Ever heard of Fred?
No, I bet you haven’t. Neither had we until he made contact.
Fred played juniors for the North Shore club when you could count the number of juniors in the area on one hand. He went on to play in the Under 18 competition (third grade) for the club.
Fred may well have doubled up for a few games in the league’s initial third grade year of 1957, but 1958 was his season.
Learning the game at 14 from a friend, Keith Keen, at Crows Nest High School, who in fact seduced Fred over from Rugby League. He resided at Lavender Bay and following his schooling began an apprentice as a ships’ plumber. In football though, he was in the right spot for selection in the North Shore Under 18 side, a team coached by North Shore veteran, Horrie Cooper.
Fred was getting a few kicks from the centre and along with his mates John Busby, Warren Margrate. Bob Fitzgerald, Clinton Faull and Tony McGillick together a few others they were the ones given an occassional credit but the slack Football Record correspondent from North Shore FC apparently didn’t really rate the team.
Slowly though North Shore crept up the ladder and into second place. Their only nemises was Eastern Suburbs who suffered one defeat for the season at the hands of St George-Sutherland in the middle of the year but eventually went on to win the minor premiership; While North lost four games to finish in second place.
East defeated North Shore easily in the second semi and again in the grand final but all the while Fred was making his mark.
He won the best and fairest award in the competition, the Kealey Medal. Medal? No, the league were so mean to this eight team competition that they gave Fred a pewter mug as his reward for the achievement – as our picture shows. Even first and second grade medal winners were given engraved cake trays and silver serving items until the mid 1950s.
In 1959 Fred represented NSW in an Under 18 team, under coach, Roy Hayes, which played against a Footscray under age team on Johnson Reserve in Melbourne. Later that day his whole side were invited to witness the VFL Grand Final featuring Melbourne and Essendon.
Now in his seventies, Fred has decided to donate the mug and a number of other items to the Society for safe keeping and prosperity. Fred told us he is also keen to initiate a trust for an Aboriginal club within NSW – details to follow.
This retired footballer, who made a comeback to footy in the early 1970s when he played in North’s “SDA” side, (very early second division) where, as captain he finished third in the Hart Medal in 1972. It just makes yo wonder how many young men who have finished their serious footy maybe out there just ripe to come back to a social game or two? We have to keep trying.