Kyabram Free Press
1954 belonged to the Boys
I received a call from former Kyabram footballer Keith Hartin last week about a story I’d written in these columns on three former Lancaster players who are now residents of Warramunda.
Keith, 85, was not questioning their claim of playing in Lancaster’s runner-up side, but the year it happened.
Keith said he even looked at a team photo to double check and, yes, he played in the 1954 grand final of the Kyabram District Football Association (which became the Kyabram District Football League in 1960), but it wasn’t with either Lancaster or Undera.
Keith was a member of the Kyabram Boys’ Club side that beat Lancaster for the premiership that year.
In fact it was the year after — 1955 — that Kevin Mcdonell, Leo Connally and Doug Graetz were in the Lancaster side that was beaten by Undera in that grand final.
The trio had also played in the Lancaster side the previous year that lost the grand final by seven points — 10.12 to 10.5 — to the Kyabram Boys’ Club side.
Keith recalled how he got to play with the Kyabram Boys’ Club side that made its KDFA debut in 1951, a year after the Kyabram Imperials had dropped out of the league.
"In the late 1940s and in 1950 when I was a student at St Augustine’s a few of us boys used to go over and watch Kyabram train on the nearby recreation reserve after school," he said.
"But we weren’t received all that well and we were told by the (Kyabram) coach at the time that we should get up to the old Racecourse Reserve (now Parkland and Kyabram trotting track) where they were trying to get a team up to replace the Kyabram Imperials side, which was representing Kyabram in the Kyabram league at the time.
"There were blokes like Bill (Knocky) Sinnott and Dick Clay (Sr) who were getting behind the push at the time and the Boys’ Club Football Club was formed in 1950 to replace Kyabram Imperials, who had dropped out of the league. But the Boys’ Club didn’t make its debut in the KDFA until the next year (1951) and played their home games on the current Kyabram Showgrounds.“
Keith said Lindsay Dillon, a star for Kyabram’s Goulburn Valley League side, was appointed as the inaugural coach and led the Boys’ Club to the flag in 1954.
But season 1953 in particular is still vivid to Keith, 68 years later.
"We went through the home-andaway season undefeated, won the second semi to get into the grand final in which we were beaten by 12 goals by Merrigum. It was a bit hard to take but we were a very young side," Keith said.
Keith made his debut in the inaugural Boys’ Club side in 1951 as a 14-year-old and played with the club until 1954 when he transferred to Kyabram Football Club in the GVL. In his four years with the Boys’ Club he played under only one coach: Lindsay Dillon.
After his days with the Boys’ Club
Keith went on to play eight seasons with Kyabram in the GVL.
He was in the Tony Bull-coached Kyabram 1958 senior premiership side and also played in two reserves flags with the Bombers — in 1959, when he was dropped from the seniors after several injured players returned, and again in 1963, which was his and Tony Bull’s final year at the club.
Keith remembers clearly his first game with the Bombers in 1955.
"I was in the ruck with Bub Forbes and we were playing Rushworth. At the first bounce a big raw-boned bloke called Con O’toole ran straight through me at the first bounce but I was lucky enough to be able to get up and keep playing and I ended up kicking four goals," he said.
Details of the 1954 KDFA grand final played at the Kyabram recreation reserve:
Kyabram Boys’ Club 10.12 d Lancaster 10.5
Lancaster players were: W Coulson (capt.), E Wade, J Salmon, R Salmon, B Millar, K Millar, D Noble, M Mclay, D Coram, R Goode, L Connally, C Napier, D Graetz, J Sleeth, N Binion, J Warren, B Sheppard, K Mcdonell. Goalkickers:
Boys’ Club: N West 3, K Higgs 2, N Brooke 2, N Beamish, K Hartin, R James.
Lancaster: L Connally 2, R Goode 2, Bob Salmon, D Graetz, K Millar, J Sleeth.
The Boys’ Club’s best players awarded by three independent spectators received cash orders of one guinea each for their efforts in the grand final and were: A Vick, N Beamish, R James, L Whyte and K Hartin.
Gate takings for the match were £54.
▯ Free Press editor Rohan Aldous was being a bit modest in a story he wrote in last week’s paper.
In the article he claimed Nagambie Football Club legend Eddie Shiels was the most decorated player in Kyabram District Football League history.
Eddie won four medals playing for Nagambie in 1984, 1986, 1992 and 1993.
Well, Rohan also won four Mcnamara Medals: one in 1988 during eight seasons with Avenel and three in succession playing for Nagambie in 1998, 1999 and 2000 during a five-year stint with the Lakers.
He also won five club best and fairest awards at Avenel and four in five years with Nagambie.
▯ With the season finally cancelled, Lancaster Football Netball Club has fared best of the local area Kyabram District League clubs to receive recognition in league awards that are still being recognised despite the stop-start and finally abandoned season.
