Family & Work Land Temora a Flag in 1960

By Dr Rodney Gillett

1960 premiership Mal Reid Jnr wearing
the original guernsey with son Adam, in jumper
worn in 2012-2013 premierships

The Reid family connections run deep at the Temora footy club with direct links to the 1959-1960 and 2012-2014 premierships that have nourished the club and its supporters between flags.

In 1960 Mal “Nugget” Reid led Temora to a grand final victory over Marrar in the Central Riverina Australian National League at Bolton Park, Wagga, 9-6 (60) to 4-3 (27).

It was Temora’s second premiership in a row; the green and golds also beat Marrar in 1959 when “Nugget” coached from the sidelines while playing for Coolamon in the neighbouring major league, the South West DFL.

Mal and his twin brother “Jacko” were members of former South Melbourne captain Ian “The Heap” Gillett’s Coolamon’s premiership team that defeated Leeton before a record crowd for Australian football in the Riverina at the Narrandera Sportsground of 12,000.

A key member of the 1960 premiership team was Bayden “Ben” Krause, now aged 85 who had only started playing football a few years before but had a break-out year booting 80-odd goals and being awarded the CRL Player of the Year.

“We went through the season undefeated. We were all so super-fit, we worked hard on farms and we were well led by Nugget”, “Ben” told me in an interview for this article.

“We were very close, all good mates, we nearly all worked on farms or were shearers or timber-cutters, the only player who wasn’t worked at a bank in town” Ben said. “I remember working with eight team-mates in our shearing shed” added Ben.

The other place the Temora footballers congregated at was church as so many of the team were Lutheran. The Hartwigs, Noel and Ron, Frank Terlich, Brian Wehrsedt, and Alan, Brian and Barry Block as well as the Krauses, Ben and younger brother Wayne (aka “Mousie” (record games holder) went to the Lutheran church at Trungley Hall, 20 kms north of the town.

The Lutherans mainly from South Australia came to take up land after the pastoral runs were opened up for settlement in the early part of the 20th century.

The first football club was first formed in Temora in 1893 (Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 13 May 1893), but the club has not always been in continuous existence.

In fact, Temora has been a battleground since rugby league was introduced in 1912 by a school-teacher according to the history book, Temora: Yesterday and Today, 1880-1980.

This accords with the thesis that it was the “3 Cs – the chalkies, the coppers, and the civil servants” that introduced the game to the major towns in the Riverina.

But the small towns and villages held onto the football that their descendants had bought with them from the southern areas of Australia when closer settlement of the land was undertaken.

What emerged in the research for this article was the separation of town and district – with historically, the farmers, farm hands, and shearers played the indigenous game, and the “townies” played the rugby codes depending on their social background.

For most of the pre-WWII period Temora played against district clubs such as Tara, Pucawn, Mimosa, Springdale, Bectric, Rannock and Winchendon Vale (Ariah Park News (31/5/1923). However, research by Peter Clark (the author of the forthcoming book on the History of the Rannock FC) shows that for part of the 1930s there was a Temora and district league but no Temora club!

This is supported by Temora footy legend Phil “Hawk” Reid, who told me in an interview over the phone in the paddock in the rain delirious with joy that the crop was off, that his grandfather Malcolm Reid snr, known as “Mike” captained Mimosa in the Temora competition.

Another former Temora captain-coach Garry Richardson, son of 1959-60 premiership hero Jim Richardson, who coached in 1983 recalled that most of the players came from farms.

After the war, the Temora footy club resumed in the local district league, then transferred to the Ariah Park & District FL, but when that was disbanded the club went into recess from 1952-54.

It was Mike Reid and Jim Richardson among others that revived the club. Jim had gone to Temora to work as a guard at the RAAF base towards the end of the war and stayed on to become a shearer and was joined by his brother Peter, the full forward in the 1960 premiership team.

Temora entered the Wagga and District League and found immediate success by beating Junee by 3 points in the 1955 grand final, but two players who had played all season were deemed ineligible and the club refused a replay. The club made amends by sweeping to victory in 1956.

