HIGH MARKS AND FUMBLES

By Neil Griggs

It certainly was a big day at Narrandera last Saturday - a big game, a big crowd and a big exhibition by both teams. The football was really worthy of the occasion and the standard of the South West team was generally an eye opener to the Victorian visitors and also must have impressed all the rugby fans present. Even the dyed-in-the-wool Aussie Rules addicts were well satisied by the brilliant football turned on.

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In congratulating the SWDFL team on its Championship win at the official dinner on Saturday night, Hampden coach Bill McMaster said he hoped the achievement of the players would give the code a big boost in the area as that was what it had done in the territory of the previous winners. He said he knew South West would be hard to beat but considered the Hampden team the best in Victorian country and was confident they would win but they had met their match in the SWDFL.

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John Beckwith, Hampden captain, who in 10 years played 176 games with Melbourne and led them to two premierships, congratulated the SWDFL team on a magnificent effort and their outstanding will to win. He had heard they were a good fast team and had prepared for a hard game but the South West had proved too good and they were worthy winners of the 1963/64 Championship.

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Jim Quinn, President of the SWDFL, in speaking at the dinner which followed the game at Narrandera last Saturday, said he had been President for 15 years and the South West's win that day had brought him his greatest moment in football. He congratulated the SWDFL players on their magnificent win and also the Hampden team for their wonderful way they had played the game right out and for the sporting way they had accepted defeat. The visiting players, he said, had fully lived up to the highest traditions of Australian football and although the team was defeated everyone could go home to Victoria knowing that their players had all done their best and had not been disgraced in defeat. Mr Quinn said contrary to rumours he was not contemplating retirement and hoped to be there to see the SWDFL win many more games.

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SWDFL coach Bernie Sculley said the championship win was something the league and players would skite about for years. He thanked the players for their full hearted efforts and said it was pleasing to see them all so very keen and striving for the one objective. He knew South West officials who had given a lot of time and thought and effort to the championship games had been well rewarded by the performances of the players. He congratulated the Hampden League players on a magnificent effort which had almost countered all the advantages the South West had in the game. SWDFL captain Ian Gillett endorsed the remarks of the coach and paid tribute to the coach and the players.

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There was no need for the toss to decide the winner of the Caltex trophy for the Best and Fairest players for the SWDFL team in the championship final last Saturday, as Ganmain defender Bill McCaig was a unanimous choice. The Caltex trophy for the best Hampden player went to winger Ron Fountain with another trophy going to full back Bill Young, who did a good job on Tom Carroll.

Statistics for the championship game were: Marks - SWDFL 51 (16, 15, 12, 8) Hampden 59 (12, 17, 14, 16); Free Kicks - SWDFL 17 (5, 4, 5, 3) Hampden 12 (2, 2, 5, 3).

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One of the highlights of the game at Narrandera was the performance of the two full backs Max Kruse (South West) and Bill Young (Hampden). Both teams expected their full forwards to play a leading role but between them they scored only one goal. Tom Carroll did not score a goal against the fast close playing Young, while Stan Nokes rated the best forward in Victoria country football could only kick one against the uncanny judgment and strong play of Kruse.

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With a paying attendance of 7,030 it was estimated (with children free, and their were quite a few really senior "school kids" that went through the gate uncharged) that more than 10,000 were at the Narrandera Sportsground for last Saturday's big game. The Hampden League had many supporters but they should have had 36 more as one of the five chartered planes failed to arrive. The 36 supporters, who included Mrs John Beckwith, wife of the Hampden captain, were due to leave Essendon Aerodrome at 9.50 a.m.. Due to a mechanical fault, however, their plane was unserviceable and up to mid-day no other suitable plane was available and 36 irate Hampden fans left to listen to a broadcast of the big game.

Riverina Advocate - Wednesday July 15, 1964