Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : VFL            Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

Phil,

I wanted to congratulate you and Drew on your commentating of the Pt Melbourne/Coburg game last Saturday. As a passionate supporter of the old VFA it was so pleasing to see such good crowds on both Saturday and Sunday.You both made the game even more exciting and it was great to hear tales of some of the "old days".


The game bought back many memories of some wild clashes I experienced when as a proud Port Melbourne player we would host games against Coburg and others, before thousands of supporters. They were wild games yet in comparison to present professional sport almost naive times.


In 1967 I played for Port in the Grand Final against Dandenong, what a game! Many people do not realise the 4 Melbourne TV Channels televised the game live which was played at the old Richmond oval.

Even with the live television in excess of 25,000 supporters jammed into the ground. I have often wondered if that game and the next few years of success for the VFA was the catalyst for Channel 7,the Herald Sun and the VFL to bring their big guns against the VFA in any way possible.


The Port/Dandy clash was a beauty, and if there is any footage available from CH 10 it would make Channel 7's show Biffs Bashes and Brawls or what ever it is called, look like a tea party. In the third quarter John Peck said to me "stick close I have to do something", (the freekick count was something like 6 to Port and 25+ to Dandy), I was already reported for hitting Jim MacNamara,( who was the size of a brick door) and Pecky said
"you concentrate on kicking goals and keeping it in the forward line,(I had three at that stage playing at CHF ), I'll fix things up".

All of a sudden there was a wild melee on the half forward flank and big Eddie Melai and Umpire Jackson were out on their back. Big Eddie was genuinely tough (as was his Captain Coach Alan Morrow) and as he struggled to his feet like a hugh tree trunk, the ump was still surrounded by trainers being treated resulting in the emergency ump to the roars of the Port faithful who believed we were getting a rough time from the fallen ump, raced out looking as though he would take control of the game.

Well to our collective disappointment Umpire Jackson eventually was able to continue with the game, Port lost, Pecky received 10 or 12 weeks, I was pinged for three weeks with other Port players also suspended.

It was such a big event Channel 0 replayed the whole game again on the Monday evening, and a book was written, titled "The Wildest Game Ever Played". I don't know if it was, but Ringside Wrestling as it was called then, probably learnt something that day.There was some terrific players in both sides, including two young Port players, born and bred in Port as was most of the side, Peter
Bedford and Gary Brice.


So many guys were from "the Wharf" at a time when much loading and unloading was by brute strength. When I arrived at Port in 1963, courtesy of Laurie Mithen the then C.C., I proudly was given my Port jumper, to my joy it was short sleeved, and sat amongst these tatooed hughly muscled oiled arms.

I was trying to keep my very lightly framed arms clenched to make them look bigger, when Norm Goss accompanied by Tommy Lahiff called me over after the coachs address and said,"here Garry, take this guernsey, it will fit better", it was long sleeved!!! So in my first game, 17 players ran down the race, muscled bodies glistening with oil and in short sleeved jumpers, followed by yours truely somewhat disappointed, with long sleeves rolled up to the elbows and words from Tommy ringing in my ears "makes you look bigger Gazza".


You know, guys like Norm,Tom, Alf Brown,( who rarely missed a game and sat in the coaches box, we used to say to keep Darky McFarlane and Norm from running onto the oval in the fights) and so many others were part of a great group of people who as I progressed upwards through business, including spending over 10 years living and working in Japan and Hong Kong, taught me so much about life, loyalty, mateship and teamwork. I became a
better person and indeed a businessman because of those days.


By the way in 1970 I became Capt/Coach of Box Hill and played against Coburg, coached by Micky Erwin who eventually defeated us in the Grand Final. It was the first G.F. Box Hill had played in, and at our last training night we couldn't believe the crowds that turned up at the Box Hill Oval, thousands all wanting that first flag. Unfortunately it didn't happen, but thats life, they were times you never forget.


Well enough of the " good old days", I wish you all the best. I was very impressed with your interview during the week concerning victims of crime and the" mongrel", (I don't have words in my vocabulary adequate to describe my contempt for him) who murdered your sister and my anger at the judiciary who have this naive belief in reforming and not sentencing according to law. Not only do you do a great job commentating and publicising suburban football, your crusading spirit is inspirational.


Regards,
Garry Ireland,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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