By Phil Skeggs
Ivanhoe AFC was saddened to learn of the recent death of legendary premiership onballer and clubman David Berry. Dave was a life member and won the seniors B&F in 1971. One of many quality recruits from Northcote High during the 1960s, Dave initially started in our under 19s in 1961.
In 1966 at age 21 Dave was a regular in the seniors and played in the B grade grand final. He was vice-captain and second rover in the 1969 B grade premiership team. Dave kicked two goals and was named among our best players in the 21-point victory. He was later awarded a trophy for Most Determined at presentation night.
He was recognised with the seniors’ Most Reliable trophy in 1970 and also awarded life membership.
He also played in the 1977 B grade reserves premiership team.
Dave’s longevity as a player was legendary. In 1976 he created a new club record, becoming the first to ever surpass the 250-game milestone. When he hung up the boots, he had amassed 283 games, which was a long-standing club record that Colin McDonald and club president Peter Rawley eventually overtook. Dave is fourth on the club’s games record tally nowadays.
He was named on the interchange in our Team of the Century in 2003.
Dave also put much time and effort into committee work. He began as the players’ representative in 1976 and was a vice-president in 1978. He was also chairman of the recruiting and training sub-committee. His then partner Lana Berry served for many years on the ladies committee and was awarded life membership for her work. Their daughter Sharon and son Scott were also involved in the club, helping in the canteen, selling raffle tickets, and boundary umpiring. By 1984, he was serving on the club’s board of directors and was also coaching our under 13s.
Dave attended reunions of the 1969 premiership team, making the trip from Healesville to Ivanhoe Park for the 50thanniversary luncheon in 2019.
Dave, whose nickname was Solid, is remembered by former teammates as a tough competitor with a penchant for drop-kicks.
Close mate Ralph Bourke recalled: “He had the best and most accurate drop-kick in the club and most likely the whole comp.”
Teammate Don Blackwood said: “The No.8 was always in the opposition’s face and burrowing in and under whether roving, half-forward or in the centre.
“Together with captain Bill McWhinnie, they were a tough double at ground level. Dave was VC to Bill in the 1969 B section premiership team.
“David loved drop-kicking for goal from way out regardless of the muddy ground at ‘Hoeland. He had much success.
“He made a significant contribution off the field after finishing his career. And he was a regular attender at past players’ functions. He will be missed.”
Dave was also highly regarded as a breeder and trainer of german shepherds.
He died peacefully in Healesville on Friday December 23, aged 77.
The club extends its condolences to Dave’s partner Carla and his family.
His funeral will be held at Heritage Pioneer Chapel, 1414 Koo Wee Rup Rd, Woori Yallock, on Wednesday January 4, starting 11am. Teammates Ralph Bourke and Robin Hick will be delivering a eulogy.