FOOTY PREMIER­SHIP RE­UNION

UN­DER­DOG DEMONS THROW A SPAN­NER IN THE WORKS TO RUN AWAY WITH 1967 PREMIER­SHIP

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By Lau­ren Bordin

The grand fi­nal of 1967 proved one of the great­est up­sets of all time in the Goul­burn Val­ley Football League.

Shep­par­ton United halted Shep­par­ton’s press for a fifth con­sec­u­tive premier­ship with the Demons swoop­ing to win their sec­ond premier­ship of the 1960s.

United claimed the se­nior and thirds pre­mier­ships in 1967, cel­e­brat­ing the two vic­to­ries at a 50-year re­union at Deakin Re­serve on Satur­day.

Cap­tain-coach of the first side, Mur­ray Kick, revved up the cur­rent play­ing group which paid div­i­dends as the Demons de­feated Mooroopna by 55 points.

Cur­rent as­sis­tant play­ing coach Luke Low­den shook hands with the eight play­ers in at­ten­dance as the club rem­i­nisced about the glo­ri­ous games at the func­tion.

John Cooper was just 19 at the time of the se­nior premier­ship, but still has vivid rec­ol­lec­tions of the day de­spite it be­ing half-a-cen­tury ago.

With two play­ers out in­jured and three sus­pended for a week fol­low­ing the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal against Lem­nos, a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion was made harder for United.

But Cooper said his team­mates showed re­solve, and the re­turn of for­mer North Mel­bourne star and Vic­to­rian rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Brady was a ma­jor help.

‘‘We were the un­der­dogs and we were a bit like Footscray last year, we dared to dream,’’ Cooper said.

‘‘John Brady be­ing cap­tain of Vic­to­ria went out there and said a few words, but none of it was dirty.

‘‘It was just the first quar­ter (where we won it), we were 6.5 to one goal (at the end of the first term) and we knew then that Shepp wasn’t ready for us.

‘‘We came out all fired up, a bit like say the Bris­bane Lions try­ing to beat Adelaide in the grand fi­nal (this year), that was the gap.’’

Head­ing into the game with many tip­ping Shep­par­ton to se­cure a fifth con­sec­u­tive premier­ship, News sports re­porter Lau­rie Sweet wrote in the post game re­view about the Demons’ want for the win.

‘‘United went in harder for the ball and more de­ter­minedly and gen­er­ally came out with it,’’ Sweet wrote.

‘‘Even when the Ma­roons did take the ball near goals, they were never given any lat­i­tude as United fought tena­ciously to stop them from scor­ing.

‘‘Yet John Brady, the for­mer Shep­par­ton lad who has been hailed as one of the best ever cen­tre half-backs to play in the VFL, con­served his en­ergy and used his footy brains and ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Hav­ing coached United to the 1962 premier­ship, Brady re­turned for the de­cider de­spite not hav­ing played a com­pet­i­tive game since 1965.

With Brady as the se­cret weapon, Kick was an­other ex-VFL player in the side hav­ing played 55 games for Carl­ton.

Cooper never ex­pected the wing­man to be­come his coach.

‘‘I went and saw him play in the 1962 grand fi­nal against Essendon and lit­tle did I know I’d be play­ing un­der him,’’ he said.

Re­ceiv­ing $8 for a win and four for a loss, the ma­jor­ity of United play­ers kept their match fees in a pool to al­low for club im­prove­ments.

As Cooper plans for the group to gather to­gether more fre­quently, he said there was a last­ing mes­sage to take out of the win.

‘‘You just have to dare to win, it doesn’t mat­ter what area you’re in, you just go out there with the right at­ti­tude and we did it,’’ he said.

Mem­o­ries are fresh: Shep­par­ton United’s premier­ship he­roes of 1967 (back) Des Camp­bell, John Cooper, Mike Cooke, John Hue­ston, (front) Barry Beamish, Mur­ray Kick, Ross McKellar and Ross Robins all played in the suc­cess­ful 1967 premier­ship.

Pic­tures: Julie Mercer

Bound by suc­cess: Barry Beamish, Des Camp­bell, John Cooper and Ross McKellar hold up a col­lage of pho­tos from the 1967 sea­son.

Like yesterday: Cap­tain-coach of Shep­par­ton United’s se­nior premier­ship team Mur­ray Kick and John Hue­ston, who cap­tained the thirds grand fi­nal win in the same year, recre­ate a photo seen in The News 50 years ago.

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