By Simone Kerwin (based on a true story……..)

No-one in Wattlevale would have thought twice about seeing Harry Arnold’s familiar gait, as he headed up the short path to Tom Sheffield’s front door.

After all, the pair had been mates for decades.  As it was, though, no-one did see him, because Harry had chosen a morning when most of the town was at the farmers’ market, to visit his old friend for a chat.

It wasn’t going to be their usual easy kind of conversation.  In fact, Harry felt as though he was walking to the confessional, or the witness box.  Grand larceny was on his mind.

It was time to tell Tom the story, the whole story, of one of the most shameful episodes in Harry’s life.  He shifted uncomfortably on the doormat as he reached to knock on Tom’s door, grabbing his hanky from his pocket to swipe at the beads of sweat forming on his forehead. 

For a moment, he wondered whether this was a terrible mistake. He worried whether it would change things between them.  Should he just turn and flee (or, let’s be honest, amble) back to his ute and forget the whole notion of telling all?

But no, he’d promised Jean that today was the day he’d come clean.

“For goodness’ sake, I can’t stand this nonsense any longer, Harry,” she’d said in her straight-forward way.  “Just get over there and tell him, and be done with it.  Like a Band-Aid, as they say – rip it off and deal with what comes next.  You’ve held onto this for too long, and you’re not getting any younger, it’s not good for your health.  I’m sure it’ll be right.”

So here he was, sweating buckets and wishing he was anywhere else but at his best mate’s front door.  He reached again to knock, but the door opened in front of him, and he almost stumbled forward.

“Oh, hello, Harry – this is a lovely surprise,” Tom’s wife, Val, greeted him.  “The old fella’s inside.  Come and have a cuppa.”

“Thanks, Val.  I – ah – need to have a chat with Tom,” Harry said slowly.

Val, startled at his unfamiliar manner, looked closely at him: “You alright, love?  You look as if you’ve seen a ghost. Is Jean okay?”

“Yes, yes,” he quickly reassured the cheery woman he’d known since she was a girl, “no worries.”

Val led Harry into the sun-filled kitchen, where Tom sat, bent over the newspaper, cradling a mug of steaming tea.  His sun-browned face lifted, and his broad smile appeared, as he spotted his old mate.

“Harry!  Have a cuppa?  Val’s just made some scones if you’d like one,” he said.

“Not so fast, Thomas!  They’re for the CWA stall at the footy this arvo.  But I can probably rustle up a couple of bickies for you both,” Val said. Then, again taking in Harry’s demeanour, she set the biscuit tin on the table and excused herself to hang a load out of washing.

Harry eased himself into a kitchen chair and sat, wringing his large, work-worn hands as he wondered just how to begin.  He pictured a Band-Aid being ripped off, and winced.

“Tom, I have to tell you something,” he said.

Tom smiled, as if about to joke with his friend, then, seeing his face, he thought better of it.

“It’s been on my mind for years, and I haven’t known how to tell you.  I was stupid…just a kid…didn’t know any better…no, that’s not true, I knew it was wrong,” Harry stammered.

“Mate, spit it out,” Tom said, starting to worry.

Harry paused, teetering on the edge of what could be the final moment of his time as an upstanding Wattlevale citizen, before his criminal past was laid bare for all to see.

“Righto,” he said.  “You remember that Graham Arthur footy card you lost when we were kids?”

“Ye-eah,” Tom said, slowly, remembering.

“I took it.”


Harry’s worst fears were realised, as his friend frowned deeply and failed to disguise his shock.  Then Tom threw back his head and laughed.

“You are a classic, Harry!  How long have you been worrying about that?” Tom said.

“It’d be worth heaps of dough now, and I took it from you, just because I wanted it….. took it from my best mate and kept it.  Didn’t do me any good, either, ‘cause I felt so guilty, years later I got rid of it….just chucked it out.” 

“But I told Jean about it when the grandkids were swapping footy cards, and it all came back to me.  I’m so sorry, Tom.  Can you forgive me?”

“Harry, mate.  There’s nothing to forgive,” Tom said, offering the biscuit tin filled with Val’s famous Anzacs.

“Ah, by the way, do you remember that Kornies card of Serge Silvagni you thought you lost…?”


For a bloke who has experienced his share of football’s vagaries, Robbie Richards remains remarkably upbeat.

He underwent the tribulation of dual knee reconstructions which robbed him of close to four years of his playing career… was at the mercy of a fickle committee which cut short a coaching stint… then endured some of the darkest times in his club’s history.

