By Phil Skeggs

IVANHOE’S quality new assistant coaches have all voiced enthusiasm and confidence about the club’s 2023 campaign.

The new senior men’s assistant coach is life member Leighton Pearce, the men’s reserves will be coached by a trio of experienced players Tim Constantinou, Jake Steele and Adrian Sargent, and the Ivies have been most fortunate to enlist Essendon AFLW star forward Fede Frew.

Leighton, who has previously coached the Ivies and Under 19s, was a brilliant midfielder and onballer in his playing days. He played 117 senior games in B, C and D grades during the mid to late 1990s and was a runner-up in the seniors B&F.

Seniors assistant coach Leighton Pearce in 2023. Photo: Phil Skeggs

He was also an assistant coach with seniors and reserves under previous Ivanhoe coaches John Matthew and Doni Valkanis.

‘Leights’ is rapt that committee and the selection panel have given him another crack at coaching alongside Wayne Schultzand Ash Close.

“Obviously it’s a wonderful opportunity to work alongside Schultzy, Ash and the team. I’m looking forward to being back coaching at the club that I have loved being part of for the past 30 years,” he said.

“Moving up to Division 1 is a very exciting time for the club and I believe my diligent and competitive coaching style will assist the team continue to compete strongly in season 2023.

“Being reunited with the players I coached in the under 19s who have remained loyal to Ivanhoe is also something I’m excited about.”

Former Ivies champion Fede Frew is stoked about her new role alongside Ivies senior coach Ian Callahan.

Fede Frew, Ivies assistant coach in 2023. Pic courtesy

“I am so excited to be helping out at Ivanhoe for the upcoming season. It was an honour to be asked to come down and be an assistant coach to the club that was the start of my footy journey,” she said.

“As long as I’ve known the club everyone is always so supportive and it’s been awesome to see the continued growth and investment in the Ivies program.

“I can’t wait to help out this year and am so thankful for the opportunity, especially working around my busy schedule, looking forward to meeting some new faces and spending more time at Ivanhoe Park!”

The reserves will benefit from the combined experience of Tim, Jake and Adrian.

Tim has played 54 games for the club since 2018, Jake has run out in 21 games since 2021, and Adrian has notched 22 games since 2019.

The trio has expressed great enthusiasm and understanding about their new role.

“I can’t think of anything more exciting than to take on the Development Squad coaching role alongside ‘Sarge’ and ‘Steelo’ next year and look forward to building on what was a great 2022 season,” said Tim.

“The club has built something very special over the last few years and it is very exciting to think about what the future holds for the playing group and club more widely.

“Not only has the club built a great culture and community here at Ivanhoe Park, but it welcomes players from all walks of life: whether they are learning the game for the first time, coming from another club, returning to the game after a long break, or just coming down for a kick with mates – IAFC welcomes everyone with open arms!

“This is one of the things that makes Ivanhoe so special. We have a great committee, great volunteers, a great playing group, and the club just attracts great people all round.

“I am a firm believer that footy is a metaphor for life and can’t wait to take on 2023 alongside such a great group of people both on and off the field. Bring on 2023!”

Tim, who has played 42 senior games and 12 in reserves mainly in defence, came to IAFC from Old Trinity for the strong junior connections and community at the club after a four-year break from playing footy.

He recalled: ”2018 and ’19 were rough years for the club, losing multiple games by over 100 points, but were years that built a resilience and appetite for success which, under the right conditions (incredible leadership from ‘Moose’, Nick, and Schultzy), made last year’s success all the sweeter. 

“Outside of footy at IAFC, I love a cold-water swim, working on the veggie patch, and can’t resist a good souva – that pretty much sums me up. In terms of footy, it’s about the same: I can’t wait to take the plunge into season 2023 with the boys headfirst, to grow as a group, and grab a souva after.”

Jake, who has played four senior games and 17 in reserves, is pumped for the task ahead too. He said: “Tim, Adrian and myself are super pumped about taking on the role of coaching the development squad. We look forward to building on our finals appearance from last season and the success of the club as a whole!

