All-Australians, red heads and crows
The UNE IV team won our division in 1970 with yours truly as captain/coach — this is something that I have always been proud of. UNE had one player picked into the combined side, Andy Cowan. Unfortunately for me and others there were too many good rovers around in the Vic, SA and WA teams for me to get a guernsey. The vice captain and co-selector for the 1970 side was Bill (WR) Hudson who became captain/coach of the 1971 UNE side and also a half blue recipient. He was best man at my wedding and we still keep in touch. He is now in Nerang in Qld and I expect to see more of him now as his son has been picked up by the Adelaide Crows.This partly came about over a few beers in the backyard when Bill was in town for a convention. He mentioned his son Ben was going into the draft and I told him to contact the Crows as we/they needed a good big man able to “mix it a bit” — something Bill was able to do in his time. Page was again the flag runners up in 1970.We were in front all day and some big red headed lad (I can’t think of his name) fired one out of his backside for Robb to win with less than a minute to go. The previous year (1969) we drew the final.
Rules, Rusty, kegs and barrels
Late in 1972 whilst still at school I remember hearing about a degree called Agricultural Economics, offered at UNE. Growing up in the Victorian Mallee, farming and footy was about all I knew. Agricultural Economics sounded right, but what about the footy? Did they play footy at Armidale? So important was footy to me at this time that if footy was not played at UNE, there was no question, I would not have given the idea any further thought.You wouldn’t catch me anywhere near the place. Fortunately, some bureaucrat was able to assure me that they certainly played footy, down the far end of Consett Davis – whatever that was. So I went to Armidale and got to know the Consett Davis footy ground extremely well.The result of all this was that I ended up an agricultural economist and had the unique experience of working and drinking and laughing with Jack Makeham in various guises from 1975-1996.The footballing pioneers of the 1960s have a lot to answer for – and I am forever in their debt. I was allocated to Page College – a famous Union and League college, and in 1973, we had an Aussie Rules team made up mainly of Victorians and students from southern NSW, captained by a fantastic footballer, Ross Wilson (he could kick like Bernie Quinlan). At Uni level, on and off-field activity was generalled by the masterful footballer Rusty Reynolds. Rusty also was captain-coach of boat races. Sadly, now, it’s the late Rusty – a terrific agricultural economist, sportsman and friend to us all. I learnt that what we called a barrel was now a keg, and that inevitably, following the first keg on a Sunday night after the game, it would be unanimously considered a good idea to get another one – most of which would be sitting there looking warmly at us the next morning.
Coaching, ceremonies and celebrations
Intervarsity in 1975 was in Adelaide; we were coached by Ian ‘Doc’ Murdoch, grape-grower from Dareton, NSW. Doc was a sort12 of cross between the best thinking features of Len and Norm Smith, with plenty of John Kennedy no-nonsense thrown in. The first game was an unholy flogging from UWA – possibly the worst hiding many of us had ever experienced. Next up was Latrobe, and they were totally in command in the first half. The brilliant simplicity of the UNE coach’s strategy at half time is still talked about today. Passing around a flagon of red, Doc ignited a dramatic turn-around with an awesome speech:”Fellas, it’s a simple game: get the ball and kick goals”.To the shock of everyone, and particularly the coach, we did, and won. Coaching was unique at UNE. Rod Sharp’s standard three-quarter time address always started: “Chaps, this is abominable”. I co-coached City in 1980 with Dave Deal. My standard threequarter time speech reflected Rod’s influence. Invariably it went: “Fellas, this is fucking awful”. The 1975 Grand Final saw a touch of class introduced; prior to commencement, boundary umpire Rod Sharp marched to the centre, wind-up gramophone under his arm, set it up, and played a scratchy God Save the Queen – the roar that followed could have been heard in Uralla. In 1976 City had a terrific team, with Doc Murdoch, Paul Nankivell, Rod Sharpe, Craig Anderson, Dave Michael, and Rick Lacey. We went through undefeated, and the best bit, flogged Robb in the Grand Final.The GF was memorable for the half forward line of Sharpe, Anderson and Nankivell – with ‘Nanks’ coining the memorable match-winning catch-cry, one to resonate through the ages:”You’re a moron, Hooke”. Odd things would happen. I recall a dairy farmer on sabbatical, Umpire Ian Teese, having had enough of Gunnedah disputing his perfect judgement, muttering “Stuff you lot” and marched determinedly off the field, prompting a frantic search for replacements – umpire and ball.
Who bets? And what of The Patron – J.P. Makeham?