Yet he retains a boyish enthusiasm for the game.

He’s still vitally involved in footy, more than 40 years after he first excitedly stepped out  as a slight, skilful youngster, with the Junior Magpies.

I caught up with Rob at last week-end’s Junior League finals. He had just come from giving one of his Magpie Thirds players a fitness test and was gearing up for their Elimination Final the next day.

Match-day coaching stresses him, he says. Rather, being able to sit back and watch a game, and pinpoint some good kids, as he was doing, gives him a real buzz ……….


In his heyday, during the sixties, his dad Len, was a pillar in defence for Wangaratta. It takes something exceptional for a back pocket player to win a Best & Fairest, but that’s what the tough and uncompromising Lennie did in the Magpies’ famous premiership year of 1961.

He had joined the ‘Pies via Eldorado and Tarrawingee and was a steadying influence amidst flamboyant personalities like Kevin Mack, ‘Rinso’ Johnstone and ‘Bushy’ Constable and champs of the calibre of Ron McDonald and John Mulrooney.

Rob3Wang were around the upper rungs of the ladder for most of Len’s 152 games and when he took on the coaching job at Chiltern in 1967, some suggested it might be a hazardous task to win over the tight-knit footy town.

To the contrary, he proved immensely popular and led them to the 1968 flag during four enjoyable years with the Swans.

“They’re terrific people, and Mum’s still got a lot of good friends from Chiltern,” says Rob, who, as a young whippersnapper, recalls tagging along behind Len, whilst he performed his coaching duties.

It’s always intrigued me, I put to him, how he ended up playing with the Rovers Thirds.

” Well, Dad didn’t put any pressure on me. The Rovers invited me to have a run when the Junior League season finished in 1977. The Thirds reached the Grand Final and I could easily have stayed there.”

“But they were really strong at that time and I couldn’t see myself breaking into the senior side in a hurry.”

So Rob headed over the road…. and the rest is history.

Rob2He was a talented winger with all the skills – and soon developed into one of the O & M’s best.

Wang finished on top in 1980, and were 4 points up at three-quarter time of the second semi-final against the Rovers. But they couldn’t withstand a withering last term from the Hawks.

Richards was the Magpies best. The following week, when they kicked 18.10, to go under by a solitary point to North Albury, in the Prelim Final, he again shone.

There would be plenty more finals ahead, he no doubt thought. But it was to be his last September experience for a few years, as the Pies plummeted down the ladder.

The next decade or so was to prove something of an on-field roller-coaster for Rob Richards.

In the midst of some superb form in 1982, which saw him being tipped for inter-league selection, he ‘did’ his knee, and missed the rest of that season – and the next – after the resultant reconstruction.

In the meantime, he moved to Maffra in his employment as an Electrician and had not long settled into the LVFL club when the knee ‘popped’ again……. resulting in another agonising spell on the sidelines.

It takes time to restore confidence and touch when you’ve been out of the game for such a lengthy period. But when Rob returned to Wangaratta he was a solid contributor – aside from a two-year absence, as assistant-coach to Brendan Allan, at Milawa.

He made 142 senior appearances with the Pies, spanning 17 seasons. In the last, he combined playing, with coaching the Thirds.

It was a handy preparation for the Greta coaching job, which he accepted in 1995. I twig his memory by running through some of the names in this star-studded side, like Paul Hogan, Brett Keir, Peter Mulrooney, Alan Millard and John Shay…

“From half-way through the season, Beechworth and us were shaping as likely Grand Final opponents. And that’s how it turned out. We led comfortably, then the Bombers fought back in the last quarter. We ended up winning by about four goals,” Rob says.

Greta dropped just one game for the season and the Chronicle reported that it was ‘…….a fitting reward for the veterans Richards and Keir, who had finally capped their fine careers with a premiership…’

Spaced 27 years apart, the rare achievement of a father and son coaching O & K flags had the statisticians scurrying for the record books.

After two years at Greta, Rob decided to take a year off. He was really enjoying the break, when Wang officials approached him, seeking a favour.

Maurie Wingate was struggling to combine the coaching job with running his sports-store. Could he possibly lend him a hand for a while ?

Sure, he said. But two rounds into the season, Wingate resigned and Rob was thrust into what was then the toughest gig in O & M football.

