Bare feet, T-shirts and kick offs were all the go when Daw­sons started play­ing Touch

Dubbo Photo News - - Sport - By GE­OFF MANN

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!”

PHOTO: MEL POCKNALL

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

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