MEMORIES OF ST. BEDES O.C. FOOTBALL CLUB
By Greg Kelly

I recall my first year with St. Bedes Old Collegians and it was the second year for St. Bedes in the VAFA back in 1973. Some of the players involved that year include:

  • 77GF SBOCFCTony Vaughan - Club record holder with 250 games and now a member of the VAFA Independent Tribunal.
  • Brian Irving - Played in excess of 150 games, ex-Committee member and Reserves coach for a number of years.
  • John Bradbury - Played in excess of 100 games and Reserves coach for a number of years. (Currently has a son playing in the Under 16s.)
  • Peter McCormack - A 200 game player. Ex-Committee member and past President.
  • Tim Kurth - A 200 game player. Ex-captain and served on the Committee.
  • Mick Callaghan - Played in excess of 150 games and served on the Committee.
  • Geoff Terrell - Played in excess 150 games. Ex-captain and winner of Best and Fairest.
  • Mick Roberts - First played in 1973. An ex-captain coach, he won six Best and Fairest awards - an achievement unlikely to be equalled.
  • Dave Evans - Played in excess of 100 games and triple Best and Fairest winner.
  • Paul Hulett - A stalwart both on and off the field. Ex-Committee member and past President.
  • Tom Hynes - An ex-Swans player. Coach from 1973 to 1975.
  • Gerry Shannan - Reserves coach from 1973 to 1974. Although his playing career was cut short by a serious shoulder injury he served as a Committee member for more than ten years, including several terms as President.

77GF TurnerRobinsonMost of these past achievers have been spotted at the Mentone Oval over the past two seasons. A few of them have attended on a regular basis, which is pleasing to see. The first game that season in 1973 was against Fawkner, which was their first game in the VAFA. Mick Callaghan was best on ground that day, a rare feat as Mick would become more accustomed to regular Saturday afternoon visits to Prince Henry’s hospital rather than gathering Best and Fairest votes. St. Bedes and Fawkner were also to play in the last game that same year in the F Grade Grand Final.

Just for the record, St. Bedes played Fawkner three times in 1973 (F Grade), twice in 1974 (E Grade) and twice in 1984 (D Grade), losing all encounters. In 1973 and 1974, Fawkner had a gruesome character named ‘Mad Max’ and as witnessed this season, nothing seems to have changed. Watching the first game at home this year it was interesting to hear John Bradbury remark, "You know, it’s taken twenty years to beat these b------s !"

Arguably the most physically awesome side encountered by St. Bedes in the Amateurs would have to be Alphington in 1980 (D Grade). That same year, Old Ivanhoe Grammar forfeited their second round fixture against Alphington, which made back page headlines in the Melbourne Sun. In their first round encounter at least three Ivanhoe Grammar players were taken (via stretchers) to hospital - all suffering various forms of head injury.

83parkscThe second semi-final, also that same year, saw Alphington play St. Bedes. The previous meeting between these two sides, played at Alphington (Top versus second) saw Alphington 31:14 defeat St. Bedes 4:8. A victory to St. Bedes in the second semi-final would require a staggering twenty-eight goal turnaround. To make matters worse, an injury hit St. Bedes were without six players who would normally be playing, including Dale Collins, a proven finals player with the mental toughness required for those type of games.

St. Bedes jumped Alphington in the first quarter and led by five goals, and although their margin was reduced at half-time the ‘Bedas’ still led by fifteen points. Could they pull off the impossible? ... Alas. No!! The far stronger Alphington eventually wore down the ‘Bedas’ to win by twenty-nine points. The game took its toll, as most players were pretty sore during the week, and as a consequence we were beaten in the preliminary final by State Bank, a side St. Bedes had beaten in their previous two encounters. Incidently, Alphington won the grand final, thrashing State Bank by more than twenty goals.

Other players of interest are as follows:

  • 86elmorejWayne Bannister - The captain coach of Alphington held the Australian light-weight boxing title and also captained Collingwood Under 19s in his earlier years.
  • W.J.King - This Alphington player was a regular ‘TV Ringside’ competitor and boxing title holder and later won a B Grade Best and Fairest award at the age of thirty-nine or forty. He is currently a North Melbourne fitness adviser, specializing in weights and boxing training. He can also be seen in the capacity of Runner at North, so when next you watch the replay, he is the little, short-cropped, grey-haired, harmless looking bloke - How looks can deceive!
  • L.Hockins - This player had VFL experience with Collingwood.
  • G.W.Vallance - This player had VFL experience with Carlton.
  • Peter Harris - The assistant coach of Alphington was the games record holder in VAFA and is currently a VAFA umpire.
  • Paul Steinfort - The captain coach of St. Bedes is currently Chief Engineer for a company which was largely responsible for the construction of the Great Southern Stand at the MCG. He apparently made a comeback to football this year at the age of forty-four playing in G Grade Amateurs.


Reprinted from The Tiger, vol. 3, no. 2 (1995)

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