Longmire Legacy

Australian Football celebrates its 140th anniversary in New South Wales this year after the founding of the NSW Football Association in Sydney in 1880.

To commemorate, 140 coaches, players, umpires, administrators and media personalities from both the Elite (VFL/AFL) and Community level will be inducted into the inaugural New South Wales Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Neil Cordy profiles Sydney Swans coach John Longmire a true blue New South Welshman:

John Longmire (centre) after NSW
beat Victoria 1990

John Longmire’s eight goal haul in NSW’s epic 1990 win over Victoria was a Hall of Fame effort in itself but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his family’s contribution to footy in New South Wales.

Four generations of Longmire’s have played, coached and administered football in NSW with three of those representing the state.

John’s grandfather Walter Longmire was the first to wear the sky blue when he played for NSW at the National Carnival in Melbourne in 1927.

Sixty-one years later John made his senior debut for the state as a 17-year-old in the 1988 Bicentennial Carnival in Adelaide. John’s son Thomas continued the tradition when he represented the NSW Primary Schools team in 2015.

Donning the state guernsey isn’t a custom that only travels down the Longmire line it’s also spreading through the branches of the family tree.

John’s younger brother Beau captained the NSW Combined Secondary Schools team as did Beau’s son Jedd who played at Primary and Secondary school level. Jedd’s very talented younger brother Tex was set to play for the Primary School team this year before Covid-19 intervened.

Wilbur Chandler (son of John and Beau’s sister Shellie) has also played for the NSW Primary and Secondary School teams.

It’s a production line which continues to grow as does John’s legacy at the Sydney Swans.

John is now in his 10th season as senior coach and his 20th at the club after working as an assistant for the previous decade. He has a 64% win-loss record, a premiership (2012), two runners up (2014 and 2016) and a total of 20 finals appearances. Last year was the first time the Swans have missed finals in his reign as coach.

This came after an outstanding 200 game career at North Melbourne where he booted 511 goals, won a Coleman Medal (1990) and played in the 1999 premiership team.

These exploits have the Longmire family’s service to the code pushing close to 100 years. They now sit very comfortably in the Pantheon of NSW footy families alongside the Quades, the Carrolls, the Danihers and the Strangs.

“The Sky Blue runs deep,” John Longmire said.

“It’s New South Wales right through our family.

“I wasn’t aware of my Grandfather’s NSW connection when I played in 1990. But when my dad showed me the photo of Walter from 1927 it really resonated.”

Corowa’s geography made Melbourne the bigger influence in his early football universe but as time passed John’s connection to his home state became stronger.

“My passion for NSW was a slow burn,” Longmire said. “I started wearing the sky blue growing up, first at primary school level, then secondary and at 17 I was in the senior team”.

“What really made an impact was playing alongside all four Daniher brothers. It hadn’t happened at Essendon because of different circumstances so this was pretty special”.

“I roomed with Neale and we didn’t waste the chance to celebrate the win over the Vics. All four brothers were there plus their five sisters and Jim and Edna. Neale got back to the room at about 4am and woke me to up to have a cup of tea and tell me about the 80 metre goal he kicked. It’s a great memory because the Danihers are one of the great NSW footy families.”

It was also a memorable night for John’s father Fred who had to drive through the night to get to the SCG. He was running on two hours sleep after working through the early hours sowing a wheat crop. It was worth the trouble as the sight of John wearing the same guernsey his father wore brought back some boyhood memories.

“I remember mum showing me dad’s (Walter Longmire) jumper from 1927 with the Waratah on it,” Fred Longmire said. “Who would have thought John would be wearing the same jumper 63 years later on the SCG and to play the way he did.”

Walter played for Balldale in the Coreen League for more than 20 years winning premierships in 1930 and 1934 before finally retiring at the age of 44..

“The Coreen League was a very strong competition during those years,” Fred Longmire said.

“There were a lot of very good footballers who had played in the VFL working in the area. They would beat a lot of the Ovens and Murray teams of the day.”

Fred was a pretty handy footballer too, he also played for Balldale before moving to Corowa in 1967 and winning their Best and Fairest. The following year he played in their premiership team coached by former Richmond champion and 1967 premiership captain Fred Swift.

He also had a run with South Melbourne in the 1960s playing in a couple of practice matches.