Both Marrar and Temora joined the Central Riverina league in 1957 when the Farrer league was formed taking in Wagga Tigers, North Wagga, Mangoplah and The Rock in a major shake-up to local competitions. New club Cootamundra and Junee joined the CRL (Central Riverina Football League) in 1960.

Buoyed by success in 1959-60 Temora joined the Farrer league in 1961 and had almost immediate success but were runner-up in 1963 and 1964 losing to Culcairn and Holbrook respectively.

It was when Temora entered the Farrer league that the club changed to blue and white vertical stripes to avoid a clash with Holbrook.

But premierships eluded Temora until 2012, in between Phil “Hawk” Reid, who won ten club best and fairest awards, played in seven losing preliminary finals. Phil also played in a losing grand final team whilst assistant coach at Ariah Park Mirrool in 1985.

However, his sons, Adam (2012-13), Daniel (2013), and Jason (2013-14) were prominent players in Temora’s historic hat-trick of premierships that finally broke the drought.

Adam’s son, 8 year old son Max, is set to continue the Reid tradition at Temora having started Auskick while Daniel’s twin babies, Felix and Teddy, have maternal grandfather Richard Colless planning for them to play in red and white.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Gary and Robyn Tagliabue, Peter Clarke, Garry Richardson, Bayden Krause, and Phil Reid

Captain Kirk – Persistence & Durability

Neil Cordy profiles the nomination of Brett Kirk to the AFL NSW Hall of Fame:

Twice dead and buried before his AFL career got off the ground Brett Kirk is the ultimate story of persistence.

He’s also an incredible tale of durability.

Kirk missed just one game in his entire career, country and reserves footy included, that’s right, one solitary game in 18 years of footy.

From the age of 16 when he was thrown into the deep end of the Ovens and Murray League playing for North Albury to his ‘Swansong’ in the 2010 semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs at the MCG 18 years later, Kirk had just one week on the sidelines.  It was a Swans reserves match in his first season in Sydney in 1999.

“It was a nick in my quad,” Kirk said. “I remember having a chat with Matt (Cameron) the Swans physio. I thought that I could play and Matt thought I should take a week off.”

Neither Cameron nor Kirk knew at the time they were putting the kybosh on a ‘Guinness Book of Records’ type effort for resilience. Imagine going through an entire footy career without missing a game.

On top of his 241 games for the Swans Kirk estimates he played more than 80 games for North Albury and another 60 plus for the Swans Reserves. That’s more than 380 games and only one missed through injury.

Brett Kirk

It’s a phenomenal effort in any era of football but Kirk achieved this feat with the added challenge of playing as an inside midfielder. Heavy body contact was a given and in his case it was being delivered by players like Mark Ricciuto and Nathan Buckley who were more than 10kg heavier than his 80kg frame.

“Timing was everything,” Kirk said. “I did a lot of homework on my opponents. Mark Ricciuto for example I would push him under the ball and hit him late and move my feet. I kept away from situations where I was vulnerable, if I got into a wrestle with these guys they would move me and I wouldn’t be effective”.

“You changed your tactics according to whether it was Lenny Hayes, Simon Black, Nathan Buckley or Mark Ricciuto. They all had different strengths, it was about knowing their strengths and where I could expose them”, he added.

Kirk also learned a thing or two from his dad Noel Kirk who played for the Burrumbuttock Swans in the Hume League. Noel lost his hand in a farming accident at the age of four but still played out a long and successful career.

“He played on the half back flank and was as tough as an old boot,” Kirk said.

“He would spoil the ball with his right fist and then hit someone in the back of the head with his stump. He was a left footer and played an aggressive bruising style of footy. He played for a long time.”

Growing up Brett loved the atmosphere at the footy at Burrumbuttock, when he wasn’t sneaking into the rooms he would be climbing trees, eating chips and peeping over the fence to see how it was going. He even followed the Sydney Swans because they wore the red and white of Burrumbuttock. He also gleaned some pretty handy footy IP”.

