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Extracts from NEWSLETTER APRIL 2018


Your members once again participated in a very enjoyable social occasion with the staff of the Essendon Football Club. Although planned for mid-February there was difficulty in finding a suitable date due to the demands on EFC staff at that time of year. Eventually the date of Friday, March 16 was decided on to provide the opportunity for the EFCPP&OA and EFC to get together. Our hosts the Essendon Bowls Club as usual were most generous in their support of this event providing free access to their facilities and assisting with equipment and organisation.

Planning commenced in earnest as invitations to our members were circulated and EFC staff encouraged to take part if they were not required for club commitments on the day.

With the EFC staff granted an early finish (4.00pm) the day’s activities would commence at 4.30 pm and continue until 7.00pm or so in the evening. A pleasantly warm afternoon, excellent rink preparation a choice of bowls available and keen involvement made for an outstanding event. A warm welcome and pre-event briefing from EBC President, Terry Ryan set the scene for teams of three to begin their lively competition in the “two bowls triples” format. A wide variety of optional clothing (and footwear) was the order of the day as participants faced the challenges of mastering these unfamiliar objects that seemed to have a mind of their own. It wasn’t long however that the early shyness and giggles gave way to some serious bowling and the competitive instincts surfaced.

Originally 12 mixed teams of three were arranged comprising one EFCPP&OA member as “skip” and two EFC staff members to tackle the planned format. It must be said that there were several changes from original teams as the demands of job responsibilities affected EFC staff availability thus requiring them to withdraw. Luckily there were others who had the opportunity to take their place. The response from our members was somewhat disappointing also. Due to late changes the planned teams of 12 were revised to 10 before play commenced. Each team was rostered to play three games of five ends whilst enjoying the occasion to chat and understand better an appreciation of the contribution each has made in maintaining the well respected Essendon culture.

The basic rules of bowls applied – however a few simple modifications (e.g.) kitty in ditch was replaced on “T” – ensured play was kept brisk and flowing with few interruptions. Teams winning a game received 6 points PLUS an extra point for each end won – a maximum of 11 being possible. All ten teams played on the one beautifully maintained green simultaneously, using rinks 10-15. Some humorous sledging observed – but generally great energy and lots of lively banter. With food and refreshments readily available throughout there was much fun and enjoyment – particularly with a bar tab operating.

Although some had to leave immediately after the competition for other commitments the remainder  continued to mix, mingle and socialize as all scores were collated (secretly) before announcing the results — as follows …..

1st PRIZE –

David Ryan, Chris Pehilivanis, Ben Corson)31 points

2nd PRIZE –

Alby Wilson   Ian Graham   Don Gross21points +6

 3rd PRIZE

Courtenay Dempsey Gregor  McCaskie Danielle Kaitu21 points



Stubby Holders   Pens    Notebooks      courtesy of  the EBC

LAST  –         Simon Madden             Marianne Burtt               Nathan Attard

2ND LAST –  Kevin Andrews             Carla Marturano          GraysonHuddert


Kevin Andrews tells his story of how he wrote the clubs theme song. Kevin is a member of our Association, being a Life Member of the EFC. Kevin was a VFL Goal Umpire for the VFL in 114 games from 1979 to 1988, including two Grand Finals.

“I barracked for Essendon from the age of 6.

It was whilst living with my grandparents in Northcote that my Grandmother, after a lot of pestering from me took me to see my first game when the Bombers played Fitzroy at the old Fitzroy oval in 1952.  I just loved it & I was hooked.

One day at the Northcote Footy ground where there was a kicking competition, including some VFL Stars, I watched the events & when the kicking competitions were concluded, I summoned up the courage to go into the change rooms & walk up to Hugh Mitchell who was changing into his street clothes & said “G’day Hughie”. Not knowing if he would even speak to me as I had never spoken to “A VFL Player” before. Mitchell replied G ’Day tiger, & asked, who do you barrack for? I replied “The Bombers” & then Hugh asked me do you go to the football? I go every week & never miss a game I said quite proudly. A long and enduring friendship between Hugh Mitchell and myself remains to this day.

Between the years 1954 & 1960, I was always in the rooms of the EFC at games and training & there was no doubt it became my Sanctuary, my Refuge & my Escape.