“I’ve still got the Football Record from one of those matches,” Fred said, “I was wearing number 48. I’m glad I kept it after John finished up at the Swans.”

John’s maternal grandfather Keith Williams was another big talent, playing for Fitzroy, captain-coaching Corowa and winning the Morris Medal for the Ovens and Murray Best and Fairest.

The Longmires are still very much a part of the Corowa area with Fred serving on the Council after a stint as Mayor and Beau running the farm which Walter selected 100 years ago called Sunny Hill.

Neil Cordy played 235 VFL/AFL games with Footscray and the Sydney Swans. After his AFL career Neil coached and played for East Sydney. He worked for Network Ten for 15 years as a reporter/presenter and on their AFL coverage. He was the AFL Editor for the Daily Telegraph from 2011 to 2018 and is currently a member part of ABC Grandstand’s AFL broadcast team.

30 Years Ago NSW Downs the Big V in Monumental Upset

“In the mud and slush of a rainy Sydney night thirty years ago (22 May 1990), a motley crew of New South Welshmen upset the Victorians at their own game.

When the star-studded Victorian Sate of Origin side arrived in Sydney to take on the footy minnows of New South Wales in 1990, they brought their arrogance and swagger.

A team containing some of the game’s all-time greats such as Stephen Silvagni, Dermott Brereton, Dale Weightman and Paul Salmon expected an easy Tuesday night at the SCG.

What they copped was a reality check.

Torrential rain greeted the Vics that afternoon and by the time the ball was bounced the conditions weren’t much better.

All the media talk pre-match had been about the Big V and how much they’d embarrass the local boys coached by then Sydney Swans coach Col Kinnear.

But the visitors didn’t count on the state pride of NSW players such as the Daniher brothers- Terry, team captain, Neale, Anthony and Chris – who were playing together for the first time in senior company, hardman Bernard “Huck” Toohey or North Melbourne teenage prodigies Wayne Carey and John Longmire”.

This excerpt from the NSW AFL Annual Report 1990 captures the pride, joy and excitement of the NSW State of Origin team beating Victoria in an interstate match for the first time since 1925 (https://nswfootballhistory.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/1990-NSWAFL-Annual-Report.pdf).

        Craig Davis

“I stuck it up Teddy Whitten” recalls NSWAFL General Manager Craig Davis (pictured left) with a laugh in his voice. Davis had put the game together in less than a month and did a magnificent job to pull all the parts and people together. Even better the outcome of his efforts was a momentous victory for NSW.

“I still can picture Ted Whitten sitting in the Ladies Stand looking absolutely bewildered” he added.

“It remains the biggest off-field initiative of mine in the game, only surpassed by (son) Nick’s 2005 AFL Premiership with the Swans” Davis recalls with immense satisfaction.

On the night of the match Nick Davis was staying in the family home of Bernard Toohey in Barooga with Bernard’s parents the late Vince and Jill; Nick was playing in the NSW PSSA Carnival.

After the after-match Davis drove through the night to Barooga arriving at the licensed Sports Club for breakfast, and in time to watch Nick play that morning on the club’s ground.

RESULT:

N.S.W. 2-4 8-5 11-6 13-8 (86)

Victoria 4-5 7-8 9-12 10-16 (76)

Attendance: 14,000

Best Players: John Longmire, Brett Allison, Mark Eustice, Tim Powell, Syevie Wright, John lronmonger

Goals: N.S.W.: John Longmire 8, Terry Daniher, Wayne Carey, Bernard Toohey, Neale Daniher, Mark Roberts John Ironmonger

Player of the Match: John Longmire

N.S.W. TEAM

PLAYERS: Terry Daniher (Captain), Steve Wright (Vice-Captain), Anthony Daniher, Michael Gayfer, Brett Allison, Tim Powell, Bill Brownless, Mark Eustice, David Bolton, Wayne Carey, Craig Potter, Neil Cordy, John Longmire, Bernard Toohey, Steve Wright, Chris Daniher, Michael Werner, Michael Phyland, Barry Mitchell, John Ironmonger, Neale Daniher, Mark Roberts, and Russell Morris

COACH & SELECTORS: Colin Kinnear (Coach), Rick Quade (Chairman of Selectors), Tony Franklin, Craig Davis, and John Reid