Jack was always there, tin in hand, dog at foot, trammies bag slung, open for business. Jack’s innovation of running a book on the matches coincided with the Murdoch-inspired innovation in 1975 of lighting a big fire behind the goals and selling tinnies.Tins, dogs,Who Bets? 5/4 on each of two. 5/4 on the field. Who Bets? Goals in? Happily taking Tony Sawer’s money as he backed against his own team, Robb. JPM, desperately trying to balance the book during the game, as fortunes fluctuated; odds on next goal, shots at goal, whose car Mungus will piss on first, no limits. The best sight at Consett Davis was when playing down the far end at full forward, you’d see this beat up white Falcon ute slowly wending its way down the hill beyond the Sports Union, slowly, steadily creeping down, with Dr. Runt, then Mungus, then Rastus, etc hanging out the back with tongue out, like their owner; the ute would roll to a halt, park oddly angled in almost everybody’s way; then, across the field would come the cry: “Where’s the piss and what’s the score? Who bets?” Jack had arrived.
How it became ‘All Clear’
Ian ‘Suds’ Sutherland
Walking through the Tatts Arcade one Saturday morning en route to the 2AD studio for the weekly footy show I came across Jack Makeham in the main bar. I had just attended an anti-nuclear demo in the mall and was contemplating doing the radio show on my own as my guest for the week had slept in again. I asked Jack to fill the void and he readily agreed albeit without any ‘props’. At the time Jack was fielding on games and was pretty keen to let the punters know the odds for the weekend matches. We soon developed a code — Jack would give the odds in rainfall so when asked about the game in Coffs Harbour he might say they’ll get 10 points of rain on the coast – code for 10/1.While for the game in Tamworth he might say 2 points of rain – code for 2/1, and at Uralla it never rained – code for evens! Jack became a regular guest on the show which really increased in popularity with his weather forecasts. But he wanted to keep his identity secret so from the very first show he signed off by saying “All Clear!” He signed me off by saying “Nuclear”, so it all became very unclear…
The 1971 St Alberts team was undefeated until the Grand Final, when Robb College pulled in various rugger-buggers (such as Charlie Onus who had never played earlier in the season and who later played rugby for NSW) – and beat us.The late Ron Gannaway and ‘Red’ Miller gave Robb the platform for the win from the ruck, and Charlie Onus slotted them through up front. Unfortunately, the great roving ability of ‘Rab’ Swan was not enough to retrieve the situation for Albies. A bad time was had by all Albies residents that night (at least, until the first keg was finished!). There had been great expectation of a first inter- College sporting competition premiership for Albies. This was the first time an Albies team had made it to a Grand Final.The College was extended in 1971 with the addition of C, D and E Blocks prompting a significant influx of residents, including Tasmanians and Victorians. But this wasn’t enough to win the premiership.
“It’s a $50 goal!”
JPM was fielding regularly on games in the late 70s when we had teams in the competition from Tamworth and Gunnedah, and later Coffs Harbour.A number of the Gunnedah boys were working in the coalmine and usually had a bit of money to put on. At a match against Uralla at Consett Davis one Sunday Jack had given the Gunnedah boys 40 points start. Gunnedah’s lead hovered at about this mark for most of the game. In the last quarter the young, pacy Wanderers began to peg back the Gunnedah lead. Wanderers’ coach Brendan “Coach” Vaughan was leading the charge and it was goal for goal; every time he kicked a goal to make Gunnedah’s score less than 40 points Jack would cry out, “It’s a $50 goal, Brendan!” Gunnedah was in front by 42 points when Coach took a mark on the siren about 50 yards out. “It’s a $50 goal, Brendan!” yelled JPM as Coach took his shot at goal — alas it fell short. Jack quickly gathered Mungus and was in the ute driving out as the Gunnedah boys ran off the ground after him. However, Jack soon returned to the ground and alighted from the ute with his trademark greeting,”Where’s the piss and what’s the score?”. He’d gone off to get the cash to pay the Gunny boys out.
IV Adelaide 1975: a bailful tale
UNE and Latrobe were the only IV teams to opt for the pub crawl around the CBD option on our designated ‘footy free’ day — other teams wisely chose the Barossa Valley tour. We occasionally bumped into Latrobe as we staggered in and out of the 16 plus pubs to be visited.We last saw Latrobe as they were moving road signs to divert traffic down Rundle Street Mall (unfortunately for those cars, it was still under construction!) The next day we turned up at Flinders Uni to play Latrobe.Their manager arrived and asked us if we wouldn’t mind a slight delay in the game while they raised enough money to bail their players out of the Police Watchhouse! Slowly they assembled a team as money was collected and taxis arrived with the players. And the bastards still beat us!