There being a very strong friendship between team mates Hugh Mitchell & Jeff Gamble, I soon got to know Jeff well & a lifelong bond was formed between us.

Then, by seeing and speaking with Jeff Gamble on a constant basis over those years, I was to experience kindness extended to me by Jeff & his family that new no bounds. Jeff Gamble was the finest man I have ever known.

Jeff was married in 1956 & his bedroom at his parents’ home in Niddrie was vacant in 1958 so he arranged for his mum & dad to take on a stranger, a kid with a few rough edges.

I could write volumes about the wonderful experiences I had over my early life after I met Hugh & Jeff, but the one that came out of the blue and was so unexpected, was the Saturday morning Jeff came to visit his mum & Dad.

He walked in to the house singing & humming the tune “Sunny Side Up’. I was chatting away, & Jeff kept singing the song and I said to him “I know what you watched last night’. Every Friday night in Melbourne on channel 7, approximately between the years 1957 to 1967 there was a variety show in Black & White TV, called Sunny Side Up compared by Bill Collins.

The tune from that show was a very catchy one & like most people when you get a tune on your mind it is hard to let go. Jeff just laughed but then out of nowhere, he simply replaced the first line of the song with “See the Bombers Fly Up, Up. With a silly grin & a big smile on his face he said to me “how do you like that”. He then said he had to go and see his dad.

I can’t explain it, but it was as though Jeff had placed a seed in my mind, & I then sat down at the kitchen table & penned the words to what was to become the Bombers new Club Song.

Jeff came back from helping his dad, and said “what are you doing mate” he put his hand on my shoulder and I turned the writing pad around and Jeff started to sing what I had written. He said “that is fantastic mate what do you think we should do with it, should we take it to the club?” Kevin was 16 at the time & simply shrugged his shoulders “I said I don’t know.

I to this day am still mystified by how it all happened & so quickly. The one thing I do know is, had Jeff not been clowning around & showing off in such a jovial manner, and  coming up with that magical  first line of “See the Bombers Fly Up, Up”  the whole thing would never have happened & I wonder what would be the clubs song today”.

Jeff Gamble played 90 games for Essendon between 1953 and 1960 and unfortunately passed away in 1966. He was the uncle of film star Cate Blanchett.



Tom Fitzmaurice

Tom played from 1918 to 1920 and 1922 to 1924, playing 85 games, including as a member of the 1923 and 1924 Premiership teams.

He won the Best and Fairest awards in 1922, 1923 and 1924, and was a Victorian State representative in 1919, 1920, 1922, 1923 and 1924.

He was made a Legend of the club in the inaugural Hall of Fame inductions.

Tom sensationally left the club at the end of 1924 due to conflicts between players following their Premiership. This occurred due to the fact that Essendon lost the last final game of the season to Richmond, however won the flag because they had a better % than Richmond. That particular series was a round robin format with the team with most wins and best % winning the flag. That was the last time that format was used.

Many players, including Tom were furious at the performances of a number of players, who in their opinion did not give their best efforts.

The next week, Essendon as VFL Premiers, played Footscray as VFA Premiers in a challenge match, the result of which saw Footscray invited to join the VFL the following year. Footscray won the game 9.10.64 to Essendon 4.12.36.

Fists are said to have again been flying in the Essendon rooms after the game. There were rumours that Essendon players had received sums of money and one star was said to have returned home to find a new car in his drive-way to “take it easy”. Tom Fitzmaurice refused to ever play with the team again and transferred to Geelong the following season, and was a member of their Premiership team that year.


This year celebrates the 25 year anniversary of the great 1993 Premiership Team. The team was made up of a large number of young players and were not expected to perform as they did.

They played Carlton in the Grand Final and won by 44 points, 20.13.133 to 13.11.89, with Michael Long being best on ground.

The club will celebrate this Premiership together with inductions into the Hall of Fame at a function to be held at the MCG Dining Room on Thursday 10th May. This promises to be a great event!


Recently, the President, Barry Capuano, received the following photo and words from his friend Les Twentyman:

“My good mate Michael Long 18 years ago we both ran with Olympic Torch together along with the late Bart Cummings.
Michaels son Jake and daughter Mickela are both currently playing for Essendon.

Michael may have 20 Jobs for our Refugee Kids with The Andrews Govt. on Crossing Removals.