MEDICAL/TRAINERS: Phil Loxley (Doctor), Doug Coleman (Physiotherapist), Bruce Hunter (Head Trainer), Alex Kair, Matt Sheedy, Colin Moore, Gary Zealand, and Barry Snowden (Trainers)

OFFICIALS: Tim Johnson (Team Manager), Laurie Axford (Fitness Advisor), Peter Krisihos (Statistics), Mike Mealand (Property Manager), Bob McConnell (Timekeeper) Rod Gillett (Property Steward), Bernie Dowling (Doo

Lockhart’s Stunning Win Over Favourites Wagga Tigers in the 1960 Grand Final

Lockhart captain-coach Bernie Sculley
in front row with football at his feet

Sixty years ago, Lockhart caused a major boil-over in the Farrer Football League grand final when they defeated the unbeaten Wagga Tigers, who were gunning for four premierships in a row.

As it turns out, Tigers won the premiership for the next two years, but on the 10th September 1960, the then Lockhart Bulldogs 16-14 (110) beat Wagga 14-10 (94) at the Yerong Creek Recreation Reserve. The gate was £423 ($12,731 in to-day’s money).

Lockhart led by Riverina master-coach Bernie Sculley had come from third on the ladder at the culmination of the home-and-away games to beat Henty in the first semi-final at Culcairn,  and then Culcairn at Mangoplah, to earn a crack at the all-conquering Tigers.

Sculley came to the Riverina to coach Ariah Park Mirrool in the South West League in 1955 from North Melbourne where he had played in the Reserves after being recruited from Ormond CYMS.

He coached the Brown Bombers to a flag in his first year then to two memorable grand finals in 56-57 against Ganmain led by ex North Melbourne ruckman Mick Grambeau, who was then the highest paid footballer in Australia on £75 per game! plus a house and a milking cow.

Sculley went to coach Lockhart in the Farrer league from 1959-61. Perhaps his greatest coaching triumph was as non-playing coach of the South West representative team that won the Victorian Country Championships in 1964.

Tim Robb

His opposite number at Wagga Tigers, Tim Robb, also has an exemplary coaching record in the Riverina after moving from North Melbourne where he’d played in the 1950 VFL grand final to coach The Rock in 1952. Prior to this he had played 40 games with Footscray in 1947-49 after starting at Yarraville in the VFA. He then moved to North Albury and led them to a flag in 1955.  Incidentally, Tim played with the South Sydney club during WWII.

He moved to Wagga to coach Tigers and led them to five premierships, 1957-59 and 1961-62. He later coached teams to premierships at Collingullie, Walbundrie and Lockhart in the Hume league in 1981. He also coached North Wagga and Albury Tigers.

In 1960, Robb, a rover-forward topped the Farrer league goalkicking list with 69 goals ahead of Culcairn’s evergreen Harry “Splinter” Liston with 65; “Splinter” would end up playing over 600 games for the Lions.

The competition’s best and fairest award, the Baz Medal was won by Wagga’s Les “Sonny” Morrow, who would return to Collingullie as captain-coach when they entered the Farrer league in 1965.

Also in Tigers’ 1960 grand final team were vice-captain and men’s clothing retailer Ed Farrah, well-known Wagga realtor Milton Breust, rugged defender Col Lyons (from Yerong Creek) and tenacious rover Terry McGee.

While for Lockhart on the team list were vigorous vice-captain Ken Smith, leading ruckman Rod Habrecht, the Angove brothers, Des and “Tucker” from Milbrulong, and the speedy Perryman brothers, Geoff and Doug (who was 20th man). Doug is the grandfather of current GWS Giants player, Harry Perryman.

How do we know all this?

The Society has recently taken possession of all the match day programs produced for the Farrer Football League, then called “The Crier” from the first edition in 1960. These programs are now available on the NSW AFL History Society’s website:  (click)

The programs came to us in a very circuitous way. We got them from AFL Riverina in Wagga who had received them from former Farrer league and Wagga Tigers’ president John Bance. They had been dropped off in a sturdy wooden box all neatly bound at Bance’s Funeral Palour by Christine Power (wife of Wagga Tigers’ legend Peter “Pebbles” Power) for her aunt Chris, the wife of the late Bert Schmidt, the founding editor and publisher of “The Crier”.