“After a couple of games, I realised how precarious the situation was. They’d done no recruiting; had no money. I said to the Board : ‘…Look, we’ve just got to put our heads down and grind out the year…..’ I thought we were on the same page, and we battled through.”

“I was happy to continue the next season, but a few weeks later, they called out to see me at Toil and Soil, with the news that they were bringing Gary Cameron and Marty Dillon over from South Australia to coach.”

“I could see where they were coming from, but it was really disappointing not to be kept in the loop. Still, it doesn’t do any good cracking the sads, does it ? You’ve got to move on.”

Rob coached Tigers for the next two season (winning the 1998 flag)  and had the pleasure of being in charge of AFL players of the future, in Steve Johnson and Luke Mullins.

After another year at the helm of Greta (2000), he made a playing comeback, picking up a few kicks – and having one of his most enjoyable years of football – with their Reserves side.

When his good friend, Jon Henry, assumed the senior coaching position at Wangaratta, Rob came on board as Reserves coach for two years, followed by another two as the Thirds mentor.

In recent times he has been tied up with Imperials, where his sons Nick and Joe came through the ranks. He was named the AFL North-East Junior coach of the year in 2014.

So it was only natural, when the Pies were casting around for a Thirds coach this season, that Rob agreed to step into the breach – for his third stint with the Under 18’s.

He can now anticipate what might become the most enjoyable period of his marathon sporting journey – following the progress of his kids, Nick, Joe and Olivia.

Rob1Nick, a classy small forward, has made a big impression with the Murray Bushrangers this season.

The laconic 16-year old Joe hit the headlines earlier this year, with an 11-goal haul against Corowa-Rutherglen, in one of the handful of senior appearances he made with the Magpies.

He’s one of his dad’s key weapons, as the Wangaratta Thirds strive to take out their fourth flag in five years.   Rob4Olivia has also done well in her first season with the club’s Under-16 Netball side.

One thing’s for sure ; the Richards kids won’t be facing any undue pressure from their old man, whose vast experience has taught him to read youngsters like the back of his hand.

He’s a highly-respected football person, is Robbie Richards……

Maggies3coach (1)


































The wounds inflicted by a vicious global war, which had torn nations apart and wreaked untold damage, were still tender in late 1945. Now it was time for communities to rediscover their sporting obsession.

The Ovens and Murray competition had been in recess since 1940. Wangaratta re-joined, along with six other teams. It was almost a case of starting from scratch, as recruiting got under way and the search for a coach began.

Eventually, in early March of 1946, the Pies announced the appointment of one of the game’s legends- Laurie Nash – as their captain-coach. His salary of 12 pounds per week was regarded as an astronomical sum in those days, but the opportunity to play with the ‘Great L.J’ excited many of the youngsters in the town.



Nash is acknowledged through the ages as one of the finest and most controversial Australian sportsmen ever produced. Born in Tasmania, he played two games of Test cricket, despite never having appeared in the Sheffield Shield competition.

His 10 wickets at an average of 12.80 per wicket and 30 runs at an average of 15 make you wonder why he wasn’t a regular Test player, but he reportedly faced opposition from the cricket establishment for his poor attitude towards authority. This led fellow cricketer Keith Miller to write that the persistent non-selection of Nash was “the greatest waste of talent in Australian cricket history”.

The reasons given for the apparent bias against Nash included his reputation for blunt speech and his abrasive personality, which included sledging.

He was probably the biggest name in sport through the thirties. Joining South Melbourne in 1933, he starred in a Premiership triumph in his first season, being credited with 13 marks and 29 kicks in a dominant performance at centre half back.

The following year, selected for Victoria for the first time, he had kicked two goals from centre half forward in the first quarter. An injury to Bob Pratt prompted him to be shifted to the goal-mouth, where he proceeded to finish with 18 for the day.

He later claimed that he would have booted 27 but for the selfishness of the rovers, who refused to pass the ball to him.

During World War II Nash rejected offers of a home posting and instead served as a trooper in New Guinea, stating that he wished to be treated no differently to any other soldier.

He returned to South Melbourne after the war and played a prominent part in the infamous “Bloodbath Grand Final” of 1945, in which the Swans went down to Carlton in a brawling, nasty clash which featured 16 reports.

He was South’s leading goalkicker and still a star, but possibly not the champion who, when asked pre-war who was the greatest player of all time, replied : “I look at him in the mirror every morning when I have a shave”.

Only a couple of weeks prior to his signing with Wangaratta, Nash had played quite well in a South practice match. But he was rising 36, suffering from arthritic knees and knew that he would struggle to get through another League season.