Michael has a Youth Program in Darwin and would like me to visit it and share Ideas as we have an Indigenous school from Northam WA visiting us for past 4 years.

Our Back to School Program has supported 80 Aboriginal Students this year making the total to be around 8,000 over the 28 years.”

Les apparently was a very reasonable player and coach of teams in the Western suburbs in his earlier days, and we all know the prowess of Michael as a player with the EFC, however their performances since their playing days have been outstanding. The Les Twentyman Foundation which covers a number of areas, has done a fantastic job in looking after disadvantaged and homeless youth and their families, and Michael similarly, has done a superb job in looking after the problems facing indigenous youth, and the Long Walk, which is supported strongly by the EFC, is an annual event that attracts thousands of people to participate in the walk.

Both of these men are truly Legends, and we wish them well in continuing to expand the great work they already provide for many Australian families.


 We would like to congratulate John Worsfold on receiving a two year extension to his contract. This is a good move by the club as he has done an excellent job to date in developing a strong group of players who could achieve real success over the next few years.




The amendments made to our Constitution at the recent Special Meeting, now allows the Committee to develop programs to ensure that we grow and develop in accordance with our Future Strategic Planning Document, ON TARGET.

 The two important aspects of this document are outlined as follows:

  • Adding an Associate Membership category to allow us to expand our membership base to ensure that we include all living players who have represented the club at all levels, and specifically to include Reserve Grade players who did not play the 20 games required to be a full member, and U19 grade players who represented the club up until the competition was discontinued in 1992. As there are very scant records kept by the club or the AFL to readily identify players in these categories, we are seeking any input from our readers that may help us to contact these players for inclusion as Associate Members.
  • Amendment to the structure of our General Committee, which will enable us to appoint Sub-Committees that will be responsible for specific areas of our Association.


The excellent Altona venue again welcomed bowlers from the various clubs on a grey and humid day on Sunday 18th March. Despite the superb greens in play the games became very frustrating for all players as the day progressed and the wind gusts increased in strength and number.

In contrast to the demanding conditions a convivial and warm atmosphere still prevailed as old foes caught up with each other to chat, socialise and exchange good natured banter.

Four rounds of eight ends were to be played over the duration of the day – two in the morning session and two after the lovely (and filling) two course lunch generously provided by the Altona Bowls Club. Teams were to be awarded 8 points for a win, four for a tie and one additional point for each end won. High spirited energy and action aplenty as every team strived for a consistent line and length but with regular cries of disappointment and despair as the wind took played havoc with performances.

Essendon was represented by two teams ..

( 1 ) Alby Wilson (Skip) , Ron Clarke , Graham Leydin, Geoff Barber

( 2 ) Brian Lanigan (Skip) Ian Graham , Ted Robinson , Kevin Harwood

Other clubs represented  included – Collingwood (2) , Geelong (2) , Melbourne , Bulldogs , North Melbourne , and a combined team from North and Fitzroy

The eventual winners Melbourne won all their games convincingly to earn the  Charles Mc Caige Shield previously held by Geelong. Unfortunately the Geelong boys forgot to bring along the shield so there was no formal presentation made.

Many thanks to all the Essendon boys who participated and a special mention for Kevin Harwood who worked overtime to ensure we had two teams to represent the Club.


The following members have achieved or will achieve significant birthday milestones between 1st January and 30th April 2018.

60 years of ageMartin Briggs
Frank Dunell

Paul Vander Haar
Gary Young
Ian Crowley (70)
Ken Fletcher (70)
Allan Graco (70)
Owen Hegarty (70)
Neil Evans (71)
70 years of age +Ian Crowley (70)
Ken Fletcher (70)
Allan Graco (70)
Owen Hegarty (70)
Neil Evans (71)
Bob Greenwood (71)
Don Gross (71)
Ian Payne (71)
Barbara Cullen (72)
Rex Dale (73)
Keith Gent (73)
Noel Judkins (73)
Lindsay McGie (73)
Darryl Gerlach (74)
Greg Brown (75)
Ray Horsburgh (75)
Terry Rodgers (75)
Ken Forge (76)
Ken Fraser (78)
Ian Graham (78)
Graham Leydin (78)
Max Owen (78)
Ian Shelton (78)
Brian Crowe (79)
Don McKenzie (79)
80 years of age +Barry Mackie (80)
John Welsh (80)
John Birt (81)
Don Carmichael (81)
Rob Gluyas (81)
Kevin Harwood (81)
Colin Hooper (81)
Leo Moloney (81)
Jim Carter (82)
Allan Dunn (82)
Barry Colliver (83)
Kevin Green (83)
Mal Pascoe (85)
Ron Smith (85)
Brian Paine (86)
Fred Gallagher (87)
Sam Chazan (88)
Allan Taylor (89)
90 years of age + Tom Leehane (90)