“When I was growing up my dad said if you hesitate you get hurt,” Kirk said. “He was right, the way I attacked the contest was I was fully invested in it every time. I was never in the in-between phase, I was in it or through it.”

The footy and life lessons Brett learnt from his dad would come in handy over the coming years as the knock backs came.

The first was in 1996 when Kirk was on the Swans supplementary list. He was studying a Bachelor of Education at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and flying in each week to play for the Swans Reserves. He had played every game for the season (19) but was dropped for the Preliminary Final.

“I was shattered,” Kirk said. “I didn’t hear anything from the club from that point on. The first I heard from the club was a letter from Rob Snowdon in January. It said thanks for your service but I was no longer required. I just put my head down and worked harder, spent another couple of years at Uni and finished my degree and got another chance.”

He earnt another shot thorough a stand-out performance for Victorian Country at the national country championships at Bendigo in 1998 and he was selected in the All-Australian Country team. The Victorian team was managed by David Matthews (now Giants CEO) who strongly encouraged him to have another crack at the AFL.

Kirk was back at the Swans in 1999 and kicked three goals on debut in round 19 against the Kangaroos. He played the remaining four games including a losing final against Essendon and another 36 games over the next three and a half seasons but when Sydney hit a bad patch of form midway through 2002 Kirk was in the gun again.

“Rocket (Rodney Eade) took Daniel McPherson and I into his office and said we’re not going to make finals so we will play younger players,” Kirk said.

“I remember going home devastated but within seven days Rocket had left and Paul Roos took over. I didn’t play in his first two games as coach but I played in his third and then the next 200 consecutively.”

Those 200 included the 2005 premiership, that year when Kirk won the Bob Skilton Medal and added another in 2007. He was runner up four times, third once and eighth in his last year.

His partnership with Paul Roos was an enormously successful period for the Swans resulting in 18 finals appearances over seven campaigns in eight years.

“Paul coached 202 games and I played in 200 of them. We finished up in the same match in 2010,” Kirk said.

“Paul and I had a strong relationship that was built on honesty and trust and we would challenge each other to be better”.

Kirk is currently the Head of Wellbeing and Development at the Swans.

His family are all involved in footy, his wife Hayley coaches and their children Indhi, Memphys, Tallulah and Skout all play.

Book Review by Dr Rod Gillett – PURPLE REIGN

Paul Daffey, On the Premiership Trail: More Travels in Victorian Country Football, Daffey Publications, Melbourne, 2020. ISBN: 978-0-646-82660. RRP $35.00

Book review by Dr Rod Gillett

When the Nathalia footy team win the premiership on the Monday morning they take the cup to the aged care retirement village in town to share with the residents; that’s how much it means to this small community (pop. 1902) in the heart of the Murray Valley.

And the Mighty Purples, the “Purps”, know how to find the retirement home, they’ve won ten of the last 15 premierships in the Murray Football League. A stunning record for a competition that currently numbers fourteen clubs.

In his latest book on country football, On the Premiership Trail: More Travels in Victorian Country Football, Paul Daffey goes inside two of the most recent successful country clubs, Nathalia and Kyabram, to find out why.

Daffey finds that there’s nothing in the water at the Broken Creek at Nathalia or the Waranga Mallee Channel at Kyabram; it’s all about the “culture” of the respective footy clubs based on deep community ties and genuine leadership on and off the paddock.

In the change rooms before the 2019 grand final at Finley Daffey finds five former premiership coaches of Nathalia working harmoniously together in various capacities to assist the first-time captain-coach Mal Barnes plot victory over Tongala.

As Daffey notes, “No one appears to have an ego that demands singular attention to his own mighty deeds. All the old coaches pour their memories and experiences into the Purple Pot of Knowledge. They are willing to contribute to the greater good”

Nathalia win to make it five flags in a row to set a new record for the Murray league, which they entered in 1933; they only won four premierships in the 20th century. Daffey, who trained as a football reporter at the Bendigo Advertiser, provides an excellent report in the final chapter as he does for all the other grand finals he attended.

