Kyabram Free Press

The day Gig broke drought

- Gus Underwood

After a 20-year wait Girgarre’s first premiershi­p in the Kyabram District Football Associatio­n (now KDL) came in 1952.

A determined Girgarre outfit coached by Jack Walsh was primed to cause an upset and break a hat-trick of flag wins by Merrigum. In a tough, low-scoring game at the Kyabram Recreation Reserve Girgarre beat the favourites 8.12 to 4.9.

Merrigum was always playing catch-up footy, failing to capitalise on a strong wind in the first term when it managed only 0.1 to Girgarre’s 1.2.

With the breeze in the second quarter Girgarre tightened its grip on the flag, kicking 4.5 to 1.1 to lead 5.7 to 1.2 at half-time.

Merrigum then squandered chances to get back in the game in the third term, kicking 2.6 to 0.2 to trail 3.8 to 5.9 at the last change. But with the wind in the last term Girgarre kicked 3.3 to 1.1 to claim its first flag.

Jack Walsh kicked four goals while Eric Todd, Frank Casey, Jack Brown, Tom Cornell each kicked one goal for the winners.

Merrigum’s goalkicker­s were M Fitzgerald (two) and S Vagg and M Cooper with one each.

When it came to naming the best players in the report of the game in the Free Press it stated ‘‘Girgarre was satisfied it did not carry a passenger’’.

Merrigum named Fitzsimmon­s, Vagg, Finn, Hunt, Gash, Mcwhinney and Johnson as its best.

Frank Casey is one of five — Eric Todd, Brian Quirk, Kevin Doolan and Bill Atkins are the other four — of Girgarre’s history-making players still alive today and said Girgarre was determined and committed to win the grand final.

‘‘They had beaten us the year before and our coach, Jack Walsh, was very keen to get one back on them and prepared us very well,“Frank said.

‘‘He got all our players on the same page. I was only 16 and the youngest player in the side and I thought Laurie Doolan (later to become a club legend) who was even younger than me should have a got a game before me.“

Girgarre’s premiershi­p win was celebrated that evening with supporters at Girgarre in a real convivial get-together, with community singing and other entertaini­ng items providing the entertainm­ent.

Another league function two weeks later to honour Girgarre’s win was held in the form of a dinner at the Kyabram Mechanics Institute.

At this function KDFA president Tom Atkins and secretary Bill Sinnott were praised for keeping the associatio­n together with their consistent efforts and the Kyabram Football Club for fostering the KDFA.

Girgarre’s club awards for the 1952 season: Best and fairest: Tom Cornell

Runner-up best and fairest: Wheelhouse, J Brown (tied)

Best clubman: J Hehir

Best player Under 21:

E Todd

Most improved: K Doolan

Most consistent: B Quirk

F Casey, runner-up

Hall takes reins of Under 16s

Peter Hall will coach Kyabram’s Under 16s in 2022.

It’s a homecoming for Hall, who has had a previous stint as coach and assistant coach of the Bombers reserves.

He also had two years in the late 1990s as senior coach of Kyabram League club Lancaster.

Hall said he was looking forward to getting back to the club along with his two star netballing daughters Olivia and Jemma, who have been playing in the powerful Shepparton United teams in recent years.

Hall takes the reins of the Under 16s from John Guinan.

No local cricket gig for Cupido

M

Girgarre Football Club’s new coach, Damian Cupido, is also a more than handy cricketer but he won’t be in action locally in the coming season.

The former Essendon footballer is joining Murray Valley Cricket Associatio­n club Katamatite as a first drop batman and wicket keeper.

Cupido has amassed 4702 runs at average of almost 40 in 150 games in his career so obviously can handle the bat was well as the gloves.

Cupido played 13 games with the Brisbane Lions in 2000-2 and a further 40 with Essendon in 2003-5.

Congupna adds flag experience

Murray Football League club Congupna has appointed a premiershi­p coach to lead it in the 2022 season.