Bill Stephen (90)
George Goninon (91)
Fred Payne (91)

We wish you all many years of health and happiness.


 Former player Mark Eustice, has established a new registered foundation, called “Break the Ice Australia”. This newly formed foundation has been designed to assist the community to deal with the ongoing issues of drug addiction and associated mental health problems. There is a particular emphasis directed to the rising use of methamphetamine and the devastating scourge that the use of ICE is having in our community.

The program will provide education, prevention and awareness to the community as well as assistance to people who are in desperate need for help-specifically giving them access to rehabilitation programs and will also assist in a transition stage.

The founder, Mark Eustice, has experienced the highs of elite sport (AFL football) and the lows of mental health issues and alcohol and drug addiction. He has also experienced the value of supportive family and friends and the broader football community, a proper rehabilitation program and correct diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues.

In this respect, Mark acknowledges that without the support he received from Greg and Mary Williams, the EFCPP&OA, Richmond Football Club, the Sydney Swans Football Club and the AFLPA, he would not be here now to initiate this new foundation, as he was in desperate need of treatment at that time. With the assistance of the above, he went through a rehabilitation program some 11 years ago and now is determined to assist those people suffering similar problems that he was suffering at that time.

Through a partnership of sponsors, benefactors and government assistance, Break the Ice Australia can provide a much needed service to the community.

Mark has done an outstanding job to bring his life together to the stage he has now developed this fantastic concept, and with the support of Simon Madden and a number of other close associates, he deserves the complete support of our Association to ensure that this program becomes a major success.

Mark would greatly appreciate any assistance from our members in being able to open doors to ensure that adequate finance is available to fund this great program. Mark can be contacted on 0404880606 or email [email protected]


Fergie Speakman a fitness trainer and a member of the club Committee from 1946 to 1975, coached five winners of the Stawell Gift. In 1952, Lance Mann and Norm McDonald missed the first three games of the season to concentrate on foot-racing, which proved worthwhile, as Lance won the Stawell Gift and Norm ran second. Lance also won the Bendigo 1000 that year.

In 1961 the Essendon U19 team had a turnover of 325 pounds, fifteen shilling and 10 pence ($651.60), and included a cost of 52 pounds, 8 shillings ($104.80) for Players Training & Materials. During that year the following players advanced to senior football in later years: John Booth, Barry Davis, Kevin Egan, Graeme Johnston and Charlie Payne.

This year celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Reserve Grade Premiership

In 1915, Cyril Grove showed his wide range of sporting prowess, in that he rode Rippleshot in a hurdle race at Moonee Valley in the morning, played footy for the Bombers in the afternoon and then fought for a Victorian boxing title in the evening. He must have been a mighty athlete!


The AFLPA, through their Collective Bargaining Agreement with the AFL, have launched the most significant benefits for past players in the history of the AFL Players Association, which sees more than $4 million of the players’ share of industry revenue directed into the fund each year.

This fund aims to support players who transition out of the game with career-ending injuries, and those who need longer-term medical support, or suffer illness or financial hardship through retirement.

Through the Lifetime Health Care pillar of the fund, Alumni members can access up to $8,000 to assist with costs of the treatment for joint-related injuries or dental issues stemming from their football careers.

This fund is open to anyone who played at least one AFL/VFL game and is an Alumni member of the AFL Players Association.

A La Trobe University survey identified the following trends:

  • 76% of past players experienced serious injuries in their football careers.
  • 64% of those who reported serious injuries are still affected in daily life by these injuries.
  • 60% of those who reported serious injuries require ongoing treatment for old football injuries.



The Dick Reynolds Club Golf Day held on February 1st at Sandhurst Golf Day was another great day for the Association with $ 11,343 raised for the EFC Past Players Foundation Trust.

