Myrtleford Times

SAINTS WILL FINALLY GET REUNION

Myrtleford’s 1970 O&M grand final team ready for reunion

- By JUSTIN JENVEY

IT’S taken a year longer than expected, but Myrtleford will finally get the chance to celebrate the 50-year reunion of its only Ovens and Murray football premiershi­p at a special event next month.

The Saints waited two decades for their first O and M flag and after COVID cancelled last year’s event the club was forced to push back celebratio­ns by a year.

The 50+1 1970 reunion is now set to take place on Saturday, May 1 at the Ablett Pavilion.

Sixteen of the 20 players from the premiershi­p winning team will attend and Alan Heberle (pictured), who was one of Myrtleford’s best when they surged home to beat Wangaratta Rovers 18.15 (123) to 16.10 (106) in the 1970 decider, said he can’t wait.

MYRTLEFORD will finally get the chance to celebrate the 50-year reunion of its only Ovens and Murray football premiershi­p at a special event next month.

The Saints waited two decades for their first O and M flag and after COVID cancelled last year’s event the club was forced to push back celebratio­ns by a year.

The 50+1 1970 reunion is now set to take place on Saturday, May 1 at the Ablett Pavilion.

Sixteen of the 20 players from the premiershi­p winning team will attend and Alan Heberle, who was one of Myrtleford’s best when they surged home to beat Wangaratta Rovers 18.15 (123) to 16.10 (106) in the 1970 decider, said he can’t wait.

“We were looking forward to it last year, David Johnston wrote his book where he interviewe­d everybody and that was going to coincide with the dinner,” he said.

“It was just bad luck what happened last year but it’s all looking good this time.

“Unfortunat­ely, four of our teammates won’t be with us - Kevin Smith, Pat Quirk, Bob Crisp and Terry Burgess Snr have all passed, but it will be good to catch up with everyone else.

“We’ve had a couple of reunions and caught up at different times over the years, as you do.”

Heberle, who started on the halfback flank before moving to the wing in the grand final, said he remembers the day vividly.

“It was a lovely day, a pretty hot day and a huge crowd for a grand final, there was 10,000 to 12,000 there at the Wangaratta Showground­s,” he said.

“It was a great match; we were gone for all money right up until three quarter time but then we looked across and saw guys like big Mick Nolan puffing and blowing and we thought we might have a chance.

“We started the last quarter three goals behind, and we caught them halfway through the quarter and ran all over them to win the game.

“We had a terrific team, a really strong team given the style of football played back then and a terrific coach in Martin Cross who I think is the most innovative coach to have coached here.”

The celebratio­ns and scenes afterwards are just as clear for Heberle.

“It was bumper to bumper all the way back to Myrtleford, the whole town went, it would have been a great time for criminals to do something in Myrtleford that afternoon,” he said.

“We got back and had to go to each of the pubs, there were three in town at that stage.

“I can remember being up on the balcony of the Myrtleford Hotel and all this roaring and cheering going on, and from there we went up to the old stadium at the showground­s.

“I think most of us went home by 11pm or 12am, everyone was absolutely stuffed but the town went on all night.”

Myrtleford had suffered several years of finals anguish in the lead up to 1970 and there wasn’t a team they would have enjoyed defeating more than Wangaratta Rovers, who the Saints considered to be their biggest rivals.

Both teams entered the Ovens and Murray together in 1950 after dominating the Ovens and King for some time.

“We had always had a rivalry with Rovers, we came into the league at the same time, but they had a lot more success than Myrtleford,” Heberle said.

“They were always really tough games between the two teams, no matter what the position on the ladder they were always close fought.”

Neville Hogan who coached Wangaratta Rovers in 1970 before later leading the Saints for four seasons, will attend the premiershi­p reunion as a guest.

Heberle played two years under Hogan before retiring at the end of the 1980 season as Myrtleford’s then games record holder.

Tickets for Myrtleford’s 1970 50-year premiershi­p reunion are now on sale and are $60 per person - the night includes a three-course meal.

Tickets are available at WAW Myrtleford or by contacting Janine Botter on 0427 522 985 or emailing sjbotter@bigpong.com.

The celebratio­n gets underway at 6pm on Saturday, May 1.

 ?? PHOTO: Justin Jenvey ??
PHOTO: Justin Jenvey
 ?? PHOTO: Justin Jenvey ?? REUNION: Former Myrtleford footballer Alan Heberle and his 1970 teammates will soon celebrate the club’s premiershi­p win from 50 years ago.
PHOTO: Justin Jenvey REUNION: Former Myrtleford footballer Alan Heberle and his 1970 teammates will soon celebrate the club’s premiershi­p win from 50 years ago.

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