So when Wangaratta came with an offer that he couldn’t refuse, he brought his outrageous talents and wobbly knees up the Hume Highway.


Nash left his wife and young child behind (returning regularly to visit them) and was accorded a room at the Council Club Hotel. He didn’t deem it necessary to work and filled in time during the day playing poker with racing personalities and having the occasional beer.

He had lost a fair bit of fitness and was carrying a few extra kilos when he lined up for the first game against Benalla. He played himself in the centre and guided his team to victory.

In the first few games, he certainly didn’t set the world on fire, although he was being acclaimed for his coaching knowledge and ability to pass on the message.

But, as the season progressed, he started to ‘turn it on’. His move into the forward line proved a winner for the Pies and his 10 goals from centre half forward in the return clash with Benalla proved that the old class was still there.

The Wangaratta side was basically made up of locals and they had improved steadily as the season progressed. Players like big man Tommy Bush, Kevin French and Jack Sullivan, key forward Ernie Ward, small men Max Berry and Jimmy Hoysted and defenders Jack Ferguson and Jack Plaisted formed the crux of the side.

Doug Ferguson, a classy half forward, was still in the Army and used to travel by train from Melbourne on Saturday mornings to take his place in the line-up. He is the only surviving member of the famous 1946 side.

“It was a good, settled team and we were well-coached “, Doug recalled when I yarned with him at St.Catherine’s Hostel the other day. “Nashy topped us off nicely. He was a big, burly fellow and could kick the ball a mile.”

My dad Len, who played across the half-back line, was also a Nash fan. “With the reputation that preceded him, we didn’t know what to expect. But he was an astute footy person”, he once said.

Wangaratta finished second on the ladder to Wodonga at the completion of the home-and-away rounds and belted the Bulldogs by 65 points in a one-sided second semi. Nash and Ernie Ward kicked nine of their 15 goals.

The Pies met Albury at Rutherglen in the Grand Final, before a crowd of around 5,000. They went to an early lead, but Nash went down just before half-time with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

“He laid it on the line to us in his half-time address”, Doug Fergy, now 93, recalled . “He pointed out that his knee was crook and that he was moving to full forward. He said ‘Just kick it up to me in the goal-square. I’ll do the rest’.

Wang trailed by seven points at three quarter-time and had both its 19th and 20th man on the field.

Nash, despite hobbling badly, kicked another two goals in a tense final term to finish with four for the game.

The Pies had hit the front in the dying stages and held on to win by five points – 14.10 (94) to 13.11 (89).

Nash’s coaching had been well-received and he was feted by the town. But he had one more duty to perform. He was good friends with Fred O’Brien, the incumbent Greta coach, who earlier in the season had talked Laurie into taking on his job. As Greta didn’t train during the week, its only non-match contact with the coach was on Sundays, when O’Brien (the match-day leader) would bring Nash out to Greta to take the boys for training.

So Nash was able to oversee their 27-point win over Myrtleford, giving him the unique honour of coaching two premiership teams in the one year.

Laurie Nash was later to take on the coaching role at his old club, South Melbourne, in 1953. He was inducted into the inaugural AFL Hall of Fame in 1996 and was admitted to the Sports Australia Hall of Fame in 2012.

He died in 1986.






Hey…. There’s an upset brewing here. The 200/1 outsiders conceded 3 goals in the first few minutes of the match, yet have shot to a 3-goal lead at ½ time.

You’ve got to put this game into perspective. One team is coming off a 189-point win. It boasts a percentage of 871.43, compared to the meagre 36.10% of their opponents, who trudged off last week, humiliated to the tune of 135 points.

As expected, the favourites respond and move a couple of kicks clear in the dying stages. But again, the ‘scrubbers’ fight back and score a goal against the tide, in the best passage of play for the day.

With just seconds remaining, a tall boy streaks towards centre half forward and plucks a mark. He can steal a win for the underdogs…….We catch a glance at his coach, who has been out of the box and prowling the boundary for most of the last quarter, waving his hands like an orchestra conductor.

He runs his hands through his shaggy hair, his eyes fixed anxiously on the lad’s run-up,his kicking action and the ball,as it wobbles through. Schutty and his boys have clinched the unlikeliest of victories………

Lionel Schutt comes from a football family. His dad Ross is an institution at Milawa, having played a stack of games with the Reserves,took on the Presidency, worked on the gate for what seemed like an eternity and waved the goal umpire’s flags for many years. His mum’s been a lion-hearted worker for the club.