For finishing on top of the ladder the Wombats are minor premiers in both the senior and reserves football competitions as well as the 17 and Under netball.
Lancaster could also land the top individual football award, with co-coach Tom Davies a strong fancy to claim the Mcnamara Medal.
Tallygaroopna pulled off a netball trifecta, taking the A-grade, B-grade and C-grade minor premierships.
KDL minor premiers were as follows:
Under 18s: Dookie United Netball
17 & Under: Lancaster
15 & Under: Avenel
13 & Under: Murchison-toolamba ▯ Claudy Jackson, who spent a season with the Kyabram Football Club in the mid 1980s, is being remembered as a tough and skilful burst player with a great sense of humour.
Claudy was buried in the Mooroopna cemetery last week.
When he arrived at Kyabram from Leeton he announced himself to Kyabram’s coach at the time, Chris Salter, as being the only red-headed freckle-faced Aboriginal person he had probably had ever seen.
Claudy made an impression in his time with Kyabram and in the GVL with his silky skills, fierce competitive spirit and prodigious leap.
Claudy had suffered health problems for many years. Three of his sons played with Ardmona this year. ▯ When you’re on a good thing, stick to it.
Well that what’s happening at the Echuca Football Club, which will be relying on the same coaches as this year to steer it again in the GVL 2022 season.
Simon Maddox and Andrew Walker will be off- and on-field coaches again, with star ruckman Kane Morris their assistant.
Troy Murphy has recommitted to coach the reserves again, Leo Tenace will be chasing a hat-trick of wins with the Under 18s while Jayden Howe will mentor the Under 16s.
All four Echuca sides finished the aborted season on top of the ladder to claim minor premierships.
▯ Kyabram District League club Shepparton East will have a familiar face coaching it next season.
Rob Osborne is returning to Central Park after spending the past three years with the Shepparton Swans.
Osborne is a two-time best and fairest player with the Eagles and has also been in some of their premiership sides.
He won the Abikhair Medal in the GVL reserves competition in 2019 but has not made a decision as to whether he will pull on the boots again in his new role.
Duane Hueston has coached the club for the past two Covidinterrupted seasons.
▯ Co-captains Dylan Scopel and Kyle Winter-irving will be Seymour Football Club’s onfield leaders again in 2022.
Their commitment follows the recent reappointment of Ben Davey as coach of the Lions for next season.
Murray League club Finley has announced a replacement for Tom Doyle, who has stepped down as coach.
It is Angus Robertson, who played for the Cats in his junior days before a senior career that included time at Geelong Football League club St Mary’s and the 2019 season with Claremont in the Western Australian Football League.
Robertson has studied sports science and was motivated to try to take on the coaching role at Finley after watching the club lose the 2016 grand final.
Doyle will remain with Finley as a player.
The Murray Football Netball League is hoping a crowd will witness its first medal count since 2019.
It has delayed its count to mid November to give it every chance of conducting an in-person awards night.
League general manager Dale Norman said the league was happy to wait to hopefully provide a chance for the award winners to gain appropriate recognition and to provide recipients the special feeling that a virtual ceremony couldn’t offer.
Gifted all-rounder Tim Arnel will be back with Numurkah in Cricket Shepparton’s Haisman Shield competition this season.
Arnel, who took all 10 wickets in an innings before leaving the club at the end of the 2019-20 season, sits sixth on the club’s all-time list of wicket takers in the top tier of competition.
Reigning Lightfoot Medallist Michael Eckard will coach the club again.
In another recruiting coup, last year’s runner-up, Waaia, has lured pace bowler Josh O’dwyer back to the club.
O’dwer has spent the past four seasons with Bonbeach Cricket Club.
Waaia will again be coached by Stuart Revell.
▯ Moama Bowls Club will field a side in a Bendigo-based premier league competition in the coming season.
Campaspe Valley Bowls Division has now merged with the Bendigo and Goldfield region but will still conduct four district-based competitions.
Moama will have just one team in the premier league, which will have 16 players instead of 12, and will also field sides again in the local competition.
Moama has won the past four division one flags in the Campaspe Valley Association and seven of the past eight flags.
▯ Smart Tongala-trained pacer Fullofmischief made it three wins from his past four starts — all inside a month — with a dominant all-theway win at the Wedderburn meeting on Sunday.
Driven by concession reinsman Jordan Leedham, the five-year-old son of Major Bronski led throughout to beat Good Guy Mac and the Elmore-prepared Bracknreid.
Trained by Mick Watt, Fullofmischief is in a purple patch of form, winning at Shepparton on August 12, Cobram at his next start before finishing fourth at Echuca last week and then heading to Wedderburn.
He has now saluted six times with three minor placings from just the 26 career starts.