Coming up trumps in Sydney thriller
What a game won by the Northern team (New England, North West, North Coast & Newcastle) against the Southern outfit (Illawarra and South Coast ) in 1978 at Sydney’s Trumper Oval. Described as one of the best matches seen in Sydney by veteran Sydney Morning Herald scribe Jim McAuley, the game see-sawed right up to the last quarter. The Northern team was heavily represented by UNE players – Krause, Preston, Hooke, Presser, Morrison, Cock, and others, performed admirably. With scores locked at three quarter time, the stage was set for a spectacular finish.The Northern team blasted 10 goals in an action packed last quarter featuring brilliant left-footed goals on the run from the boundary by Hard-on, great pack busts and tackles by Preston and Morrison, and of course, the customary ‘speccie ‘ from Mitch in defence. To prove it was no fluke the Northern boys backed up again the next year and repeated the dose over Southern in a curtain-raiser to the NSW v Fitzroy Escort Cup pre-season competition at the Sydney Showgrounds.
Teese ahead of his time
Could it be that during the 70s fiesty field umpire Ian Teese was 20 years ahead of his time in his interpretation of the holding the ball/man rule. He was the only umpire to deem players to be in possession while bouncing the ball. Consequently anyone bouncing the ball just before being tackled, a la Kevin Bartlett, would be pinged for holding it — this was at a time when VFL umpires were awarding the free to the player tackled without the ball. When quizzed after the game around the keg about it, it was further revealed that this interpretation only applied once the player had cleared the pack and was on the run and had plenty of time to dispose of it. The TEESE interpretation was finally invoked at the highest level well after introduced by the foresighted UNE umpire.
Morro’s dead albatross
At Intervarsity wind-up dinner in Melbourne in 1977 the Courage brew flowed until it ran out and we called in for good old CUB reinforcements. The UNE boys were in good (beer drinking) form despite a shellacking from Latrobe Uni in the play-off for third. Morro (of the Andrew variety) and the boys were kicking back in their chairs and doing the team ‘Dead Ants’ party trick which was going down well with the other Uni teams. In the spirit of the occasion Morro sought to lift the standard and took a running dive16 and did a chest and belly slide along one of the tressle dining tables which at this stage was covered in beer glasses, jugs and bottles. As he got up from the far end of the tressle amongst broken glass with blood oozing from cuts to his head, the crowd was stunned and waited in anticipation. “Dead Albatross!” Morro announced bringing a roar of applause from the crowd!”
At the start of his time at Robb, we all got to know that the older looking guy with the beard doing a PhD in Geology was a handy footballer, having played his junior footy at Norwood in the SANFL. In one of his early games for Robb, Rager got concussed and we took him to the hospital for the standard four hour observation. After we had all showered and cleaned up we went into town for a few beers at the Railway whilst we checked on Ray. Angus, as Robb College president had taken Ray in to the hospital and decided he would be the one to check on him, whilst Brownie, Jerker and I had a few beers. He returned to inform us that he was still concussed, hallucinating and not able to be released. Angus went back to the hospital an hour later and again returned to inform us that he was still not ready for release. We didn’t think Rager had been knocked that badly and asked Angus what he was like.”He doesn’t seem too bad,”Angus said “but when they ask him basic questions he keeps answering that he is 21 years old. I’ve told them he is much older than that, so they have decided he must be hallucinating and to keep him under observation a little longer.” The horrified Robb group all replied in unison: “But he is 21. Shit, let’s get the poor bastard out of the hospital.” Rager was particularly miffed to have to spend an extra two hours of Sunday night drink time in hospital.
Why Robb won the ’78 flag
In the Robb sheds (what the Robb boys called Senior Common Room) they had signs up around the walls: “He who self deprecates, so does his team lose”, “It’s not the fight in the dog, it’s the dog in the fight”.You see, the Brains Trust at Robb, and let’s face it Mitch was the only one with any brains, had cottoned on to thinking outside the square. More than that, Mitch had embraced the use of management jargon. Mitch would sneak into Vic Wright’s Principles of Management diatribes – much the same way Teddy Edwards would sneak around Middle D at Drummond in the quiet of night – full of fecund intent. And Mitch began to learn words and phrases like “focus”,”commitment”, “moving forward”, “the bottom line”, “at the end of the day”. And, at the end of the day, Mitch did move forward. He became focused and committed and the bottom line was, in 1978, Robb, with the power of the mixed metaphor and a juggernaut of jumbled jargon, crushed the hapless Saints in a forgettable match that we’d rather not dwell on (OK, M. Krause 9, R. Roberts 4, etc. – Mike asked if I could at least mention that bit). Over at Saints we didn’t do commitment – couldn’t spell it, didn’t know what it meant. At Robb they didn’t know either, except for Mitch. And he knew that it sounded good. “There’s nothing as successful as the sound of success,” bellowed Mitch to no one in particular. It’s got a nice ring to it. And the boys from Robb – they said the same about Mitch.