“It’s important we continue to follow the processes we have built around the club the last couple of years and continue to make Ivanhoe not only successful on the field but making it a place where everyone feels welcome and a part of the club.

“I think this was a great achievement for the club and is a reminder of the value of strong leadership and the rewards of sticking out a challenge as a group and making it through to the other side. This is a lesson I will remember and live by in 2023.”

Adrian, a reserves stalwart, is 100 per cent on the same page as his co-coaches.

“The club has been moving in a positive trajectory for a few years now and we look forward to help keeping that in motion,” he said.

“I believe the group can really draw upon last season’s finals experience and use it as a launchpad to enter the season with confidence.

“There were many players who had their best season at the club last year and we believe if that constant improvement comes from the list we’re in a good position to tackle the season well.

“Tim, Steelo and I can’t wait to get to work and help improve all the players and help them achieve their football goals.”

Club president Peter Rawley outlined committee’s proactive approach to development of players and coaching.

“I’m really proud of what we are developing at Ivanhoe for not only our players, but also our coaches. We continue to think innovatively about how we can support the development of people in their coaching journey and to see them develop new skillsets and grow as people is something that gives us great joy and satisfaction,” he said.

“The club is absolutely thrilled to welcome Leighton back to coaching duties at Ivanhoe in season 2023 and look forward to supporting him in his ongoing development as a coach.

“Leighton has an incredibly impressive record as a coach through under 19s, reserves and as senior coach of our women’s program, so to now see him step into the senior men’s assistant role gives us great confidence that our group will continue to develop under his coaching philosophies. 

“We trialed dual reserves coaches last year with Karl and Jacob and it worked really well, so to be fortunate enough to have three quality people leading our reserves men’s coaching in season 2023 is a wonderful position for our club to be in.

“The club could not be more thrilled in the appointment of Fede as the non-playing assistant coach of the Ivies in season 2023.

“To have one of our own return to the club to support the development of our women’s program, while still playing at the highest level, is an absolute bonus for everyone involved.”

Rawley was especially happy with the ability of the club to attract people back to the club and add to the quality of the coaching program.

“It’s another example of past players of our senior and junior clubs, who have made the elite level, returning to support the development and growth of the next wave of Ivanhoe players,” he said.

“We have a deliberate strategy as a club to provide quality coaching to people within our local area and that starts with quality people like Fede, Ash Close, Wayne Schultz and Scott Selwood who are or have been involved at the highest level.

“We would also like to thank the Ivanhoe Cricket Club and Ivanhoe Junior Football Club for their support and understanding in allowing us to get on Ivanhoe Park for pre-season.

“The respective committees of our two partner tenants have been absolutely fantastic in their support and partnership with us over the past 12 months and I can’t thank them enough in working with us to use the ground and facilities.”Pre-season training resumes for all teams on Mondays and Wednesdays at Ivanhoe Park from January 16, 6.30-8pm. Don’t forget to bring your runners. 😉


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.


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe AFC is well placed for another big season after the committee was re-elected and the club’s healthy financial status confirmed at the AGM on Tuesday night. (November 29)

Pete Rawley is staying at the helm for another year as club president, with Mark Centofanti (vice-president), Ross Toogood(secretary), Liz Valkanis (treasurer), Donny Valkanis (general committee/ food & beverage manager). 

Dual premiership player Nick Godfrey has also joined committee overseeing a new role of HR, Processes & Strategy after opting to hang up the boots and give back to the club after a decade as a player.

Aimee Trew will continue her support of the committee in the role of sponsorship manager after a successful year in 2022.

Liz released the 2022 season financial statement, which shows the club’s bottom line is the strongest it has been in many years.

This included significant increases in sponsorships, bar revenue and some further government grant support. Player subs remained strong despite being discounted 20pc because of a shortened 2021 season and the reduction of player numbers due to fielding just one Ivies team in 2022.

The club boasts 15 individual sponsors and it’s understood some have already approached the club with offers of increased support next season.