Kevin O’donoghue, who coached Kyabram League club Tallygaroo­pna to the 2018 flag and runner-up the following year, has taken the reins.

He will have playing assistants in Ben Pedretti and Ben Bingham.

O’donoghue takes over from Peter Sheehan, who has spent two frustratin­g years as coach due to the pandemic.

In more Murray League news, Echuca United has lured former club co captain Phil Hubbard back to its ranks for 2022 after a stint with Heathcote League club Elmore.

Every vote counts

Apologies to Lancaster’s blond bombshell James Ross who finished third to clubmate and co-coach for the Mcnamara Medal for the best and fairest player in the Kyabram District League this season.

In my report last week on the vote count James was credited with getting 11 votes but in fact tallied 13 in the count.

I know you won’t hold it against me, James!

Austin signs off with B&F

Rochester Football Club’s best and fairest award has been won by a departing player.

Utility Logan Austin, who joined the Tigers this year, polled 156 votes to win the award from winger Jordan Harper with 126 votes.

However, it was a sweet-bitter win for Rochester fans with the former St Kilda and Port Adelaide player heading south to coach Bairnsdale in the Gippsland League next season.

Charlie Taylor claimed the reserves award while the top netball award was won by Ellie Cuttriss.

Threlfall shares the load

Dookie United Football will revert to a joint coaches system to guide it next season in the Kyabram League.

Big man Jack Threlfall will assist this season’s coach, Daniel Burgess, in the role.

Threlfall has harboured aspiration­s to coach and the club has given him that chance.

Dookie made a flying start to this season, winning five of its opening six games, but dropped intensity against the stronger sides as the season progressed and believes it has the foundation­s to make a serious bid to play finals next season.

Patchwork trots in

Tongala trots trainer Michael Watt has been churning out the winners of late and he produced another one at last week’s Kilmore meeting.

Recent stable addition, trotter Patchwork, was having only his second start for Watt and duly delivered with an all-the-way win with top concession reinsman James Herbertson in the sulky.

It was the five-year-old Stoneridge Regal mare’s second start for almost a year and brought up her third win in 20 career starts.

Echuca-moama trots stalwart Norm Visca bred Patchwork and races the mare with his wife, Joan. He is the fifth winner from the now deceased Safely Kept mare Nirvana Castle.

Old Students, new tricks

Old Students Cricket Club will have a well known face guiding it this season.

Club legend Gino Saracino has taken over as senior coach of the Cricket Shepparton club.

It’s not a new role for the one-club star batsman, who has previously coached and captained the club and sees a big future in developing the promising junior players currently in its ranks.

But Old Students has suffered a blow in preparing for the season, with star all rounder and Lightfoot Medallist Nick Breslin leaving the club to join Northerner­s.

 ?? ?? Girgarre’s 1952 KDFA premiershi­p line-up: Standing: Ron Saunders, Jack Brown, Ken Connally, Jack Dullard, Brian Quirk, Bill Pyke, Kevin Doolan, Maurice Mcdonald, Noel Northausen, Digger Wickham, Mort Wheelhouse, Pat Hehir, Bill Atkins Snr (club official). Centre: Tom Atkins (KDFA president) Front: Bill Atkins Jnr, Eric Todd, Frank Casey, Tom Cornell, Jack Walsh (coach), Bill Northausen, Bill Sinnott (KDFA), Jim Hehir.
Girgarre’s 1952 KDFA premiershi­p line-up: Standing: Ron Saunders, Jack Brown, Ken Connally, Jack Dullard, Brian Quirk, Bill Pyke, Kevin Doolan, Maurice Mcdonald, Noel Northausen, Digger Wickham, Mort Wheelhouse, Pat Hehir, Bill Atkins Snr (club official). Centre: Tom Atkins (KDFA president) Front: Bill Atkins Jnr, Eric Todd, Frank Casey, Tom Cornell, Jack Walsh (coach), Bill Northausen, Bill Sinnott (KDFA), Jim Hehir.
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