Why the Saints lost the ’78 flag
In 1978, Jack Allen coached a motley crew into a Grand Final and a rare shot at sporting glory, however modest. Jack put in many years in the New England footy scene and a number as coach of ‘Albies and then later of the Saints, a coming together of the ‘Eastern Block’ colleges Duval, Drummond and ‘Albies. Over at Robb, our antagonists in the ’78 GF, it was all market driven process and lateral thinking; but at the Saints we were still firmly entrenched inside the square. Jack had a number of issues to deal with as coach, not least of which were a serious lack of application and an uncommonly high incidence of what we’ve since come to recognise as Attention Deficit Disorder. Jack, a great servant and ornament to the game, could knock out a fair pre-game ‘rev up’ to get the troops on their toes. But on grand final day in 1978, Jack looked around at the lads and knew he was up against it. His pre-game address went something like this: “Duncan, listen up mate – you’re in the ruck today … that’s the one who jumps up and taps the ball. OK. Now, I want you to tap it to Teddy Edwards or Timmy Haslam.Teddy or Timmy,Timmy or Teddy, doesn’t matter. OK. Now,Teddy or Timmy, whoever gets the ball. I want you to slam it on your boot. Roost it as far as you can. Look for Smiley, the big cheese. OK. Now, down back. Grant, I want you to …” “Excuse me. In South Australia, and for all practical purposes Grant is from SA – you see they get ABC radio from Adelaide up in Broken Hill – we say Grant as in aunt not Grant as in pant.” “Yeh, thanks Mouldy. Now, Frenchy you listenin’. Basil, stop laughin’ will ya mate.Tex, put that out! For Christ’s sake Zulu what the bloody hell you doin’? This is not a game park! OK fellas, let’s get stuck into ‘em!!” “Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb…”
Wanderers underachievers? “No” says academic
Uralla Wanderers were borne out of a hotbed of disputed player contracts, broken promises and spilt beer at the end of the 1977 season. Forged in the (favoured) spirit of the New England bushrangers (rum), the team won three of 20 matches over two years. Their inaugural year was highlighted by a complete absence of success. ‘Zip-10′ was the crass epithet for the team’s first and penultimate season. Brutal delistings and astute recruiting at the start of their second year saw the Wanderers emerge as a power, winning the first three games of the 1979 season and sitting briefly atop the ladder. A losing streak of seven, however, and the yellow and blacks tumbled from finals contention to claim their second wooden spoon (on percentage) for the otherwise bare trophy cabinet. Inaugural coach Euan Fleming (subsequently sacked before fleeing to Fiji to pursue a rugby career) said in a recent interview: “I believe that for a team to underachieve there are two necessary conditions — concept and expectation.” These eloquent but ultimately indecipherable ponderings provide some insight into the plight of the Wanderers in their early (and only) years.The long time Shire resident and now good Professor went on to explain, “Although the Wanderers had a high concept-performance ratio (plans that never work, ideals never met, aspirations never fulfilled) this couldn’t be interpreted as underachievement.” Willing himself to be understood, the Head of School, hopeless tipster and tennis sneak continued, “At the highest level the league is full of underachievers: the bumbling Dees, hapless Dogs, excruciating Cats, pathetic Tiges, dopey Dockers, suicidal Swans and even the pretentious Power. But the analogy breaks down when you apply it to the Wanderers. “The distinguishing feature of the Wanderers was a complete lack of supporters. Sure there was the mob from the tip who’d gaze furtively The handpass is one of the unique, trademark skills defining Aussie Rules. It’s a skill we suspect Brendan Vaughan probably had, but his many team-mates over the years were never to find out. Here he kicks “WHOOO TO!!” against Newcastle Uni in the 1977 IV carnival. The 1978 original Uralla Wanderers team was borne of brutal delistings and astute recruiting. They debuted with three wins on the trot but then seven zip. In the end, they were pretty ordinary. across the show-grounds during game time, but they weren’t terribly interested and certainly had no expectations. “So, while the Wanderers had a concept that was a necessary condition for underachievement, it was not in itself sufficient. It needed to be joined with expectation, which it wasn’t and so it’s quite clear that although, for all practical purposes, the team was an abject failure, in a technical sense and perhaps on a theoretical level, they couldn’t be described as underachievers, per se.”