“I can’t be thankful enough for our sponsors’ support this year,” said Liz. “We would not be in the position we are now without them.”

Pete thanked Liz for her outstanding financial governance and Aimee, who took over the sponsorships role and has been very active attracting new sponsors.

Underlining the great work done by the social committee, the Big Draw, Life Members’ Lunch and Presentation Night made significant contributions to a stronger bottom line. 

Pete also signalled intentions to grow the Black & Whites coterie group and encourage more past Ivanhoe people back to the club. 

“Whilst this year’s result is outstanding, it costs just under $200,000 to run our little local football club, so we need to get further support to not only survive, but grow,” he said. “The committee is committed to reinvest any financial gains in coaching, equipment, staff and improved facilities in 2023.”

The committee continues to foster closer ties with Ivanhoe Juniors’ committee and coaches to encourage Colts and Youth Women’s team members to consider their playing futures with the senior club.

Pete also expressed thanks to retiring senior assistant coach Nick Carlyon, reserves coaches Karl Kaldawi and Jacob Healy for their fantastic work this year, with the latter pair not ruling out playing next year. Rhiannon Campbell has also indicated that while she can’t continue as Ivies assistant coach, she is keen to keep playing.

The club’s full annual report will be released soon.


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe AFC’s drought-breaking Division 2 premiership mentors have swapped roles for season 2023.

Senior coach Ash Close has accepted a coaching job with Eastern Ranges women’s NAB Cup team, but has committed to remaining as a playing assistant coach for Ivanhoe in Division 1.

Dual D2 best and fairest Wayne Schultz, who has been working as assistant coach (midfield) for Carlton’s AFLW team, has been appointed as senior coach.

Ivanhoe president Peter Rawley said the committee was pleased to retain the Close and Schultz partnership that delivered great results in 2022.

“What Ash has done for our club is immeasurable. Not only did he lead the senior men’s team to their first premiership in 53 years, but he has done this via re-shaping the culture and work ethic of everyone involved,” he said.

Rawley praised Schultz as a “natural leader and an amazing teacher of the game”.

“You only have to look at Wayne’s decorated CV, inclusive of back-to-back VAFA competition B&F medals in the past two seasons, to understand he is a great player. But what external people don’t see is that Wayne is an amazing teacher of the game, something that Ash has had at his disposal over the past couple of years to fast-track the development of our playing group.”

Schultz, who was named in the centre in the VAFA’s D2 Team of the Year and best-on-ground in the grand final, said he was looking forward to coaching Ivanhoe.

“We have an outstanding bunch within this playing group and I’m looking forward to working with everyone once again,” he said.

“Ash Close has done a superb job with his role as coach and he has certainly set incredible foundations for us since his return to the club. This has allowed for such a smooth coaching transition to take place into next season and I thank Ash for that.”

Close is rapt to continue his partnership with Schultz at Ivanhoe and has no qualms about passing the baton as coach.

Close, who scored 71 goals in 13 games this year, was named by the VAFA as the coach and full-forward in the D2 Team of the Year. He is keen to play a full season in 2023.

“I plan to keep playing as long as my body will let me. I’ve always believed you are forever retired so I’m keen to keep going when work allows me to play. I’m also looking forward to taking less of a role game day and focusing more on playing and coaching the forwards,” he said.

It was a tough decision for him to leave Collingwood, where he was forwards development coach this year. But he’s excited by the prospect of coaching the Eastern Ranges Under 19 girls.

“I’ve always had a strong passion for development – whether it be at Ivanhoe or Collingwood – and I’m looking forward to a new challenge working in the NAB league with the Eastern Ranges Under 19 girls,” he said.

“Obviously it was sad to leave Collingwood after 10 years of work but I’ve made lifetime friends and left on really great terms and plan to stay in touch with everyone. I’m sure you’ll still see the Ivanhoe-Collingwood relationship continue.”

The Hoers are also seeking another senior assistant coach to replace Nick Carlyon, who has stepped away from coaching after four years in the role to spend more time with his family.


