Sport­ing roy­alty and en­ter­tain­ment

The Free Press (Corowa) - - CLASSIES (03) CLASSIES - BY ROBERT MUIR

It was a big part of the sev­enth an­nual Mar­cus Fraser Am­brose golf event. Our 40-yearold star in­ter­na­tional golfer has loved all six pre­vi­ous Sport­ing Night events.

“But this was the big­gest and best we’ve had,” Mar­cus told the big crowd. “I es­pe­cially thank ‘Ma­gro’ (tour­na­ment or­gan­iser Shaun Whitechurch).

“It’s a great turn out, at­tract­ing 300 peo­ple. Thank you all very much. It was Ma­gro’s idea seven years ago to have this event. To see so many peo­ple in this club is just amaz­ing.”

At­ten­dees loved hear­ing from all six sport­ing celebri­ties in a near three-hour Ques­tion and An­swer for­mat with Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies Ma­gro fir­ing ques­tions, many of them lead­ing or loaded ones.

It wasn’t all one-way traf­fic how­ever, as some, par­tic­u­larly Ball­dale/Corowa king John Long­mire re­turned fire with fire. So much so, that “you’re speech­less Ma­gro!” the Syd­ney AFL coach claimed at one stage.

All six sport­ing celebri­ties had com­mon traits – they didn’t ex­pect any­where the ul­ti­mate suc­cess they achieved in their fields but worked hard, they reached great heights and have han­dled suc­cess im­pec­ca­bly.

“All I wanted to do was to play for CorowaRuther­glen in the O and M along­side Den­nis San­dral who I idolised,” North Mel­bourne great and Syd­ney premier­ship coach John (Horse) Long­mire ad­mit­ted.

The 47-year-old, how­ever, played for the O and M Roos at the ten­der age of 16-years, in the side with club games equal record holder San­dral (333), played 200 games with and booted 511 goals for the big­ger, AFL Roos, won the Cole­man Medal and is the highly re­spected eight-year-coach of Syd­ney Swans, with a premier­ship to his name.

In an­swer to MC ques­tions, John said: “Lance Franklin loves his footy. And what a player.” “To have a ‘Duck’ (Wayne Carey) and a ‘Horse’ in the same team was re­ally spe­cial for me (the pair booted a com­bined 768 goals – Long­mire 464 – in six sea­sons). “What’s most ex­cit­ing about the job is work­ing with younger play­ers – to see that wide-eye en­thu­si­asm. “The hard­est things are telling some player he is to be dropped from a fi­nal and to tell him the club is cut­ting him loose. There’s an emo­tional com­mit­ment as coach.”

Long­mire booted 98 goals to win the Cole­man Medal in 1990 at just 19-years-of-age but copped friendly abuse from Colling­wood leg­end Peter Daicos who fin­ished on 97 that year. “Self­ish (some­thing)!” ‘Daics said.

There were stacks of laughs when Daics and Horse spoke. A bril­liant, freak­ish goal­kicker, 57-year-old Daics, nick­named the ‘Mace­do­nian Mar­vel’ by Lou Richards, kicked 549 through the big sticks in his 250 games with the Pies.

Ex­plain­ing his enor­mous goal-kick­ing abil­ity, the still very fit look­ing for­mer No. 35 said: “I prac­tised and prac­tised, al­ways looked af­ter my­self fit­ness-wise, and did a lot of kicks in the chang­e­rooms on the right hand side of my right foot.”

Peter’s 20-year-old son Josh, who has played 10 se­nior games with last year’s run­ners-up, will “make his own way” ac­cord­ing to Daicos se­nior.

At Colling­wood, there is the Peter Daicos Academy which wel­comes the sons and fam­i­lies of past Colling­wood leg­ends back the club.

Roy­alty con­tin­ued with Keith Greig MBE. What a ca­reer - as de­tailed re­cently in The Free Press. Such was the Vic­to­rian and North Mel­bourne cap­tain’s tal­ent, the 67-year-old re­ceived an MBE in the 1975 Queen’s Hon­ours list for con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralian Rules.

“From 1971 to 1975 I re­ceived $30 a game and paid $3 in tax,” he said. “When I re­tired in 1985, I was paid $30,000 for the sea­son and paid $12,000 in tax. I would have played for noth­ing.”

A qual­i­fied plum­ber, the red-haired Brown­low Medal­list of 1973 and 1974 ex­plained the clash with Rich­mond af­ter the Tigers be­lieved the Char­lie handed to him by one vote from Kevin Bartlett should have been Bartlett’s.

Greig also ex­plained the fall-out with his coach Ron Barassi, af­ter two re­gret­ful, per­sonal sprays from the highly suc­cess­ful coach.

“We get along al­right now,” 1996 Hall of Famer Greig said. He ad­dressed the ques­tion of state rep­re­sen­ta­tive foot­ball which was so pop­u­lar yes­ter­year, es­pe­cially with the in­put of the great­est foot­baller of all time, Ted Whit­ten.

“Teddy was the driv­ing force. He dragged you for­ward to play for the Big V. Bobby Sk­il­ton and John Ni­cholls were other great ad­vo­cates.”

Keiran Pratt, 30, is on the come­back golf trail af­ter a longish break. But the pro­fes­sional, who beat Tiger Woods in 2010 at the Aus­tralian Masters at Vic­to­rian Golf Club in Mel­bourne, is work­ing hard again and if he goes well in next month’s Vic­to­rian Open, his fu­ture could be bright.

“The golf course here is grouse. I re­ally liked it,” he said.

Other fine in­sights into their sports talks were given by Bet­fair’s Jack Dick­ens who ex­plained his spe­cial­ist role as horse rac­ing mount­ing yard ex­pert and Robert Starr, the 28-years-to date Holden Rac­ing Car en­gi­neer.

The Sports­man’s Night was free and won­der­fully re­ceived. “It was fan­tas­tic,” Ovens and Mur­ray League Hall of Famer, Den­nis San­dral told The Free Press.

“It is in­ter­est­ing the changes in the way the ad­min­is­tra­tion works when we heard from Keith Greig in the one-coach days to Syd­ney Swans’s eight coaches to­day.”

The Sports­man’s Night Auc­tion was a huge suc­cess, with a to­tal of $8,000 raised. “The auc­tion­eer was charis­matic, en­ter­tain­ing and en­thralled the crowd,” Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Deputy Mayor Whitechurch said of Mar­cus’s dad.

The MC and the club greatly ap­pre­ci­ated the mem­o­ra­bilia pro­vided by the guest speak­ers. For ex­am­ple, a bid­der paid $3000 for four friends to at­tend a Syd­ney home game and have a tour. “These six speak­ers do­nated their time to help the club out,” Ma­gro said.

About 300 peo­ple had a won­der­ful night of en­ter­tain­ment lis­ten­ing to six cham­pi­ons in four fields of sport at Corowa Golf Club last Saturday night.

Lo­cal auc­tion­eer John Fraser in ac­tion, with the first item fetch­ing $1500. It was a Colling­wood foot­ball jumper, signed by father son Peter and Josh Daicos.

John Long­mire was at his bril­liant best and more than stood up to ques­tions from MC Shaun Whitechurch.

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