Sports Snaps with Gus Underwood

By Kyabram Free Press

(with photo of Tony Bull)

ONE of Kyabram Football Club's legendary coaches passed away at the weekend.

Tony Bull, who led the Bombers to the Goulburn Valley League flag in 1958 in his first season with the club, had been battling dementia for several years. He was 89.

Bull revolutionised the Kyabram Football Club when he took the reins as coach in 1958.

At the time the Bombers were known as the Robins. He ruled that was not a name that would instil fear into rivals so he changed it to the Bombers, the title the club still holds today.

Bull brought a professionalism to the club never previously experienced.

He preached that if you wanted to be a footballer you had at least look like one.

Players invited his wrath if they had their socks down. They also had to hit the ground running from the dressing rooms in a tight group to show they meant business when they took to the field.

Bull was a tough, no-nonsense onballer famous as a player for his Dustin Martin-like arm — sometimes fist — fend-offs when he had possession of the ball.

In his time at Kyabram Bob Vick was his vice-captain, which turned into a lifelong friendship.

‘‘He was a gentleman but very tough on the field. I can still see him bursting through the centre with his pace and hair flowing,’’ Bob recalled this week.

‘‘The first night he took training he lined all us players up and said that they would be running 11 laps before training even started. It raised a few eyebrows I can tell you.”

Tony came to Kyabram via Melbourne metropolitan club Moorabbin West, a club he joined in 1957 after playing with the Melbourne Football Club in the early 1950s.

He played 31 senior games for Melbourne and in one VFL (now AFL) grand final wasthe emergency for both the senior and seconds (reserves) teams.

Tony’s youngest son, Lindsay, recalled his week how legendary Melbourne coach Norm Smith told his father he was the best player in the seconds and the worst player in the seniors. But because he was an emergency under the rules at the time he was ineligible to play in the seconds team grand final team because he had also been named as an emergency for the senior side.

In his first year as coach of Kyabram in 1958 he led it to a premiership — 12.13 to 9.6 over Nagambie. Kyabram again was a grand finalist in 1959, beaten by Lemnos (now Shepparton Swans).

Kyabram missed the finals in 1960 finishing fifth and were finalists again in 1961 when eliminated from the premiership fight by eventual premiers Tongala.

Kyabram were finalists again under Tony in 1962 — his last season as coach of the club — but lost the second semi-final and preliminary final by three and 11 points respectively.

Tony is survived by three sons, Ashley, Geoffrey and Lindsay, and his first wife, Judith.

There will be a private family funeral service this Saturday.

Big names will have a bash

THE inaugural Goulburn Murray Big Bash League is drawing some big names.

One of the four franchises in the Twenty20 competition, the Cobram Panel Works Panthers, has named Zimbabwean international Tarisai Musakanda as one of its two marquee players.

Currently playing in the Cricket Albury Wodonga competition Musakanda, 25, has represented his country in all formats of the game and is expected to be a big drawcard in the competition in January-February.

The Kyabram franchise in the competition is being coached by Paul Newman, who has already named his captain, his brother David Newman.

Fire Brigade Cricket Club is hosting the second round of the competition on Sunday, January 19.

Murchison building strong list

MURCHISON is loading up for a serious assault on next season’s Kyabram District Football League premiership.

Three Euroa players with senior GVL experience are among the new faces who will join the Grasshoppers in 2020.

Euroa’s Brad Gleeson, Klay Giovannini and James Ivill will certainly bolster Murchison, finalists this season under first-year non-playing coach Nick Iorianni.

Gleeson and Ivill are very experienced at GVL senior level and Gioviannini is a former Murray Bushrangers player who has had senior experience at GVL level.

Two former Murchison players with good credentials, ruckman Jake Cowan and forward Jake Sanderson, are also returning to the club to add further depth to its ranks.

Murchison netballers have also received a boost for next season with Euroa’s B grade GVL premiership coach Jenni McCluskey joining their ranks in the new year.

Stanhope reunion brings back memories

RAIN failed to put a dampener on Stanhope Cricket Club’s recent centenary celebrations.

While rain washed out two of Stanhope’s Goulburn Murray Cricket games on the Stanhope ovals on the Saturday a dinner that night drew over 100 reunion goers.

Another 100 or more turned out for the annual Melbourne Cup day event the next day to wind up the function.

‘‘It all went over very well and a lot of memories were revived over the weekend,’’ said reunion organiser and club president Matt Evans.

One of the highlights of the Saturday night dinner was the naming of two of Stanhope’s best teams down the years.

Evergreen Alex Nelson, 97, the oldest living former club player, selected legendary skipper and renowned coach Gillie Cochrane to captain the best Stanhope side from 1920 to 1970 while Noel Gray and Graham Luke picked their best side from 1970 onwards.

Rochy netball's bright idea

ROCHESTER is a sport-minded town currently celebrating a new asset.

It has just unveiled a new lighting system at the netball courts in the Rochester sports reserve.

The $200,000 project means Rochester joins only a few netball associations in which games can be played under lights.