Twenty two teams of 4 players competed in the event, including 15 current and past players.

The winner of the event was the team led by Barry Young and included, Brenton Humphreys, Alex O’Brien and Sarah Ongarello , the second placed team was led by Steve Carey and included Chris Mardham, Michael Yeo and Benjamin Yeo. Nearest the pin on hole 3 was won by Chris Mardham, nearest the pin on hole 13 was won by David Norton, the hole in one hole was not achieved, however the nearest to the pin was Craig Thompson,                  the longest drive was won by Trevor Meadows and the putting competition was won by James Esselmont.

A light breakfast was served before tee-off at 8.00am and following the round, a very nice luncheon was served to all of those who competed and assisted in the presentation of the day.

The day was a great day for golf and all participants enjoyed the day,particularly those competing with the likes of Terry Daniher and David Flood, who now plays off scratch.

Andrew McGrath with his team.

We are very grateful to the Dick Reynolds Club Committee for organising this event, and even though the club no longer requires their services, they will continue to run this event in the future for the Association, as this day is essential to assist in growing the EFC Past Players Foundation Trust.

Steve Alessio with his team

The DRC Committee and our Association are very appreciative of the Sponsorship support we receive for the golf day and our special thanks are expressed to: Paul Little, Lyle Meaney, Tim Donohoe, Steve Alessio, Barry Young, Lou Rendina, Joel Reynolds and new sponsors this year, Drummond Golf stores from Frankston and Dandenong.

Barry Young and his winning team.

Without the support of all of these sponsors the event would not be possible to run. We therefore hope that we will continue to receive their support for future golf day events. Steve Alessio, through Alliance Insurance, arranged a new vehicle for a hole in one on one of the par three holes. At the presentations following the event, Steve decided that they would present the closest to the hole a car and presented the winner with a replica dinky toy, to the laughter of all present.

Our Association is also very grateful for the support given by EFC staff, Aysha Ward, Jessica Newman and Gregor McCaskie, as there were many organising issues to attend to on the day which ensured a very successful event.

Terry Daniher and his team.


Kyle Langford talking with Kevin Dale following the luncheon.



Robert Thompson
Years Played                    1968, 1970-71

Games Played                  8

Number worn                   47 & 43

Recruited from                 Castlemaine

What did you do, football wise, following your playing days with Essendon?

Played with Subiaco in the WAFL, Preston in the VFA and then played ten or so games with my brother at Castlemaine before illness forced me to retire.

What job/jobs did you pursue following your playing days, including what you are doing currently?

I worked in aviation for five years before I bought Jim Bradley sport business

Are you still working?  No

Have you suffered with any post football injuries and have any required surgery? No

Do you have any ongoing medical problems?

Nothing serious

What are your thoughts on the modern game, and how would you change any of the areas that you don’t like!

I heard they are cutting the interchanges and I believe that will reduce the congestion somewhat.

Who were your mates in your playing days with Essendon, do you keep in touch?

Laurie Moloney & Ken Fletcher

Who were the players you most admired in your playing days at Essendon?

Jack Clarke, John Birt, Ken Fraser & John Williams

Do you have any comments that you would like to pass on about your time at Essendon?

The coaches and staff were always calm and considerate which allowed the players to strive for success without wasting energy and tirades.


This year celebrates the 35th anniversary of the 1983 Reserves Premiership,beating Collingwood 19.14.128 to 15.9.99.

From this team, Paul Salmon, Mark Thompson, Frank Dunell and Mark Harvey went on to play in Senior Premiership teams in later years.



All past players were invited by the club to attend a first home game pre-match function against Adelaide at the MCG on Friday 23rd March. This has now become an annual event, and all of those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the event and appreciate the support given by the club, as it gives an opportunity to catch up with past players from different eras. The game was even more enjoyable as the team had a great win.


Our Association now has 418 members and with the recent changes made to our Constitution, we are now endeavouring to increase our membership base to 500.

This will mainly be created through Associate members, and we again ask our readers if they can assist in tracking down players in this category, namely Reserve Grade players who did not play 20 reserve Games and U19 Players. If any of our readers know of any players in these categories, it would be appreciated if you could contact Kelvin Steel, the Chairman of our Membership Sub-Committee, on 0419582992 or email kelvin [email protected]

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