It would be fair to say that Ross was unable to hand down any on-field skills to the youngster. But Lionel inherited an innate sense of what it takes to make footy clubs tick, how to build a happy atmosphere and have people working in the right direction.

He should have played a heap of O & M games, but a combination of work commitments  and a laconic attitude meant that the legend of Lionel Schutt was to be crafted in the Ovens and King League. It ensured that training – particularly in pre-season – could be fitted around his physically-taxing work as a painter and later, a sand-blaster.

He started with Milawa as a 15 year-old, way back in 1983. The following season he and his brother Brendan were members of the Demons premiership side. He had nine games under the coaching of Norm Bussell at Myrtleford in 1985, but suffered a knee injury and returned home in time to qualify for the Reserves Grand Final, which Milawa duly won.

He headed to North Wangaratta three years later, had a season with All Blacks in the Benalla Tungamah League, then crossed to Tarrawingee. He played his part in one of the most memorable of all O & K flags, in 1990, when Tarra came from the Elimination Final to kick 27 goals and defeat Moyhu by 71 points in the big one.

Schutty booted 8 goals that day,in a performance that clinched him the Medal for best afield. It was a satisfying win, in front of a record crowd at Greta that marvelled at the deeds of Darwin’s four mercurial Long brothers,who were strutting their stuff for the Bulldogs.

Another knee injury wrecked his 1994 season, but Ray Card, back coaching Wangaratta, enticed him to the Norm Minns Oval in 1995. Then it was back home to Milawa for a four-season stint as playing-coach, in which he took out three best and fairests.

His arrival at Moyhu in 2000 coincided with a golden era for the club. Schutty played in the 2002,’05 and ’06 flags but was denied another when he was rubbed out on the eve of the 2003 Grand Final. He gave great service to the Hoppers and is universally ranked among the greats of O & K football.

Damien Sheridan, who saw him close-up in his final decade as a player,said: “He gave the impression of being laid-back,but once he got on the ground he played for keeps.”

“As a midfielder or on-baller he was so strong,was a terrific kick and did the real team-lifting things. Besides all that, he was one of the best blokes you could have around the club. Money was never an issue with him. He just enjoyed the football environment”, Sheridan recalled.

His old coach Gil Ould once reflected: “You don’t play 400 games unless you are tough and you don’t get up from the big hits unless you have a heart as big as Lionel’s. No doubt he played and trained with injuries that would have put many off the playing arena,but he never complained. It’s not so much about his football ability, but what he brings to the club as a quality bloke”.

The Schutt career drew to a close at the end of the 2010 season. He had played 416 O & K games and decided it was time for he and Michelle to follow the sporting progress of the kids. Breanna, was now playing netball with the Rovers and Cody was taking big steps in his football development.

Well, he thought he’d retired. He was pressed into service with the Rovers Reserves and showed glimpses of the Schutty of old in 14 games in 2011 and ’12.

And when he was approached to coach the Two’s last season he couldn’t resist.

The Schutt family is now deeply involved at the Hawks. Michelle is on the Board, Breanna plays B-Grade netball, a knee injury has temporarily interrupted Cody’s exciting 12-game senior career.

And Schutty’s still wearing his heart on his sleeve. Amidst the excitement of last Saturday’s win he addressed the players and congratulated them on their win : “I told the boys last year – and it still stands. When I took the job on I wanted to be a coach, a mate and a parent to you all. You should be rapt in the way you stuck it out. Let’s celebrate it with a few beers tonight”.

Lionel S


Everyone with the remotest connection to the Wangaratta Rovers was abuzz with excitement as spring gave way to the summer of late 1955.

Mr.Football had come to town.

This wasn’t a whistlestop promotional visit at the behest of the VFL. No, the man popularly acknowledged as the best footballer in Australia, had arrived – with his wife Elsie and sons Robert and Peter – to take up his appointment as the playing-coach of the Wangaratta Rovers.

The procurement of Bob Rose to take the reins of a battling club stunned not only local fans, but footy people around the nation.

After all, the Rovers had been in existence for 11 years; had only gained admittance to the Ovens and Murray League in 1950 and were largely unsuccessful in that time.

It seemed ludicrous that Collingwood had allowed their  champion player to be prised away by a bush club which appeared to have little or no credibility. And secondly ,why didn’t  he take the offer of East Perth, which had promised to make him captain-coach and the highest-paid player in Australia ?

