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