Playing Years at NOBs: 2005 – 2012
Numbers Worn: 4 (or any other long-sleeved jumper which was in the Clubbies kitbag and happened to be clean)
Premierships & Grand Finals Played in: one grand final; I’ve forgotten the result on the advice of my doctors
In a Paragraph or two (or more, as much as you’re willing to share!), give an overview of your time at NOB’s:
I arrived as a 62 kg 22yo who hadn’t played a game of football since I was 9. My playing career deteriorated from there. But I was lucky enough to co-coach the Clubbies for a number of years (mainly as a strategy to ensure I never played anywhere other than the forward pocket), and to sit on the committee under the reigns of Presidents Trump (sorry, Scanlon), Ludeman and Iafrate.
How did you get down to the club?
A few friends, including Michael Nunan, were playing in the Clubbies and asked me along to training. The rest of the club were pretty disappointed to learn (by observing me kick/handball/run away from the ball) that I wasn’t Dan Tehan’s brother.
You had a reputation for being a favourite of Norm Nugent. What was the basis of this? Just how many times did you make the Clubbies team of the year?
Norm is the long-time Clubbies correspondent for the VAFA Record, and a very good judge of football talent. He also happened to be a long-time friend of my grandfather. On that basis, he selected me on the bench in a Clubbies team one year (a poor year for the Clubbies, which required Norm to exercise creativity to ensure an even distribution of players from all teams). The following year I asked him in about round 10 whether I was a chance for a repeat “All-Australian” selection. Norm told me that, having seen my game that day, “it wouldn’t matter if I’d known your pa for 200 years, I still couldn’t pick you”. So Chris Dynon got the token slot that year.
Most Memorable NOB’s Games, if you can summarise (again as any as you wish!) them & why & what your strongest recollections are.
Two games immediately spring to mind. One was against Fitzroy, when we needed a win to sneak into the finals. Inspired (it pains me to say) by a captain’s performance by Chris Dynon, we played our best game for the year, and stormed home to win by a kick. We got into the rooms, roared out the song and then found out that the fourth team had upset the top team, and so we didn’t make finals after all. Notwithstanding, the win was appropriately celebrated.
The second game was a final against Prahran at Elsternwick. With NOBS sitting 4 goals down with 10 minutes to go, Prahran’s best player was stretchered off (after an unfortunate collision between his head and the ball, I do hope he is okay). The team stood together while medical assistance was rendered, and inspirational thoughts were imparted (“boys, I think this means they are down to 6 on the bench, we can run over the top of them”). Tim Downing, Chris Ives and Hamish Christie turned the game, and we snuck home by a few points.
Biggest Disappointment/Lowlights whilst at NOBs.
In the summer of 2012, I had achieved what was called in the clubbies an MRC: a Major Recruiting Coup. I had extracted an old school friend called Pete Ryan from Old Xavs, and convinced him to come and play in the Clubbies for a year. It took all of one handball drill for the senior coach to realise that Pete wasn’t the Fine Cotton which I had promised, and suggested to me that “there is no
NOB Career Highlights/Summary:
The personal on-field highlights are few and far between. Perhaps as a guide, I once won a Clubbies goal-kicking award. With a total of 14 goals. For the season.
Off-field, it was eye-opening to sit on the Committee for a number of years, especially the years under President Terry Scanlon. Observing his management style at close quarters was frightening.
As team manager for the Clubbies, it was always an immense challenge to keep on top of the various aliases that were being deployed. In one game, the umpire came in at half-time and asked me who “number 22” was. I looked at the team sheet and said “Marcus Ryan” (who official records show played many games for the club). The umpire looked at me, and said “Marcus Ryan? His name is Marcus Ryan?”. Me: “yep” [thinking – “oh hell, this umpy must be Marcus’s uncle”]. Ump: “are you sure?” Me: “yep. Why do you want to know his number?” Ump: “He’s playing really well, so I want to get his name so if he has a good second half I can get him in the votes”. Sure enough, “Marcus Ryan” got the 3 votes that day. The man who wore number 22 that day – the Sri Lankan-born Manisha Karunaratne – has never forgiven me.
Is it fair to say you were an early adopter/leading proponent of the dribble along the ground goal so prevalent in AFL nowadays? How much practice went into this art form?
Enormous amounts of practice, because I quickly realised that my best chance of avoiding physical contact from an opponent was to run quickly towards the boundary line (ideally away from the ball). On the rare occasions that the football and I crossed paths, the best way to preserve my safety was to get rid of it quickly. Hence dribbling it.
Describe your favourite ever goal for NOBs
It wasn’t a goal of mine. Playing at Brunswick St Oval, start of the second quarter in a tight contest, Michael Nunan won a clearance from the middle, burst free, took three bounces, fended off a would-be tackler and kicked the goal from 40m. He wheeled around, fists in the air, having kicked what – viewed objectively by Clubbies standards – was a stunning goal. The only drawback was that he had forgotten that the teams change ends at the end of each quarter, and so it went in the scorebook as a rushed behind for our opposition. So not only was it not a goal of mine, but it wasn’t a goal at all.
You & Dyno co-coached the clubbies for a number of years. Who really called the shots and who was along for the ride?
I am too modest to say, and will rely on the views of our players who we coached. And having spoken to many of those players to prepare these answers, I can report that they are unanimous in saying I was the spiritual, emotional and tactical leader. A number were surprised to learn that Dyno was even a co-coach, and thought that he just liked standing near the whiteboard during the pre-game address.
Best Players played with at NOB’s and why:
Trevor Ludeman was a stalwart at full back. Hamish Christie was an explosive full-forward, even if he was unaware of the new development in AFL called “handball”. Luke Fogarty was a tough on-baller who inspired everyone around him. Dave Stribley once came second in the Clubbies best-and-fairest after playing 3 games for the season. Off-field, Michael “Boochy” O’Sullivan and Ryan Gannon were key assets.
Aside from the Gillon, which away grounds did you enjoy playing at & why?
Brunswick St Oval (as a childhood Fitzroy supporter) was special, and Elsternwick Park (purely for the hotdogs).
What do you like Best about NOB’s
It is a club filled with loyal players, supporters and sponsors who were equally happy to spend time with the worst player in the Clubbies as the best player in the Seniors.
But if I could sum up NOBs by reference to two people, they would be Peter Hevey and John Glossop. Heves’s contribution to the club is well-known, but to come along and suffer through Clubbies matches during the depths of winter, having painted the boundary, put up goalpost padding, conducted the timekeeping, and run the scoreboard, demonstrates the commitment which so many people have given to a great club. In the same way, John Glossop came to NOBs as a mate of Trevor Ludeman’s, and acted as team manager and runner my time with the Clubbies, a thankless task when you are allowed a bench of 8 and most players need a rest after 4 minutes.