Those were the unanswered questions. But it was obvious that the Rovers had made a convincing presentation to the four-time Copeland Trophy winner. The hunt for a top-line coach had begun months earlier, but once the Hawks got the inkling that Rose may become available,they made him their target.

In their favour was that he had strong family ties in Victoria, which counted against a move to the west. Also, as a lad brought up in Nyah West, he liked the prospect of moving back to the country.

When he began to warm to the Rovers’ approach they formulated a package which included a sports store proprietorship and a salary of 35 pounds per week to coach the club.

He had many people suggesting that he would be foolish to give up his future at Collingwood and also advising him of the pitfalls of taking the job. Among those was the warning by a former team-mate that the Rovers were a ‘Catholic club’. He gave this little credence and decided that a trip to Wangaratta to have a look at the town would be a good idea.

Unfortunately, on his first attempt at the journey he had to head home ,as he realised that his old Singer car wouldn’t handle the steep inclines of the Hume Highway’s ‘Pretty Sally’.  He rang the Rovers to postpone the appointment and headed north the following week in his brother Kevin’s flasher vehicle.

Manny Cochineas, a prominent Wangaratta businessman ,who had become a godfather-type figure at the Rovers (a’ la’ Colin Joss) was the man who planted the idea among his fellow officials that they should aim high and go for the best. ‘Cochy’ was a dreamer and relished the prospect of snaring Mr.Football against all odds.

Keith Ottrey, who was a star player of the fifties, remembers that the Rovers hierarchy did a great job of keeping the Rose-hunt under tabs. “It was a bit of a case of …’don’t tell the Arabs’. We weren’t told a thing. The only inkling I had that things were going all right was when I heard ‘Cochy’ whisper to a bloke , “I think we’ve got him”.

So, when they had indeed snared Bob Rose, preparations moved into full swing for the 1956 season.He and his young family settled into a small Housing Commission residence in Lamont Street. It was hardly salubrious but the Roses were unfazed. The Rovers later found them a house at  102 Swan Street, which became their abode for the rest of their time in Wangaratta.

With the task of setting up his new business and traversing the area on recruiting trips, life was pretty full-on for the new coach.  But he was buoyed by the enthusiasm of the Rovers people .

He had to sit through some drama at the Club’s Annual Meeting in late November, when President Harry Klemm faced a no-confidence motion ,moved by his brother,Tom. Harry was deposed from the position and indeed, was voted off  the 23-man committee.

But that was barely a ripple on the landscape, as new members clambered onto the Hawk bandwagon. The club’s first practice match attracted a crowd of 1,000 to watch Bob Rose and a new wave of recruits in action.

Unfortunately, in the lead-up to Rose’s much-awaited O & M debut against Benalla, he suffered a groin injury and had to watch from the sidelines, as his old Collingwood team-mate Len Fitzgerald led the Demons to victory.

A fortnight later he took to the field against Wangaratta and ,in a day of triumph ,led the Hawks to a nine-point win against the arch rival. He was chaired from the field by delighted supporters, who loved the influence he had exerted on his new charges.

After a slow start to the season, the Rovers won nine of their last 11 home and home games to sneak into the O& M finals for the first time.

Though beaten by Benalla in the first semi-final, Hawk supporters liked what they saw in 1956.And they positively adored  the coach. Club membership had risen from 325 to 670 in 1956 and a new breed of supporter gained a fascination  for  the Brown and Gold.

Italian tobacco-growers, who had shown scant regard for footy ,were introduced to the game via the exploits of Rose, whom they called ‘Bobby Rossa’. They were generous and loyal and many became Hawks for life.

To young whippersnappers like yours truly, he was bigger than Ben Hur. It was an era of scant exposure of VFL players; you just relied on newspapers and footy cards to bring them to life.To have a superstar in our midst was beyond belief. We couldn’t wait for training nights and would race down to the ground to see what Guernsey he was wearing,or try to attract his attention whilst having kick-to-kick.

The Rovers doubled their profit in 1956 and well and truly covered the financial outlay .But more importantly,Rose  developed a culture among the playing ranks which would set the standard  for decades to come . He had lifted the profile of the club to unforeseen levels.

In the years to come he was to achieve fabulous personal and club success with the Hawks. Within two years the first of 15 flags was fluttering at the City Oval and he had won the first of his two Morris Medals.

The dream of Manny Cochineas and his mates had come to fruition.