Criticise Wanderers at own peril
Roger ‘Teddy’ Edwards
In ’79, after recruiting the whole Saints centre line and the coach (B Vaughan) introducing several new strategies, including some slick soccer stuff suggested by Frank (see page 31), I recall that by round 4 the Wanderers were undefeated and on top of the ladder. We had ground out emphatic Adelaide Crow-like wins. Round 1 Cret was on fire – kicked nine I think to single handedly crush City; Round 2 Coach gave a hand-ball in the Robb game to totally confuse them and we got up; Round 3 was a bye and Round 4 the former Saints’ champions now Wanderers – McRae, Curley Morison et al – took no prisoners in the thrashing of the once mercurial Saints. By then Makeham had shortened our odds for the flag to 3:1 on. Round 4 we lost to United by a goal – balance of season a blur! So that’s set the record straight.
Drinking the raw prawn
Uralla introduced a new dimension into the competition that made it both unique and interesting. It had an unconventional, nickname Wanderers; unparalleled after-match entertainment, a bushband at the pub; and a quirky bunch of characters ranging from graziers’ sons to hippie school teachers with all sorts in between. Alas, not many good footballers. The driving force behind the formation of the Wanderers in 1978 was Ag Ecos post-grad Dave Dennis, who had the most overstocked 1/4 acre in Australia — a wife, seven kids, dogs, cats, goats, chooks and a mangy cockatoo — alongside Uralla’s very own Australian Rules football ground. Brendan Vaughan, who was living in sin in the Shire at the time became “Coach” and he attracted even more reprobates to the club, who also couldn’t play footy but who could make a lot of fun. Hard living, party-going, outrageous agrarian types were just JPM’s types and the Great Man soon became a fervent supporter of the Wanderers. Uralla didn’t enjoy much success on-the-field in its inaugural season and suffered a major blow when Coach injured his knee and had his cartilage removed. JPM was an unabashed admirer of Coach and the duty fell to him to propose a toast to the coach at the presentation night at the Coachwood and Cedar. Jack held back a prawn from the entre and asked all assembled to toast the Coach’s knee for next season whereupon he produced the prawn and put it in his glass of beer telling us all it was Coach’s cartilage!
I remember… I think
I remember leaving Melbourne in 1977 with my rose-coloured glasses on to take up the position of cartographer in the Geography Dept. at UNE, not really knowing what was in store. My then Head of Dept, Prof David Lea, was on the Senior Common Room at Earle Page College, and suggested to me that a good way to meet some people at UNE would be to live for a while in the College.As naive as I was, I accepted that advice and moved into College. To my surprise, word soon filtered through the College grapevine that some employee of UNE had arrived from Melbourne and I was soon introduced to a fine, curly haired young man by the name of Andrew Morrison who was keen to recruit more players for the then United AFL team. So began what was the start of many years associated with UNE AFL which cannot be easily forgotten. I remember the strange looking man who attended the games on Sunday afternoon with the catch cry “Who bets” and all and sundry would flock around this man who, from first appearances could have hailed from the nearest park bench. I soon learned that Jack Makeham was not only a brilliant man, responsible for many a great career in Ag Economics, but a man who endeared himself to all who he met. I remember the interaction between AFL players and the two rugby codes in Armidale, and the Saturday morning F Troop games where many AFL players would line up for Rugby Union with the faint hope that some of the Union boys would play AFL on Sunday. It seemed to work, as many of the United and City United players were from that Union background. I remember the Gala Days at Uralla when we used to have running races. I only hope Brendan Vaughan does not cheat as much in the ‘real world’ as he did at the start of those events! I remember the day when the great Col Mack of rugby fame, was encouraged to play AFL, and the bruises which some “soft” AFL player endured when they got in Col’s path. I also remember the significant task at hand in attempting to teach Col the rules of AFL – especially the one about not running more than 10 metres with the ball without a bounce. I remember the many people who did not appear on the rental contract for my Faulkner Street rental house who seemed to spend a good deal more time at the house than could be seen as ‘natural’. The merger between City and United was a great success with players from both teams benefiting from the move. At that stage we managed to have the New England Hotel as our sponsor which was the only reason we could afford new gear — those were the days. Most of all, I am grateful for the decision I made to move into a flat by myself after years with students, and whoever else lay on the floor at the end of the day. I am most grateful because the lady in the flat next door is now my partner/wife. There can be no collective time in one’s life which could be classified as being so diverse and exciting as the time spent at UNE and, indeed, the AFL connection was a vital part of that time.