By Tayla Kershaw
AFTER becoming the first trio to score 100 goals in the same VFL season, three of the game’s greats were photographed in a Melbourne pub in 1970.
The opportunity to reunite them and recreate the iconic image was one that could not be passed up by Leongatha author Dr Dan Eddy.
Describing the experience as a “career highlight” and “childhood thrill”, Dan’s determination to bring the three together turned into a year-long struggle as the world was shaken by COVID-19.
“My mate (Brad Koetsveld) and I had the idea to bring them together. We weren’t sure how difficult it was going to be,” he said.
“I had written my PhD on Alex Jesaulenko, so I knew him through that. Peter Hudson’s son Paul was a former coach at Leongatha, but I didn’t know Peter McKenna.
“We were desperate to get it done before the start of the season. We knew there would be a lot of interest from footy supporters – these were three popular players in AFL history. On the eve of the day we had organised it, the virus broke.”
With the three men living in Melbourne, the plan was put on hold. It was set in motion again once restrictions eased, but the second lockdown caused another halt.
“My fear was we were going to miss it. I was resigned to the fact it wasn’t going to happen,” Dan said.
“When we returned to some kind of normality, we tried again, and they were quick to respond.”
The original photo depicts the men playing pool.
Dan and Brad had them pose exactly as they did 50 years ago, right down to the placement of the billiard balls.
“It was amazing to see the three guys walk in. They were rapt to see each other,” Dan said.
“They told jokes and shared stories about kicking their 100th goal that year.”
All photos taken on the day were by Dan’s aunt Yvonne Appleyard.
These photos are available for purchase on Dan’s website.
“I try to do things like this with my friends and family, so I was rapt to take my mate and aunt,” Dan said.
“I’ve had good feedback. Carlton is looking to do something on its website and the Hawks’ museum might do something as well. The South Gippsland community has always been supportive of what I do as well.”
To read more about the history of the photograph and Dan’s firsthand experience meeting with Hudson, Jesaulenko and McKenna, head to Dan’s website at daneddybooks.com.
Dan is still as busy as ever with more projects on the go.
“This will probably find its way into Peter Hudson’s biography, which will hopefully be finished in a year or so. I’m still working on convincing Jesaulenko to write his book,” he said.
“Hopefully, there will be other opportunities to recreate more memories.”