I went on part of the premiership trail with Paul Daffey when I met him in Shepparton on the Sunday the day after the Purps’ historic win for the Goulburn Valley grand final between Kyabram, known simply as Ky, and Echuca.

As an old Ky boy I was keen to see if they could win their 83rd game out of 84 for three premierships in four years, the only loss being to Shepp, (Shepparton, Victoria) in 2018, Ky’s nemesis in the 60s when Tommy Hafey led the Maroons to three successive premierships, 1963-65, which I witnessed, before going to Richmond.

Paul Daffey’s quest to find the formula for Ky’s success which included a visit for several days during the previous season revealed that it was mostly down to the coach, Paul Newman, known as “Paulo”, who “… showed true loyalty and humility throughout his long and illustrious career. As a coach, those same qualities have proved vital in gelling together the best playing list in the club’s history”.

Daffey’s findings show that, “Every player at Kyabram wants to play for Paulo. Every official loves him. Every supporter loves him. It is rare that I have been at a footy club and noted such a clear fulcrum in the fortunes of his club”.

When he quizzed “Paulo” about Ky’s success, he was told to go and talk to “Dirty”.

So Daffey went to see “Dirty” David Williams, the Melbourne 1988 grand final full-forward, who returned home to coach Rochester for sixteen seasons including two premierships.

Williams had been lured to coach Kyabram for the 2008 season after Rochy (Rochester) wanted the euphemistic ‘change of direction’ – even though as the club’s major sponsor (Hotel Rochester), he tipped more money into the club than he was paid to coach! Nonetheless Rochester went onto to dramatically beat Seymour for the GVL premiership while “Dirty” set about building the platform for Ky’s sustained success including a flag in 2013.

The chapter written about Daffey’s interview with David Williams is enthralling. “Dirty” is renowned for being “tetchy” and he had a blow-up with Daffey over a piece in The Age back in 2003. I was fastened to my chair reading this chapter as they worked through the issues. Williams is highly-regarded in Rochester, not just for his football prowess, but for his generosity of spirit and material assistance.

It is a shame that Daffey was not able to include Maffra and Koroit on his premiership trail. Just like Nathalia they are minnows in their respective competitions and been equally as successful over the past decade and won premierships in 2019.

However, he does write a section on Koroit’s triple premiership coach, the intriguing Adam Dowie, who also landed flags at Terang-Mortlake and Warrnambool in the Hampden league and led North Warrnambool into the 2019 grand final which they lost to Koroit.

Daffey interviewed Dowie in the coach’s room, a tin shed at Bushfield oval before training, when Dowie cited the example of coaches who demand that every player must run around a particular goalpost during a training drill.

Dowie told him that rather than waste energy on demanding that every player must make his way around a particular post, he demands that every player must perform the role expected of him each and every time he takes the field.

One of the revelations of Daffey’s book is how he saw the future of country football at an outer suburban oval in Bendigo at Maiden Gully, when they took on Loddon Valley powerhouse the Mitiamo Superoos in the opening round of 2019.

YCW Maiden Gully are now the largest football-netball club in central Victoria while Mitiamo’s senior team contained no local players, not one. As Daffey points out, the growing regional centres like Bendigo, Ballarat, Albury, Mildura, and Warrnambool provide the pool of players for so many of the outlying country clubs.

Paul Daffey is an acute observer of the game and its people, and the trends in country football, he is also a wonderful storyteller with an innate ability to craft a body of work with telling insight that makes compelling reading.

 

On the Premiership Trail: More Travels in Victorian Country Football is available from the Collins bookstores in Albury and Echuca from the author pauldaffey27@gmail.com  

 

 

 

 

Queanbeyan fly the NSW flag in the ACT AFL

by Dr Rod Gillett

The footy team from “Struggletown” used to struggle to beat the “Big Three” from across the border in the ACT but over the past forty years the Queanbeyan Tigers have become a powerhouse in the AFL Canberra competition.