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs mourns the passing of premiership player and life member Graham Linley, who died at Mount Martha on Sunday night, aged 80.

‘Linells’ as he was known, played his 100th game during the 1969 season when the Hoers won a B grade flag.

He played on the half-back flank and is remembered as a talented left footer with flair and dash.

“Linells was a beautiful long-ranging kick and had plenty of flair and dash,” teammate Don Blackwood recalled.

“He was a good team man. Loved a laugh and was cheeky with his teammates. And he was so reliable in all facets of the club.”

Russ Knight recalled that Graham began as a forward and was a member of our 1962 reserves premiership team. “I’ve never known a bloke who was more talkative on the field – he was always talking up his teammates,” said Russ.

After hanging up the boots post-1970 season, Graham was awarded life membership and got involved with committee.

He worked as a proof reader at The Age and also took on the role of club correspondant filing match reports and social notes to the Amateur Footballer.

In 1976, Graham arranged for an article and photo to appear in the Sporting Globe when Dave Berry played his then record 250th game for the club.

Graham also served variously as vice-president, minutes secretary and club bingo volunteer in 1977-79. He also rolled up his sleeves to help as team manager and runner for the Under 19s in 1977. 

Graham happily attended the 50th anniversary reunion of the 1969 premiership team in the clubrooms in August 2019, despite his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.

The club extends its condolences to Graham’s family and ex-wife Jan.  A funeral will be held at Blair Chapel tomorrow (Thursday November 10) at 12.15pm at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.


By Ross Toogood

The Black & Whites coterie group held their annual Harry Dinner last night at Lucille Bistro in East Ivanhoe where they announced Premiership Senior Men’s captain, Danny Jones, as this years Harry Award winner.

Rob Pearce spoke glowingly of Danny and his work with our club, highlighting some traits of Danny’s “Faithfulness, Honesty and Reliability.”

“Along with faithfulness comes loyalty…with honesty comes fairness, morality and decency…along with reliability comes dependability and consistency” Rob added. “Every game you play Danny you are true to yourself and our club…those who have been honoured in the past 15 years are so proud that you are noted on our shield.”

Being the captain of a Premiership winning team is a tough thing to achieve, having done it in 2014 as co-captain of our U19 premiership and now as a drought-breaking Senior captain, Danny is a more than worthy winner!

Both President Pete Rawley and Men’s Senior coach Ash Close shared their thanks, thoughts and feelings on an amazing year. It was evident this is just the beginning of their plans for our club.

Bring on 2023!


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe’s finest were acknowledged in style at the club’s presentation night before a full house in the clubrooms on Thursday (September 22).

MCs Peter Rawley and Ross Toogood had the 150-plus crowd at fever pitch as they counted out votes from the final few rounds for each of our four teams.

With our cherished Men’s seniors and Thirds premiership cups prominently displayed beneath the big screen, coaches praised their champions and teammates roared approval.

The Hec Rutherford Medal for best senior men’s player went to Connor O’Brien, capping off an outstanding season on the wing after finishing third last year and second in 2019.

Senior men’s coach Ash Close was acknowledged with the Best Finals Player award for his brilliance in front of goals, top-scoring with five goals in the Division 2 grand final and eight in the semi-final. 

The Ida Marcon Medal for best women’s player went to Rhiannon Campbell, who was also the Ivies leading goalkicker.

The Colin McDonald Medal for best men’s reserves player was awarded to bustling onballer Michael Walsh, who also scored 15 goals. The Thirds B&F was won by gutsy onballer Liam Ward.

Two of our most enthusiastic players who regularly helped with other off-field duties – Jim Leahy and Aimee Trew – were special award recipients.

Seventeen players who achieved significant games milestones were also presented with medallions.

Two players who finished on top in competition goalkicking – Billy Drake (Men’s Div 2) and Ben Cococcia (Thirds, Div 4) were presented with medallions at the VAFA awards night on Wednesday (September 21), along with Wayne Schultzwho won the Div 2 B&F for the second year in a row.  

