By Phil Skeggs

Doug Smyth was held in high esteem by his teammates in Ivanhoe’s 1954 B grade premiership team.

The team’s hardnut ruckman, the late great Reg ‘Mulga’ Miles, spoke highly of the big blond plumber from Reservoir when I asked him about Doug during my early research into the club’s history over 25 years ago.

Doug was the father of a former teammate of mine Phil Smyth, who was also terrific as a mobile tall in our forward line in under 19s and later in A grade seniors.

Reg acknowledged that Doug was a tough player who could look after himself on the ground and he was also a strong mark at centre-half forward.

Doug had won a couple of B&Fs playing for Reservoir before his wife’s brother Ray Sinclair recruited him to Ivanhoe in 1954, aged 25.

The Hoers, coached by Alec Weston and captained by full back  Merv Hughes, were favoured to win the flag after finishing as minor premiers.

According to a finals preview published in The Herald, the Hoers were “too strong in key positions”.

The Sporting Globe, which was considered  the sportsman’s bible, also heaped praise on the Ivanhoe team.

“Ivanhoe, in beating Collegians in the B section semi-final, featured Collingwood football at its best,” it reported.

“The play was built around the small men. The accuracy of the foot and hand-passing would have done credit to a league team.”

They were definitely on the money. Ivanhoe demolished State Bank by 35 points, 10.10 to 4.11, winning our second B grade flag.

Phil said his dad later trained with Collingwood  but decided he wasn’t VFL material.  “He did train at the Pies once but never went back as he said he didn’t see himself there,” said Phil.

Doug got into the building game instead. Among his many developments was the 7-Eleven in Heidelberg.

Doug died in Templestowe on February 28, aged 93. His funeral was held in Ivanhoe on March 9.

The club extends its heartfelt condolences to the Smyth family.


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