Years at NOBs: 1987-2004
Smooth was class with a capital C. A man who nearly made it in the big league, and was runner-up in the A Section B&F in 1989. Not to mention the fact he was on the wing in the North Old Boys Team of the Century. Now that’s a fair resume by anyone’s measure.
Smooth came to the club as a self-described, “North Melbourne reject” in 1987. It all began on the wind swept expanses of the Brens Oval in Parkville, the former head quarters of the club. It was here that Smooth came to love and enjoy cold showers, cold beers, and initially cold on field performances as he walked into a relegation battle, as the club was fighting to stay in A-Grade under coach Don Martin. Other coaches he has played under include Mark Hanneberry, Anthony Cahill, Pearly O’Conner, Robert Hyde, Frank Dunell and a handful in his final year under Garry Foulds.
Boothy himself is a big name around the club, but in his time he has had the honour of gracing the field with such club stalwarts such as Gus Carroll, Dennis Fogarty, Mark Hanneberry, Bruno Conti and Anthony Cahill.
And whilst on-field activities are of the utmost importance at NOBs, we too make sure that a good time is had off the field as well. In Boothy’s mind “in his day” the best parties where in Hawke St in West Melbourne, at the house of Marcus Boyd and Jack Daniels. And ever the thinking mans footballer, Smooth employed tactics at these shindigs, by hanging near Paul Sullivan. He claims that this strategy worked as Paul provided him with a few good handballs….
On field there are a number of highlights, with the 1991 A-Grade Grand-Final both a highlight and a disappointment. Paul was an instrumental member of a side that took all before it in the home and away season that year, winning 16 games. Then at half time of the grand final they found themselves 45 points down against arch rival De La Salle in the Elsternwick Park bog. But in the true never give in NOBs spirit they fought back to almost steal the game, falling short by just 5 points.
Elsternwick is the scene of another great memory for Smooth, his 200th Game. It was 2000, it was a Sunday, and it was against Old Brighton who was games clear on top of the ladder. But on this day they were toppled by a Booth inspired NOBs, as Smooth wound back the clock in a vintage display to guide the boys to victory. He had the ball on a string, and time and time again was seen side stepping out of a pack, ball in hand, before dancing away and then delivering on a plate to the awestruck forwards.
Other memorable moments include a win against De La at the Gillon in 1991. NOBs were down at half-time against the fellow A-Grade heavyweight, but with Tony Egan kicking seven goals, the NOBs stole the victory in the final minute of the game. As well wins against De La, Smooth thinks that other great games are wins against other traditional rivals in Old Xavs and St.Bernards. And in particular a win at Xavs (game held near the tennis centre) brings back fond memories, a win that he says was highlighted by a “young Boyle” inspired 8 goal haul that guided North to the victory.
But on a personal note he sees a game where he kicked a lazy seven goals against Kew as a day to look back at fondly. It was the final game of the year, and Boothy says that it was “one of those rare days where everything you do works perfectly.” Unfortunately everyone at the game didn’t share this thought, as at the A-Grade B&F count at Ammos Headquarters that year, Boothy was polling well, and coming into the final game he needed 2 votes to win. Given he’s kicked 7 goals he could be forgiven for starting to prepare his acceptance speech at this stage. Yet incredibly he didn’t poll any votes from that game, thus robbing him of an A-Grade League B&F, and to this day he’s still dirty about it. And rightly so!!
And when asked to list other great memories from his time as NOBs, they include;
Two Adelaide footy trips – ‘The Morphetville Streak’ Stakes (weight for age)
Good friends, good footy.
A 10-day trip to Perth with the Vic state side as “social director”
Waking up on Sunday morning in the Brunswick grand stand after the ’91 Grand Final function.
A nick name that has stuck
And the major disappointments are;
Never winning a Grand Final.
Missing a large majority of NOB’s finals over the years (due to injury, sabbatical at the wrong time)
Losing the Jordan brothers to St. Bernards
Never receiving a handball from Boyle in the forward line.
Being on the end of a spray from Terry Scanlon (scary)
On an individual level highlights include being a state representative on a number of occasions, a club B&F winner in 1989, as well as several placing’s, and has played over 200 games for the club and is a life member.
Best Players played with at NOBs;
Brett Collison – reliability/ consistency
Steve Moloney (VFA Sandringham Premiership Player) – skill
Tim Jones / Mark Hanneberry / Tony Cahill / Owen Abrahams – Hardness
Brian Hanlon – long kick
Luke Boyle – goals
Steve Brazil – freak factor.
Bruno Conti – leadership.
Best opponents in the Ammos;
Crowe – De La
Connell – Ormond
Furphy – Uni Blues.
And his thoughts on the other 3 members of the Fab Four?
Barker – he retired too young, was a prodigious kick who provided a great target up forward. Although his routine of Dim Sims before training can best be described as “questionable”.
Boyle -nearly retired too young, but thankfully not. He knows where ‘they’ are. Also the pioneer of the ‘lock and load handball’ (never used forward of the centre, unless under extreme pressure). Girls dig him for some reason??
Collison – retired too young. His name has appeared in the paper as best player, more than any other at NOBS. Full potential never realised, as he spent too much time in defence. Questionable on his right side. Most decorated player at NOBS (i.e., B&F’s, Captaincy etc.) Great in the trenches.
So in a nutshell Smooth how would you describe you playing career with NOBs?
“Great friends and a great experience”