STORIES from the Leongatha Football Netball Club’s glory era of 1977-1982 were recounted at a club reunion on Saturday.
The Parrots won three of four grand finals during that period, a time teams since are yet to emulate, with seniors premierships in 1977, 1979 and 1982.
Players and officials from the club’s seniors and reserves premierships of 1979 and seniors premiership of 1989 gathered for lunch ahead of the home game against Sale.
The 1979 seniors premiership team was remembered as one of the best sides the club has ever fielded, with stars on every line of the ground.
Those were the words of then player Tim Maxwell at a club reunion on Saturday to celebrate the Parrots’ 1979 seniors and reserves premierships, and also the seniors’ flag of 1989.
The club’s Cameron Kindellan told the crowd at the Leongatha clubrooms: “…’77 to ’82 was an era that we played in four grand finals and won three.”
The 1979 seniors side featured the likes of Yarram brothers, midfielders Wayne and Peter Lynch, former Hawthorn player Ross Johnson on the backline, a three-time seniors best and fairest winner in Maxwell, Dennis Hogan from MDU and the Salmon brothers: Ian (a former Footscray player), Graeme and Clive, all under the leadership of captain-coach Neville Stone.
“It was a big thing to play the big boys of Gippsland,” Stone said.
Leongatha players left town to a string of streamers hanging from posts and trees in Parrots’ colours, letting them know their community was behind them.
The seniors were buoyed by the reserves’ win, and the game was televised for all to see.
“Traralgon was the favourite to win even though we beat them by five points in the semi,” Stone said.
While Leongatha players were confident of a win, they were surprised by the extent of their victory: 21.23.149 to 10.12.72.
“We had a good nucleus of local guys who had played here through their juniors and some good guys who joined us from the Alberton league,” Stone said.
Paul Goss, then just 17, booted four goals and Tim Nuttall was named best on ground.
Chris Howard replaced the injured Clive Salmon 10 minutes into the third quarter, sealing Howard’s status as the only player to play every game that season.
Howard recalled how Wayne Lynch booted three goals, three behinds to advance the Parrots’ attack.
“It was a big crowd. Traralgon was coached by Peter Hall at that stage and they were equal favourites. The atmosphere was electrifying,” Howard said.
Leongatha had recruited solidly to maximise its chances of winning the flag and had turned to surrounding leagues to source the cream of the crop, with Peter Saurerberg coming from Glen Alvie.
The victorious Parrots returned to Leongatha for a civic reception on the steps of Memorial Hall and a McCartin Street packed with well wishers.
The Parrots reserves triumphed also over Traralgon, to claim their first premiership in the Latrobe Valley league, 12.17.89 to 12.9.81.
In 1989, coach Colin Boyd led the seniors to victory over Maffra by just two points to deny Maffra its last chance to win a premiership in the Gippsland League that century.
Three premierships and counting