Kyabram Free Press
Don comes up with goods
With the AFL grand final this Saturday, Goulburn Valley League historian Don Kilgour has come up with some interesting statistics on players recruited from the league who have played with the premierships contenders, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Kyabram and Shepparton have each had 10 players during the years to play with Melbourne.
Kyabram and Shepparton Swans, with three players each, have supplied the Western Bulldogs with the most players from the league.
Don also had Bert Connolly on his list and although he played one season — 1949 — with Stanhope, he was actually recruited from Werribee where he played the 1950 season after leaving Stanhope.
Here’s the list of Melbourne and Western Bulldogs players recruited from GVL clubs, which will revive a lot of memories for GVL fans: Melbourne Football Club
Garry Lyon — 226 games, 426 goals, 3x All-australian 1993,4,5, Victorian captain.
Trevor Castles — 1 game.
Daryl Bourke — 18 games.
Ross Dillon — 85 games.
Shane Fitzsimmons — 63 games. Stuart Mckenzie — 9 games.
Noel “Kelly” O’donnell — 80 games. Paul Rowlands — 35 games.
John Sparks — 9 games.
Maurice Wingate — 39 games.
Hayden Lamaro — 2 games.
Les Bamblett — 11 games. Wayne Delmenico — 31 games.
Graeme Taylor — 2 games. Robert Taylor — 13 games.
David Williams — 67 games.
Tony Barnes — 7 games.
Peter Garratt — 1 game.
Peter O’keefe — 10 games. Michael O’sullivan — 53 games. Russell Richards — 81 games. John Soloman — 2 games.
Brad Campbell — 1 game.
Des Campbell — 50 games. Chris Connolly — 84 games. Fremantle coach.
Adam Yze — 257 games.
Des O’dwyer — 8 games. Chris Woodman — 32 games.
Stephen Tingay — 138 games. Allaustralian 1994.
John Ahearn — 2 games.
Dale Dickson — 56 games.
Russel Dickson — 4 games.
Arthur Maskell — 1 game.
Peter Maynard — 8 games.
Trevor Rollinson — 49 games.
Eric Roscoe — 17 games.
Barry Tippett — 18 games.
Barry Vagg — 115 games.
Barry Ough — 1 game.
Clayton Oliver — 2021 grand final player. All-australian 2018,19,21.
Adrian Battiston — 96 games. Sean Charles — 47 games. Bill Fischer — 1 game.
Paul Payne — 28 games. (Total 46 players)
Frank Fanning — 2 games. Ian Howard — 16 games. Bryan Pleitner — 28 games.
Barney Mckellar — 22 games. Les Bamblett — 37 games. Charlie Stewart — 20 games.
Jarrod Harbrow — 70 games. Laitham Vandermeer — Still playing
Josh Schache — Still playing
Total 8 players.
I was interested to see Don Kilgour’s list above initially mentioned Bert Connolly, who played with Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) in 1951-52.
He played 11 senior games with Footscray and was recruited via Stanhope and Werribee.
He was 188cm (6ft 2ins) and weighed 87kg (192 pounds).
Who better to ask about Connolly’s time at Stanhope than 99-year-old Alex Nelson, who still retains incredible knowledge and memories of anything in football or cricket that has happened in Stanhope for almost a century?
Still has sharp as a tack, Alex immediately quipped ‘‘yeah, he coached and played with Stanhope in 1949’’ when I asked him if could he remember a Bert Connolly playing with the club.
‘‘He had only the one season. He was very mobile for a big man and a really good ruckman,’’ Alex said.
Alex said Connolly was supposed to play with Kyabram and trained with them but something happened and he ended up playing with Stanhope.
Connolly played the 1950 season with Werribee from where he was recruited by Footscray. He had two seasons with Footscray playing a total of 11 games.
Born on January 12, 1928, Connolly died in 1998 aged 70.
Because he was not directly recruited from Stanhope he hasn’t made Don Kilgour’s list above.
Kyabram’s 86-year-old Allan Gibbon also has some memories of that fiery 1955 Kyabram District Football Association grand final in which Undera beat Lancaster.
Allan said antagonistic relations between the two teams had got to the stage when the two teams met at Lancaster, someone would arrange for Kyabram’s Constable Jimmy Lougheed to be in attendance in order to control the spectators and to avoid a possible riot.
‘‘Funny looking back on it now how serious it really was,’’ Allan said.
Allan said in the lead-up to the 1955 season he couldn’t get a game at Lancaster so joined nearby Undera and got to play in Undera’s winning side.
Allan confirmed that one of Undera’s powerhouse players on the Friday evening before the grand final phoned a Lancaster player and told him he had ordered an ambulance for it to pick him up at half-time of the grand final.
He also remembers the same player gesturing to shake hands with a Lancaster player before the first bounce and then suddenly clobbering him on the chin with his other hand.
Allan also recalls at the first bounce a Lancaster player ignoring the ball and running straight through the centre square and knocking him flat and starting a melee.
‘‘What ever happened my shorts were ripped to the stage where I had to change them to the colour which the opposition players were wearing,’’ Allan said.
Allan said tactics such as what went on that day didn’t sit well him but in those days it was a bit of a case of ‘anything goes’ type of footy.
‘‘In those days I think we had only three or four umpires to umpire our games — Dick Jackson, Dick Clay Sr, Keith Hindson and Jack Morris,’’ Allan said.
Tongala and Lancaster were not the only country football clubs to have unbeaten seasons ruined by COVID.
In fact, 18 clubs in leagues throughout Victoria and southern NSW boast unbeaten records for the 2021 season.
Tongala, Ovens and Murray League powerhouse Albury, Warrnambool and District League club Nirranda and Ovens and King League club Milawa won all of their 13 games before their seasons were terminated to head the list of unbeaten teams and games won.
Lockington-bamawm United, Mitiamo, Nullawil, Torquay and Noradjuha-quantong with 12 wins were next followed by Lancaster, Gordon and Woorndoo Mortlake with 11 wins.
While most leagues have called it quits without playing finals some leagues up to last week had not conceded their seasons were over and were hanging on to try to play finals even under modified rules.
They were Bellarine, Central Highlands, Geelong, Gippsland, South West District and the Wimmera Leagues.
District trots trainers have been having a good run of late.
Kyabram’s Mark Watson completed successive wins with pacing mare Miss Artemis, who won at the Yarra Valley meeting last Thursday after winning at Shepparton on September 2 when resuming from a spell.
The Art Major mare posted a 1.57.7 PB in her win over the 1650m trip, which was her fourth win in 30 career starts.
Tongala trainer Michael Watt produced another winner last week when trotter Irene Rose landed some nice bets winning at the Melton midweek meeting.
The Tennotrump mare looked destined for a minor placing after a tough run when Astro, who had reached the front within the shadows of the post, broke stride allowing Irene Rose to fight back and win the race.
Another Tongala trainer, Gary Merkel, also enjoyed a win, with Argy Bargy, at the recent Echuca meeting. It was Argy Bargy’s fourth career victory in 48 starts, which have also produced 18 minor placings including 13 third placings.