24 July 2015

On saturday the club held its annual past players lunch, with special guests this year the 1975 seniors and reserves A grade premiership teams.

Over 160 past players and friends gathered for a great celebration of the 1975 premierships.
The 1975 group itself was 60 strong, expertly organised by John "Checker" Hughes, Peter "Snake" Pearson, Gerard "Porky" Mahoney and Peter "jonno" Johnstone.
The lunch also included may other past players from different era's, with Ben "Hogi12" Hogan bringing a 50 strong contingent from more recent past player ranks. 
A special thanks to all these key organisers and the football clubs expert team of event and logisitics volunteers.
Michael "the racehorse" Drennan did a excellent job as event MC, holding sway over a large and excited group of past players, who are always chirpy and full of free advice and stories.
Michael prepared a very eloquent and insightful presentation about the 1975 grand final day (as attached) , and the past players really soaked up the atmosphere and tales of old battles.
Highlights included re-enactments of the 1975 team photo's, and Paula Mitchell awarding Gus Mitchell Medals to b&f winners of years gone by. Pictured is David "doc" Burgin receiving his three b&f medals.
Over recent years a significant number of past players have re-connected with the club, a trend we hope to continue well into the future. We encourage all past players to join us for a game/games or a lunch/lunches in the remainder of this year and beyond. 



About 5.00 pm on Saturday Sept. 20 1975, the siren sounded and as we, the players, celebrated our victory my most vivid recollection was our jubilant supporters/club officials  racing on to the ground to join in the celebration. I saw a rather solidly built man  - fair complexion, a beatle haircut, heading in my direction. Despite bracing myself I was on the receiving end of a big hug and  was lifted off the ground. Of course the gentleman in question proceeded on to do likewise with other players in his vicinity. The man of course was our inspirational coach - Gus Mitchell.

Gus on a previous pre match oratory referred to the need for teamwork and the need to for everyone to pull their weight. He drew an analogy with a team of mountain climbers trying to reach the summit, their objective to have all in the team reach the summit. While I won't detail the analogy now, Gus and his team would have found they weren't first on the summit on that day as around 2.00 pm on Saturday Sept 20, it was Paul Daffy and his  team with on field leaders - Gerard Smith and Dennis McArdle  who were there first. It was an exciting encounter between 2 evenly matched sides - SBOCFC and Trinity OGs. The quarter by quarter scores  found in VAFA archives - had at the last change both teams locked on 9 goals nine points. About 30 minutes later when the final siren sounded St. Bernard's were victorious by a point.

This team was the second SBOCFC team to win an A Grade flag. Paul Daffy was the second Club captain and coach to lead his team to a premiership in A Reserve Grade. You may wonder who was the first - Brian Cuzack's 1971 team.

Monday's Age listed the following details  - the scores - SB - 11.11 def OT -11.10.

Goal Kickers : Sheehan 4,  Fox 3, Schwarzenberg 1, Hughes 1, Jones 1, Egan 1

Best Players: Mahoney, Ianazzo, Smith, Pearson, Kennedy, Egan

This afternoon we will soon hear from the umpire of that game - Phil Rowell. It will be interesting to hear his perspective on the game.

In reference to the first 18 game, there was an article in the VAFA football record on that day titled - 'It's a Great Day for the Irish' because the teams in question (St. Bernards and NOBs) were competing for their first A grade premiership. Both teams were CBC colleges from the north of Melbourne - both teams had entered the VAFA in 1963 with NOBs entering A Grade in 1968 and St. Bernards in 1971.

About 5.00 pm on Sept 20 1975 St Bernards A team reached the summit - victors by a comfortable 45 points. Arguably the best team to represent St. Bernards - 10 State Reps, 3 All Australians, 2 competition B&Fs, Leading Goalkicker (89 goals including 6 in the GF) and just in case we needed some divine intervention 2 priests. Coached by Gus Mitchell with on field leaders - Greg Wade, Michael Mahoney and Terry Davis.

Monday's Age listed the following details  - the scores - SB - 19.13 def NOBs -12.10.

Goal Kickers: Thompson 6, Slater 5, Burgin 4, Santamaria 1, Rackham 1, Fitzgerald 1, Mitchell 1

Best Players: Wade, Mitchell, Doolan, King, Aughton, Snowdon


If there was a summit it would have been very crowded - 2 A Grade premierships that memorable Saturday in September 75. Two teams, club officials/committee members (include leading administrators Mick Perrett and Ron Hancox ), past players others who began the journey 13 years prior as a player/official  - the backbone of the club (I note with interest that some of them are still actively involved in the club some 40 years on) ,and supporters - adjourned to Mitchell Hall for a night of great celebration.


40 years ago - we were part of a unique and historic event in the story of St Bernards FC. On that day among the players were the brothers Mahoney, Phelan, O'Loughin, there were the Mitchell cousins (Gus and Gavin).  26 years after that day St Bernard's reached the summit again and there were 2 Mitchells (sons of Gavin and Gus) a Hogan (son of Peter), Harvey (son of Ian). The sons of Pearson, Daffy, Hughes, Ianazzo, Davis, Dalmau and the nephews of Burgin, Mahoney and Angel have since worn the black gold and blue.

We may have only reached the summit in A Grade twice in 50 plus years but as one of the Coodabeens (when interviewing Matt Mulkearns about Forever Strong) said 'St Bernards is a VAFA powerhouse'. SBOCFC puts out - 6 VAFA teams, 13 underage teams in the WRFL  each Saturday and an Auskick program. I believe there is an annual turnover in excess of $750,000 . SBOCFC is 'Forever Strong' thanks to those who put in off the ground  - the likes of Mick Perrett and Ron Hancox in the 70's and beyond, the committee, the fundraisers, the coaches, administrators and supporters - the backbone of the club.

Community sport does not prosper without them. 

The Committee