A hearty congratulations to all award recipients. We look forward to seeing everyone back at ’Hoe Park in the new year.

Award recipients:

Senior Men’s: B&F Connor O’Brien (97 votes), 2nd Michael Doyle (86 votes), 3rd Danny Jones (76 votes). Leading goalkicker Billy Drake (59 goals – 61 including finals), Best finals player Ash Close, Coaches award Nick Godfrey.

Ivies: B&F Rhiannon Campbell (105 votes), 2nd Emilia Bisogni (95 votes), 3rd Molly Uwland (87 votes). Leading goalkicker Rhiannon Campbell (4 goals), Coaches award Abbey Marcuccio.

Men’s Reserves: B&F Michael Walsh (93 votes), 2nd Sam Franklyn (61 votes), 3rd James Pititto (51 votes). Leading goalkicker Karl Kaldawi (26 goals), Best finals player Sam Franklyn, Coaches award Jack Delmo.

Thirds: B&F Liam Ward (98 votes), 2nd Ben Wiggins (78 votes), 3rd Flynn Bergman (59 votes). Leading goalkicker Ben Cococcia (52 goals – 63 including finals), Best finals player Ben Wiggins, Coaches award Jacob Vidajic.

John Miles award (best clubman) Jim Leahy

Tim Robinson award (Inter club liaison) Aimee Trew


By Phil Skeggs

One of the last surviving members of Ivanhoe’s legendary 1956 A-grade premiership team Ian Anderson has died, aged 88.

Ian played in the centre for the Hoers in our only A grade flag in the VAFA – an achievement he was very proud of.

The team had depth, talent and a good deal of natural aggression and were considered giantkillers by rival A grade clubs.

The Hoers finished minor premiers and the grand final was played against an equally battle-hardened district outfit, Coburg Amateurs, at Elsternwick Park on September 8.

Ian, whose nickname was Mick, was best-on-ground for his heroics in the middle during the second half. The Hoers lost by one point, but under the VAFA rules minor premiers were entitled to exercise a right of challenge.

The replayed grand final at Moorabbin Oval on September 15 was played in front of a crowd of 3000. It was another cliff-hanger and Ian was again among our finest in a come-from-behind 8-point victory.

Teammate Lloyd Williams, who starred at centre-half back and was club B&F in 1956, was a mate  going back to their days at Ivanhoe Primary School together with other premiership team members John Miles and Ted Holberry

“He (Ian) was a good kick of the ball and he always played team football,” Lloyd recalled yesterday. (September 9)

“Ian was a loyal person – he didn’t take potshots at people – and he was very loyal to the Ivanhoe football club.”

Ian was a member of our 1953 Under 19 premiership team. He was awarded the Most Consistent Player trophy at the end of the 1956 premiership season. He played 120 games and was awarded life membership in 1963, which was his last season.

He also served on committee in 1963-65, helping with special fundraising efforts.

Ian also liked to attend past player functions with his old teammate Phil Jones, who played in the 1953 Under 19s premiership and the 1954 B grade premiership. Phil died in July and Ian was too ill to visit the club for the Life Members’ luncheon on August 13.

Ian died peacefully at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital on Thursday (September 8).

The club extends its condolences to Ian’s wife of nearly 66 years Wilma, their children Christine and David, grandchildren Corrinne and Kyle, and great-grandchild Jaz.

His funeral will be held at Tobin Brothers at 816 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster on Wednesday September 21, starting at 2pm. The funeral will also be webcast for those who cannot make it. Simply click here.

Life members’ board – Ian Anderson


By Phil Skeggs

I must preface this next citation for Vin Sammartino with an admission that I rarely got to see him play during most of the ’80s because I was either working interstate, travelling overseas, or covering Brisbane’s first few seasons in the AFL.

So I’ve had to rely on the recollections of other clubmen for Vin’s back story.

He has been variously described to me as a “man-boy” and a “lean young bull” when he was playing Under 17s back in 1982.

