Dasher joins footy folklore
Better known as ‘Dasher’, the 333-game veteran of the Roos was a member of the club’s famous premierships in 2000 and 2003, captaining the first of those triumphs.
Spencer holds the equal club games record with fellow O&M hall of famer Dennis Sandral, who was inducted back in 2009.
Spencer’s highly decorated career also includes representing NSW Country and representing and co-coaching O&M.
One of six Hall of Fame inductees for 2018, Spencer was humbled when realizing he would be a recipient of such a prestigious award.
“It’s not something that you expect, there are a lot of great names and great players in that group (of inductees) and I don’t necessarily feel that I’m a part of it,” he told The Free Press.
Spencer remains one of just two players who have featured in all three of Corowa Rutherglen’s grand final appearances since the merger between the Rutherglen Redlegs and Corowa Spiders in 1979.
1992 was the first of those grand finals, with the Roos going down by 22 points to a strong Wodonga side.
“We had a really young side in ’92. We played the Wangaratta Rovers in the preliminary final and were 19 points down with five minutes to go … we kicked a few goals, got over the line and celebrated that game like we won the premiership,” Spencer said at the Hall of Fame Dinner, reflecting on the grand final defeat.
“We made the grand final and got rolled unfortunately, and when you’re young like that you probably think that it’s just going to happen going forward and it didn’t.”
For a while that is, given Spencer’s day in the sun arrived eight seasons later, captaining Corowa Rutherglen to a record-breaking 108-point premiership victory.
It remains the second highest score ever recorded in O&M grand final history, registering a total of 180 points against a hapless North Albury.
“I can’t remember how many goals we kicked in that first quarter, we kicked quite a few, most things seemed to be rolling our way,” Spencer said.
“We just had a lot of good players, everyone was on and it was one of those days where things just went right.”
But for Spencer, saluting in 2003 was much more satisfying.
“In 2000 we finished on top, won the semi final and then went straight in. In 2003 we were 2-5 after seven games,” he recalled.
“We got on a bit of a roll, made the elimination final and it was much more satisfying because we had to beat everyone on the way through.”
Spencer also told The Free Press what it meant to remain a one-club player for the entirety of his illustrious career.
“For me, Corowa Rutherglen had just always been my home club, it was just a natural loyalty,” he said.
“I lived in the town, we ran a business in the town so I never really felt the urge to play anywhere else.
“It is something that I’m proud of now, looking back, that I played all my footy at the one club.”
Spencer frankly puts the honour of being
Corowa Rutherglen champion Darrell Spencer joined O&M folklore on Wednesday, July 4 when he was inducted into the Ovens and Murray Football Netball League Hall of Fame.
awarded and recognized with Hall of Fame status down to a love for footy and enjoying the experience with other club members and players.
“I just loved playing footy, I loved the Roos and we have a lot of great characters at the Corowa Rutherglen footy club – we have for a long time,” he said.
“It wasn’t always just about playing and winning. I had the time of my life when I was playing footy, it was always great fun playing a sport that I loved.
“We had some really successful years and we had our down years too but throughout it all playing at a footy club, it becomes like your second family so it was always an easy choice for me.”
According to Spencer, experiencing those premiership wins will always be “cherished moments”, hoping the current Corowa Rutherglen seniors can experience a similar turn in fortuity.
“The footy environment has changed a lot over probably the last five or six years, it’s a lot different now to what it was back then but the wheels do turn,” he said.
“Nothing stays the same, so I do have confidence that with the right mix of youth and experience and good off-field guidance that we can be competitive again in the Ovens and Murray League.”
Darrell ‘Dasher’ Spencer became the sixth Corowa Rutherglen representative to be inducted into the O&M Hall of Fame.
A collage of Dasher’s playing days, including his 300-game milestone and premiership victory with the Roos.
Football has always been a big part of Darrell Spencer’s life. Here he is kicking a footy in the backyard as a three-year-old.
Darrell Spencer pictured with his sons Callum (17, left) and Tyler (19) who both currently play footy at Corowa Rutherglen, on the night of the O&M Hall of Fame Dinner.