Born: 5 Jan 1941
Came from: Bairnsdale Went to: Wagga Tigers
First game: 14 April 1963 Last game: 25 August 1963
Appearances: 15 Goals: 15
League Rep: 2
Other clubs played for: 1957-58 Orbost, 1959 Geelong, 1960 Richmond, 1961 Orbost, 1962 Bairnsdale, 1964-65 Wagga Tigers (c-c), 1966-67 Grong Grong-Matong (c-c, '67). Premierships: Orbost 1961.
APART from members of the Griffith Australian Rules committee, the name Fred Mundy was known to few in the area before the 1963 season. However, it did not take long for 'Fearless Fred' to become a household word in Griffith and South West League.
It's a pretty good bet Mundy wont be coaching Griffith again next season, but at the same time there is a slim chance he may wear the red and white jersey again. The reason that Mundy has been the central figure of 101 discussions, prompts me to write a story.
But first, let me point out am taking no sides, rather have endeavoured to paint a word picture of a player long to be remembered in the history of the Griffith Club.
Winning their one and only South West premiership in 1952, Griffith for the past four or five seasons have had good sides - but not good enough.
Many reasons were advanced, the most favoured being: "The club lacked the fire and fight against vigorous play of opposition teams".
Don Keyter showed the way a fearless, fiery coach could triumph but Keyter lacked the material to support him as Griffith were emerging from a run of poor seasons that had them a near team on the ladder.
Len Sexton followed to quickly win acclaim as one of the best footballers ever to play in the South West. In his three seasons with Griffith (1961-62 as senior coach and 1963 as assistant coach) Sexton continued to add to his laurels but leading a small fast side lacking in the big men game, Griffith finished a midfielder in the competition.
But the side was steadily climbing from the doldrums and 1963 looked the season to go flat out for the premiership. From a record number of 38 applicants, 22-year-old Fred Mundy was appointed as senior coach.
Most South West fans know Mundy only how they have seen him in club and inter-league fixtures. Not many know him as a descendant of a proud pioneering family and a good horseman, inheriting his great grandfather's and family's love of horses and horsemanship.
Amongst the first land selection of what was then called Pumpkin Point but is now known as Bete Bolong South. It was taken up by Frederick Mundy, grandfather of Nigel and Fred Mundy (brothers) and great grandfather of Griffith footballer Fred Mundy.
Frederick selected the only original property handed down from father to son in the Orbost district and is now owned by Nigel Mundy and known as 'Avalon'. Griffith's Fred Mundy (son of Nigel Mundy) is the fourth generation of 'Fred Mundy's on the property.
As a boy rider and at the age of nine, Fred Mundy was an outstanding personality of the Bairnsdale Show. He secured first prize in the boy rider 12-year-old and under, first prize in the boy rider over hurdles 14-years and under. By request he gave an exhibition over four foot hurdles that was filmed by a news camera.
Riding honours followed Fred Mundy for many years as a schoolboy sensation, then running the boundary at the local footy games for Orbost, his love of football became a major force.
In 1957 he was playing second 18 football with Orbost and was already tipped for football limelight. Used as a ruckman and full forward, he won the club's best and fairest in the second 18.
Senior selection followed in 1958 and quoting from the "Snowy River Mail" July 16, 1958, when Orbost defeated Lakes Entrance by 28 points, one paragraph was typical of his outstanding season: "A flawless exhibition of superbly judged high marks and long driving kicks, always made position and repeatedly turned defence into attack."
Mundy starred in club football in Orbost in 1958 and few fans were surprised when Geelong invited him to try out with the 'Cats' in 1959. Rave notice followed his trial match performance. Geelong had been bottom team in the Melbourne competition for years but viewing his recruits, famous Geelong coach Reg Hickey remarked: "Players who carry a bit of 'venom' in their game are what the 'Cats' have needed for the past couple of seasons and it looks like we could have it in some of our new recruits. One of the best is fiery Fred Mundy from Orbost, he could be the boy to lift Geelong, provided his teammates back back him up when needed."
And Mundy had the fire to delight the coach. Lacking in height and weight did not deter him from playing it tough and hard. A tremendous leap and perfect judgment had Mundy an instant ruck success but Geelong also used him in defence and attack.
At 18, Mundy made Geelong's final list and played in several competition games before injury cut short his football season. In one such stretch a corked leg cost him eight games straight.
Richmond became interested in Mundy the following season and after joining the Tigers he played five senior games and was reserve for another two matches.
Finishing the 1960 season with Richmond, Mundy trained with the Tigers again in 1961 but a severe injury to his father in a farm accident caused him to forsake league football and return to manage his father's property at Orbost.
Re-appearing for his old club in the Gippsland League, he helped win a premiership over Lindenow, topping off his great season with Orbost's best and fairest.
In February 1962, Fred married Miss Sandra Nowlan, daughter of a well-known Orbost family.
Mundy highlighted the pre-match 1962 season as the centre of a 'Sporting Globe' comment: "Surprise appointments are likely in the Gippsland League to open on April 28. Orbost ruckman and former Geelong and Richmond player Fred Mundy is the centre of the biggest puzzle. He recently married an Orbost girl but is working in Bairnsdale. It is rumoured he will be appointed non-playing coach of Bairnsdale second 18 on Monday night. The vigorous Mundy, often roasted for his rugged play would the play for Bairnsdale senior side."
A crowded season filled with contradictions followed Mundy with Bairnsdale in 1962. During the year he:-
Was suspended for four competition matches for striking Yallourn captain-coach John Hutchison.
Won Bairnsdale best and fairst award.
Represented the Latrobe Valley League in the Caltex Country Championships and rucked against former Griffith coach Don Keyter, coaching Nhill that season and Wimmera League captain in the Caltex match.
In one match won all three Latrobe Valley major football awards and his own Bairnsdale Club trophy for best and fairest.
As such, Fred Mundy, now 22, comes to Griffith.
Slow to begin in early games, Mundy gradually reached a peak rarely excelled by any South West player. Completely without fear and prepared to take it uncomplainingly as well as dish it out, Mundy had the fans roaring and raging in turn.
Few players could match his aerial work, even less his courage when Griffith hit an uncontrollable mid-season slump that sent their premiership hopes crushing.
Mundy may not be the fairest player to wear the Griffith jersey, but certainly he rates amongst the best. And class football failed to dim his ability - against Carlton and Farrer League he figured amongst South-West best players in both matches.
Next Sunday, Fred Mundy will possibly play his last game with Griffith at Grong Grong. Few fans could reflect on Mundy and blame his lack of football ability for Griffith's failure to do better this season. Many will condemn his fiery play but all will remember his fearlessness, unquestionable club loyalty and fierce love of the game.
Already Griffith are planning big things for the 1964 season. One thing is certain if Fred Mundy figures amongst these plan, they have a greater chance of success.
(By Jack Luhrs - The Area News, Friday, August 23, 1963).