Even the quarter-by-quarter scores are meticulously hand-written in all editions of the finals programs. For a full profile of Bert Schmidt go here

The price of the program in 1960 was 6d. (5c)

There were some classic advertisements, particularly from the hotels, many of whom are still sponsors!

“Good Beer – Good Cheer – Snack bar here” Kings Own Hotel The Rock

“Good Drink Before and After – The Football Hotel” Railway Hotel Lockhart Phone 13

“For Good Beer at Half-Time or ANY Time” Central Hotel Henty Phone 149

The final word belongs to the victorious Lockhart captain-coach Bernie Sculley who in the column for the comments from the coach says, “At first glance it would appear that this game would be a walkover for Wagga, but as is always the case in grand finals, victory will not come easily”. Too true.

Allan Jeans

Australian Football celebrates its 140th anniversary in NSW this year after the founding of the NSW Football Association in Sydney in 1880. One hundred and forty coaches, players, umpires, administrators and media personalities from both the Elite (VFL/AFL) and Community level will be inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame at an event to be confirmed later in the year.

Neil Cordy and Rod Gillett profile the nominees for the Hall of Fame:

Allan Jeans coaching St Kilda in the 1960s

Controversy was never something Allan Jeans courted throughout his amazing 31-year career as a VFL/AFL player and coach. But before it all started, he found himself right in the middle of one when he moved from Tocumwal to Finley in 1952.

Jeans accepted an offer to play at Finley and work at the Albion Hotel which was run by Finley coach Bert DeAbbel who was also making the move from Tocumwal.

Tocumwal were furious and refused to grant Jeans a clearance which forced him to sit out the season and miss a premiership.

Three years later he was off to St Kilda with the consolation of playing in Finley’s 1954 premiership.

Neither the Saints nor Jeans had a clue what was in store. His 77 games as a player (1955-1959) gave little indication either.

But two decades later he had transformed the course of St Kilda’s history.

The highlight came in 1966 when Kevin ‘Cowboy’ Neale’s five goals and Barry Breen’s wobbly point gave them their first and only premiership.

They also played in grand finals in 1965 and 1971, preliminary finals in 1970 and 1972 and made finals appearances in 1961, 1963, 1968 and 1973.

He finished with a win loss record of 193-138.

In the previous 16 seasons (1945-1960) before Jeans arrival as coach the Saints had won seven wooden spoons, never got near a final and went 75-216.

By 1976 Jeans was in his words was “burned out” and took a five-year break from coaching in the VFL.

He took on the part-time role of coaching NSW in 1979-80 in the national club championships involving State league clubs from Victoria, WA and SA and representative teams from the other states. Under Jeans, the Sky Blues earned new-found respect.

In 1981 he jumped back on the horse and took over from David Parkin at Hawthorn.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship which produced arguably the greatest period of success of any club in the game’s history.

The Hawks had missed the finals in Parkin’s last two years but Jeans had them firing again in 1982 when they finished third. They then played in seven consecutive grand finals (1983-1989) and eight of the next nine winning five. Jeans missed the 1988 premiership after suffering a brain injury leaving Alan Joyce as caretaker.

At his funeral in 2011 John Kennedy Jnr. spoke on behalf of the players he had led to so much success. Kennedy described how Jeans set the tone for what was to come in his very first address, “Yabby said as players we did not have to like him but we must respect the position he holds at this football club,” Kennedy said. “He will need to earn our respect and we his, he demanded we respect the position he held as coach”, he added.

It was also the first of many memorable motivational speeches to the players. Kennedy recalled some of his favourites in his eulogy.

“He would stress continually that in football and life you cannot have freedom without responsibility,” Kennedy said. “That freedom to say and do things must be accompanied by a responsibility in what you say and do. You cannot have one without the other, he would roar.”

His half time address at the epic 1989 grand final is famous:

“It was about a mother who needed to pay the price for her son’s new shoes if she wanted them to last”. “She had to pay the price,” Jeans boomed. “If you want to win the game you have to be prepared to pay the price.”

Dermot Brereton and Robert DiPierdomenico paid the price with serious injuries including broken ribs, internal bleeding and in Dipper’s case a punctured lung. They played on and claimed Jeans fourth and final premiership.

Then there was his renowned sense of humour.