The Tigers won the AFL Canberra premiership in 2020 and were the only team based in the ACT to win the NEAFL premiership in 2012 when they beat the Sydney Swans, 18-13 (121) to 13-13 (91).

The Queanbeyan footy club has an established ground, Margaret Donohue Oval, with an impressive, licensed club facility established in 1983 across the road in the south of Queanbeyan.

According to club historian and Queanbeyan’s Mr Football Ron “Chook” Fowlie 1960 was the year the Tigers began to match it with the “Big Three”: Ainslie, Manuka and Eastlake according to the club’s excellent history book Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright… 1925-1988.

Former star local Keith Schow had returned to coach after coaching St George in the Sydney competition from 1956-58. He had won the Mulrooney medal for the best and fairest in the ACT AFL in 1950 at age 19, and then went to Collingwood for two seasons before returning to play with combined Acton-Queanbeyan teams that won premierships in 1953-54.

He is regarded as one of the best full backs to have played in the ACT AFL, and according to his vice-captain Bob Griffin he was a prodigious kick and “close-playing defender”.

Keith, and his younger brothers Ross and Peter, on the half back flanks with Griffin at centre half-back were the mainstays of a rock-solid defence that were “spoilers and very tight” according to Bob Griffin in an interview for this piece.

The Schow brothers had all come through the Tigers’ junior organisation that had been started by their father George in 1931 that formed the nucleus of the senior teams in this period.

Under Keith the Tigers made the final four in 1959 but were eliminated in the first semi final by Ainslie. The same fate bedevilled the club again in 1960 but at last they were competitive.

In 1961 after beating Manuka in the first semi-final and Eastlake in the preliminary final, the Tigers made their first grand final since 1941 but succumbed to Ainslie by 8 points in the grand final.

Bob Griffin can’t recall too much about the grand final loss played before a record crowd of 6,000 at Manuka Oval except that Ainslie were “too good on the day”.

“Griffo” played 151 games for the Tigers after starting in the juniors, and after “getting too slow at age 29” he went to play rugby league for the Queanbeyan Blues.

“I grew up playing both codes. I played for the love of it. All my mates were playing.  It kept us pretty fit. We used to love taking on the Canberra clubs, we’d bung on a ‘blue’ and head straight back over the border after the game to have a drink at the Royal” he nostalgically recalled.

He does recall playing on a young Alex Jesaulenko from Eastlake in the year before “Jezza” went to Carlton in the VFL, “He was very hard to put off his game!”.

Bob, now aged 84, is still involved with the Tigers and helps out on match days as a masseuse.

“The Tigers are a great club and have a terrific set-up. It’s all down to ‘Chookie’”.

Ron Fowlie has done absolutely everything at the Queanbeyan Tigers since starting in the juniors as a player: secretary, president, football manager, Under 19s coach, club secretary-manager, and the driving force behind the establishment of the licensed club.

Ron Fowlie today

The Tigers have won ten premierships in AFL Canberra since 1985 after securing former Riverina star Brian Quade from rival club Manuka in 1984. “Ocker” led the Tigers to their drought-breaking premiership in 1985 over old-rivals Ainslie – the club’s first since 1941.

In an interview for this piece Brian told me that the Queanbeyan Tigers was more of a country style of club that he was used to from the Riverina. “I recruited heavily from the Riverina and they fitted in well. Fellas like Leo Lucas, Jack Lucas, Peter Sculley, Richie Burge, Ian Male and Rex Imrie really made an impression”. So did Brian, he coached the club for ten years and won four flags.

“The club was on the rise before I got there and we had a great home ground fortress which we used to advantage. Canberra sides hated crossing the border to meet the ‘tough country NSW boys’”, Quade recalls.

“There was a strong committee, lots of volunteers and a good supporter base” he added.

The Queanbeyan Australian Football Club founded in 1925 became a member of the ACT club competition which was formed a year earlier in 1924.

Queanbeyan has been derisively referred to as “Struggletown” by Canberrans over the years. It was immortalized in a song entitled “Struggle Town” by rock band The Choirboys as well as being the subject of academic papers at universities in Canberra.

