Inverloch’s Trevor Steer accepts his Collingwood Football Club Life Membership from club president Eddie McGuire on Tuesday night. …. And inset, Trevor Steer during his Collingwood playing days between 1961 and 1966.
ASIDE from a premiership, Trevor Steer has labelled his presentation of a Collingwood Football Club Life Membership last week as the highest club honour possible for a player.
The Inverloch resident was presented with the coveted Life Membership by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire at the club’s AGM in the MCG’s Olympic Room on Tuesday night.
Steer played 88 matches for the Magpies between 1961 and 1966 – winning the Copeland Trophy as the club’s best and fairest player in 1965.
The prestige of a premiership medallion however managed to avoid him, playing in the Magpies’ losing 1964 and 1966 VFL Grand Finals.
Steer reflected on his career and the honour at the familiar surrounds of the Leongatha Golf Club last week.
“Being in a premiership side would probably be in front of life membership, but I’ll take life membership any day. It is a great honour for me when I look back on my football career,” Steer said.
“It was so pleasing that all of my family could be there on the night.”
The memories of those two losing grand finals still sit with the 75 year-old.
“I would love to be in a premiership team. That’s been with me since 1966 and 1964,” Steer said.
The historic 1966 Grand Final is still remembered by most as St Kilda’s sole premiership triumph, getting the better of the Magpies by one point.
“It was disappointing – frustrating in that we didn’t play well on the day,” Steer said.
“We had beaten St Kilda in the second semi-final by 10 points, they had to play another game and we were fresh.
“We expected to win but played poorly. We had very few winners on the ground and the feeling was if we played anywhere near decent football we would have bolted it in, but we didn’t.
“1964 was the other way round. We played Melbourne in the second semi-final and they beat us by 80 points, then we played Geelong in the preliminary final in a wet day which didn’t suit them.
“We turned up to play against this great Melbourne team and we got done by four points in the last couple of minutes when Neil Crompton kicked a fluke goal.
“I was a goal in each game away from being a dual-premiership player but that’s what happens – that’s football.”
Steer was well versed in the ‘swingman’ role of today, enjoying stints in the forward and back lines, where his height and marking ability were allowed to flourish.
The historic 1966 Grand Final, in which he was vice-captain, was Steer’s last match for Collingwood ending his career at the age of 27.
“My time was up. There were players coming up that were bigger and better than me, Len Thompson in particular went on to win the Brownlow Medal and the club best and fairest five times and Graeme Jenkin was a giant of a man,” Steer said.
“I was a skinny 6 foot 3 and I was struggling all the time against bigger opponents.”
Steer could also be likened to the James Podsiadlys of today – taking five years to reach VFL level after finishing school at Scotch College where he played in the fourth, even fifth, 18.
“I had two years with the University Blacks in the amateurs and my CV there was quite good and Collingwood came asking,” he said.
“I was a school teacher that had been appointed to Wonthaggi so I couldn’t train there but I played in the practice matches.
“The football club organised my transfer back to the city for the five years I played and I got a game straight up.”
After his Collingwood days, Steer coached Wangaratta in the Ovens and Murray League and then Kilsyth before finishing playing at Healesville.
After his brief stint at Wonthaggi, Steer moved back to area to become principal at Mirboo North Secondary in 1985. He has lived in and around the Inverloch area since his retirement in 1992.
A change in the criteria to become a Collingwood Life Member meant that Steer knew his time for the accolade would eventually come.
“Until the last couple of years, the criteria was that you had to play 10 years, but the qualification was recently extended to premiership players and people who have won the Copeland Trophy,” he said.
“I can’t think of any other honour you could get at our club that’s bigger. I am part of a fairly august group now that includes champions of the past and present, ones like Nathan Buckley, Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan.”
After barracking for Essendon as a youngster gripped by the spectacle of John Coleman, who he labels the best player he has seen, Steer has been an ardent Pies fan since his playing days.
“The whole family is passionate – it’s mandatory for the grandchildren to be Collingwood supporters and we agonise over their wins and losses,” Steer said.
“I go to about four or five matches during the year and any finals they play at the MCG.
“I’m hoping they go better this year. There is going to be a lot of competition for places in the team. We have extended the depth of the list with Jesse White and Taylor Adams who are ready made players.”
At his Life Membership induction, the audience was shown a minute-long clip of Steer in action in the days before the drop punt was in vogue.
“I drop kicked the ball and when it was shown people were ‘Ohh the dropkick’,” Steer said.
“We would drop kick, mongrel punt or torpedo and in games they were very hard to mark. The drop punt came in at about the end of my time at Collingwood.
“It made a big difference to my career while I was playing in the minor leagues. Instead of kicking 2.4 I was kicking 5.1 – I perfected kicking for goal with the drop punt.
“If I could have drop punted while I was playing for Collingwood I would kicked a lot more goals (he kicked 45). I used to miss a lot.”