QUEEN OF GRIFFITH FOOTBALL
Griffith Australian Football Club stalwart Mary Collins received a service medal from the Victorian Country Football League from District Director Lyle O'Brien at the Riverina Football League's presentation night recently.
A more fitting reward couldn't be given to the Queen of Griffith football who has been involved in the club for the past 43 years.
The reward is only handed out to the chosen few and now puts Mary up with Frank Gaynor and Dan Clarke, who have received the honour in recent years for the work done for football in the now defunct South West League and more recently the RFL.
Mary was first connected with the Griffith club when she joined the women's committee back in 1948 and was president of that body for the ensuring 10 years. She then took on the secretary and treasurer's position for the following six years.
It was during this time that the club set up a social committee during the 1960's and true to form Mary was well in the fore, firstly taking up the secretary/treasurer position before moving to the top as chairperson.
In 1979, Mary decided that the main committee of the club was the place to be and joined it as secretary, a position she held for six years, before taking over as joint treasurer.
It was during this time that Mary made history, probably in football Australia wide, but certainly in the Riverina, when she took over the Griffith Swans as the first woman president.
She held this position for two years before returning to her favourite spot on the committee as secretary, which took up the next two years.
This year, Mary hasn't got a title, but is on the committee and is in there pitching for her lovable Swans.
She will be easily recognisable today as she takes up front row seats in front of the grandstand with her sister Anne, waiting and hoping for the Swans to take the decider.
She has assisted the club with the 1952 and 1968 premierships and after 23 years of waiting and hard work, who would begrudge her a celebration drink around 5 pm today.
Club president Roy Agresta said that it was a tremendous honour for Mary. "She has worked tirelessly for the Swans over many years and any reward she has received couldn't make up for the many hours she has put into football, especially with the Griffith club." he added.
One ambition she wanted to see come to fruition was to see her two sons Darrell and Greg play in the same premiership side, but at the time of going to press, it didn't look too good for elder boy Darrell, who has been trying to throw off the affects of blood poisoning.
Which ever way it goes, if ever someone deserves plenty of recognition around the league, it would have to be Mary Collins - the closest we are going to get to royalty.
(RFL Record Vol. 9 No. 24 - Sunday Sept 29, 1991)
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