Source: R. Fowlie (Ed.) Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright… 1925-1988: Queanbeyan Australian Football Club.

The Best Footballer in Australia – in 1933

Rod Gillett profiles the nomination of Jimmy Stiff to the AFL NSW Hall of Fame:

 

Jimmy Stiff NSW & South Sydney

Jimmy Stiff was voted the best player at the Australian National Football Carnival (ANFC) in Sydney in 1933.

He was the first and only ever NSW to be awarded such an honour. At this carnival it was known as the Major Condor Trophy, named after the donor, the General Manager of the ABC.

It was the forerunner to the Eric Tassie medal that was inaugurated in 1937 for the best player at the carnival based on voting by the umpires right up until the last interstate carnival in 1988.

The national championships involving all states playing against each other had started in 1908 and was the highest level of football in the country in this period.

Jimmy polled 5 votes to win the award from Jock Collins (Victoria) and Ted Flemming (WA), who each polled two votes. Victorian star Hadyn Bunton only polled two votes.

Legendary Sporting Globe football reporter W.S. “Jumbo” Sharland wrote of Jimmy’s win,

“The victory of Stiff will be very popular in Sydney, for among local Australian Rules enthusiasts, he is an idol. Out of nearly 100 crack footballers from all parts of the Commonwealth … a little fellow like Stiff managed to win through” (Sporting Globe, 14 August 1933).

“Stiff proved himself a very plucky, clever little rover. He is game as they make them. … he can get the ball and he is a terrier on the ground and a good mark for his inches”.

Jimmy Stiff was only 1.6m (5’ 3’’) tall and weighed only 64.5 kg. (10 st 3 lb). By all reports he was a “pocket Hercules” according to contemporary reports in the Sydney press.

Jimmy grew up in Mascot and attended the Gardeners Road Public School, a nursery for Australian football at this time under Rupert Browne, and he played in NSW schoolboys’ representative teams.

He debuted for South Sydney at age 17 and played in their 1934 and 1935 premiership teams under master coach Frank Dixon as well as the grand final in 1932.

He first represented NSW against the VFA at the SCG in 1931. He booted 5 goals and voted best-on-ground in the 16-point loss, NSW 13-13 (91) to VFA 16-11 (107).

Stiff represented the State ten times and was in the best players in every game he played. He was also in the best in the match against the VFL at the SCG in 1932.

He was at his absolute best in the 1933 carnival; he was in the best payers against eventual champion Victoria (lost by 53 points), Tasmania (won by 25 points), Queensland (won by 85 points), and best-on-ground in the 10-point loss to Western Australia.

Clearly, he would have been selected in the All-Australian team if one had been selected at the time; the first official All-Australian team was not selected until 1953.

The equivalent of a Tassie medal and an All-Australian should make him a walk-up start  for the AFL Hall of Fame, not just the AFL NSW Hall of Fame. He was an inaugural member of the AFL Sydney Hall of Fame in 2003.

Jimmy was a natural all-round sportsman who also played first grade cricket in the Sydney competition with the Glebe club after starring as a schoolboy for NSW.

In 1935 Jimmy switched to rugby league with South Sydney and was in strong contention for the 1937-38 Kangaroos tour of Great Britain.

He returned late in the season from playing full-back for the Rabbitohs to play in Souths’ NSW ANFL premiership win alongside his brother Malcom, better known as Mickey. He kicked the first goal of the grand final while his brother booted four goals.

Tragically, Jimmy Stiff, who worked as a tool maker, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Botany Road, Botany in December of 1937.

His South Sydney footy coach and friend Frank Dixon was waiting for him at the Rosebery Hotel in Botany Road.

He told president of the Football History Society, Ian Granland in a recorded interview in 2005 that he was waiting a long time for the “little champ” then someone he knew walked into the pub and gave him the shocking news of his death.

Frank Dixon, who coached NSW State teams in 1936-38 and then again from 1947 to 1952, rated Jimmy the best player he had seen in Sydney in his time in football.