A great rival passes

05 March 2015

Many at the club in the 70's & 80's will recall the great rivalry between North Old Boys and St Bernards.

Sadly one of the club legends at North Old Boys has passed away, a player respected by all those who crossed his path on the football field. (notes via John Hughes from NOB's website). Vale Mauro Borcich.
A Tribute to Mauro (Bomba) Borcich – a true North Old Boys Legend

250+ games, 4 times Best & Fairest, Club Captain, VAFA Victorian Rep, NOBS Team of The Century Centreman and 2 ‘A’ Grade Flags (6 ‘A’ Grade GFs) – what more can be said.

The absolute driving force that Mauro was as a footballer, indestructible - we all thought! A palpable physical presence, the player most plotted against by the opposition because he could take the game away from them in the middle.

How he made us, his team mates (and supporters) a bit stronger, a bit quicker and a bit taller.

Memories of a Round 18 match vs Old Xav’s in the 80’s with NOBs looking at the unthinkable prospect of relegation. Down at the last change, with percentages being calculated on the boundary, Mauro lifted and rallied all behind him. A nail biting win against the odds led by our brave Bomba. After the match Mauro and others sat listening to the ABC on the car radio waiting for the other scores. NOBs was safe regardless, but Mauro didn’t know that at the siren when team mates unsuccessfully tried to carry him off. For a star Mauro shunned the limelight.

Another occasion Mauro was unavailable for a very big game, a final at Elsternwick Park, he had been snowed in at Falls Creek during the week. There was talk of sending up a helicopter to get him and someone said “ah come on he is not God!” to which a senior team mate allegedly replied "no he's more important to us than God". Also recall a NOBs coach suggesting to Mauro one year that “while a very, very good player he hadn’t troubled the scoreboard as often as he might”. It was at Elsternwick Park, Mauro proceeded to kick 5 goals running out of the middle and smiled cheekily back to the coach as he left the ground.

In recent months, when a few of his mates caught up with him for lunch or coffee, he said he was thinking back over his footy years at NOBs and that he realized more than ever how important and significant a part of his life it was. He said he did have a bit of a regret and that was that he didn't engage with the supporters as much as he could have. We think he really only came to understand his status at NOBs and how much he was loved at the club well after his playing days were over. Mauro was told not to worry about that too much and that the supporters didn't really come to talk to him, they came to watch him........ especially the girlfriends, wives, sisters and yes even mums?!

It is hard to believe this life force could be taken away by anything, but it proves once again we are all mortal and that life with all its ups and downs should be enjoyed every day. Mauro was a great footballer many say the best we saw at NOBs but for his mates it was how he dealt with this terrible illness, his resolve, his strength, his pragmatism and his ability to make you feel comfortable in his presence through it all, that stood out for them.

Perhaps more importantly than being a football God (and excelling at many other sports), Mauro wished to be remembered as a good bloke, husband and father. He was a successful businessman, a loyal friend, a loving husband to Vicki and if you could have seen the looks shared with Blake (his son) towards the end, you could easily see that Mauro was a great Dad.

You won’t be forgotten Mauro. Rest in Peace Bomba and enjoy the view from Mount Olympus!

Your friends at NOBs