He was explaining the appointment of his great friend George Stone as runner:
“Well it’s like this,” Jeans said, “Napoleon during his times of war needed a messenger to get information to the troops. He decided to select the dumbest individual in his army because he believed if he could get the message through to him then it was more likely the message would get to the troops correctly! George is our runner.”

Kennedy said there was often banter between coach and players:
“We all knew he came from Finley,” Kennedy said.
“We would get into him about how small it was and how little he knew about the world. It was obviously completely wrong because he was a career policeman and saw a side of life we never did.”

There were also things he learned before he moved to the big smoke like his sense of right and wrong and compassion.

When he was a teenager working at the Albion Hotel in Finley he would look out for World War 2 veterans who had fallen on hard times. He would let them use the hotel’s shower to clean themselves up and often share his evening meal with them.

Allan Jeans was named Coach of the NSW Greatest Team at the Carbine Club AFL function in Sydney last year. This induction earnt him nomination to the AFL NSW Hall of Fame.

Jack Dean – NSW Hall Of Fame Nomination

Australian Football celebrates its 140th anniversary in NSW this year after the founding of the NSW Australia Football Association in Sydney in 1880. One hundred and forty coaches, players, umpires, administrators and media personalities from both the Elite (VFL/AFL) and Community level will be inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame at an event to be confirmed later in the year.

Neil Cordy and Rod Gillett profile some of the nominees for the Hall of Fame:

Jack Dean in 1958

In the 1949 interstate match between NSW and Victoria at the SCG twenty-year-old East Suburbs FC ruckman Jack Dean went up against veteran Victorian captain and legendary Richmond icon Jack Dyer at the opening bounce.

“He sat me on my arse!”

“The Vics. cleaned us up that day, but it was a great thrill to play against them” recalled Jack in an interview at the Alexandria Hotel in 2009.

“We thought we were a chance, our coach Frank Dixon (later Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney) was a great motivator and we trained for weeks in advance with a view to beating them” he added.

Born and bred in Paddington, Jack went down to Trumper Park with his brother Mal in 1944. His father Joe had also played for East Sydney, as did Jack’s son, Marshall. Thus Jack Dean began a distinguished football career that took in over 400 games in NSW until he retired in 1966.

He played 310 games for Easts, 45 for Sydney Naval, and 40 games for Ardelthan in the Riverina.

Jack also represented NSW on 25 occasions including the Australian National Football Council (ANFC) Centenary Carnival in Melbourne in 1958 where he was voted the State’s best player.

He was a star performer in five of Easts’ flags in this period when the club won a staggering seven premierships in a row under legendary coaches Fred Pemberton,  Alf Penno and Roy Hayes from 1953-59.

Following his stand-out performance at the 1958 carnival. where he won the Div II Best Player medal, Jack took up an offer to coach Ardlethan in the South-West League in southern NSW.

“We struggled to match it with the clubs from the bigger places, but we always took it up to them. We had lots of good times afterwards particularly at the London (Ardlethan’s only pub). After 6 o’clock the publican would pull down the blinds and we’d have a great sing-along around the piano. The other clubs used to love to stay back after a game at Ardelthan!”

Following his return from the bush Jack spent a season coaching Easts; he crossed to Sydney Naval, where he played until he retired in 1966 including the 1962 premiership.

He won East Sydney’s best and fairest four times and was runner-up on four occasions.

Allan Jeans

After his retirement, Jack returned to Easts on the committee and assumed the presidency in 1970 and held the position until 1982 during which time the Bulldogs won six premierships including the much-vaunted club centenary flag in 1980.

Jack was a long-serving State team selector and served as chairman of selectors for former St Kilda and Hawthorn premiership coach, Alan Jeans, in 1979-1980, when NSW competed in the national pre-season competition against VFL clubs.

The best and fairest medal at UNSW-Eastern Suburbs is named in his honour. He is a life member of the club and was awarded an Aust National Football Council Merit Award in 1977.

Jack was one of the first players inducted into the AFL Sydney Hall of Fame in 2003.

This induction earnt him a nomination under the category of Community Player for the AFL NSW Hall of Fame as part of the celebrations for the 140th year of Australian Football in NSW in 2020.

 

You can listen to (football) Jack’s life story in two parts on our website;  Here is part I here and part II here  You might have to turn your sound up a bit.