The next year (1983) Vin bypassed the Under 19s – the traditional stepping stone to senior footy – and had a crack at seniors in A grade.

He had a bloody initiation in his first practice match against Eastern league club East Ringwood.

I’m told Vin bravely tried to bullock his way through a pack of opposition players and emerged with his eye split from side to side.

That didn’t deter this “lightning quick” young colt from East Ivanhoe and he quickly established a reputation as a “good, strong hard-hitting half-back flanker” who delivered “massive kicks”.

The club yo-yoed between A and B grades for most of the ’80s, and it was a top standard of footy with plenty of talented competition for senior spots too.

In 1987 Vin played D grade with his old school club St Kevin’s, and finished equal fourth in the comp B&F.

Thankfully he returned to us, albeit a bit older and heavier, and was versatile enough to go forward or play midfield. In racing parlance, he was a heavy track specialist … and as many of you know Ivanhoe Park could get pretty muddy.

In 1991-92, he wore no. 11 playing in C grade under the late Kel Shaw.

In a practice match one year, he was hell bent on wearing his favourite jumper no.11.  Unfortunately, that jumper was a bit small and Vin had to squeeze into it.

As the team ran onto the ground, club captain John ‘Freezer’ Freeman, who was a bit of a wag, said to the group: “Look at ‘Brackets’ here guys!!”  ()

Vin wore number 12 the following year (1993).

When Doug Gott was appointed senior coach in 1995, Vin was appointed chairman of selectors and worked alongside assistant coach John Matthew.

The trio had a keen understanding of the game and got the seniors to the C grade grand final, winning promotion to B grade. Vin stayed on in the role alongside Gott in 1996 when the club consolidated in B.

Off the field, Vin was popular with teammates and a regular at social functions, loving gambling nights such as Crown & Anchor organised by the legendary Reg “Mulga’’ Miles.

All up, Vin played some 178 games between 1983-94 and when you factor in his off-field involvement in the mid-90s, he was well qualified for life membership.

He’s probably not a familiar face to younger club members. Vin headed up a business with some 500 employees so he didn’t always have time to be around the club.

He’s also a mad Collingwood fan and passionate about horse racing. In fact, he’s been a part-owner of three Melbourne Cup winners and 12 Group 1 winners.

But it’s a safe bet Vin’s a dyed-in-the-wool Hoer and loves to catch up with old teammates at reunions. Without further ado, it’s with great pleasure we welcome Vin Sammartino as a Life Member of the Ivanhoe AFC.

Vin Sammartino (right) with President Pete Rawley after being inducted as a Life Member of the club. Photo – Phil Skeggs


By Phil Skeggs

Ben Joyce played about 115 games between 1994 and 2004, mainly in B, C and D grades.

I don’t think I’m speaking out of school here when I say Joycey was never as gifted as some of his close mates who joined us from Parade, such as four-time B&F Paul Harris and dual B&F Peter Flynn.

I never saw him take monster hangers like Fido, but then I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else time their leaps as perfectly as Fido anyway.

But give Joycey his dues – he certainly had safe hands and if he got front pozzie he was a hard man to beat. Most endearingly, he could seriously roost a ball and was a highly accurate kick for goal.

He could also be a bit of a human wrecking ball on occasions. He arguably saved his best for last in the 2004 D2 first semi-final against Old Geelong at Central Reserve, Waverley.

Early in the third quarter, Joycey crashed a three-way marking contest between gun defender Colin Brown and an OGS player named Betts … and it was absolute carnage!

“Woofer” Brown came off groggy with a cut to the back of the head and took no further part in the match. Betts was knocked out and play was held up for 10 minutes until he was carried off on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.

Coach John Matthew moved Joycey to full forward after that and he promptly bagged a couple of quick goals to get us back into the game.

Now Joycey has a wry sense of humour, but when I told him post-match that Betts was KO’d but otherwise not seriously hurt, he replied with a grin: “That’s the best possible outcome.”

By a happy coincidence, after Big Ben called time on his playing days, his  younger brother Matt replaced him in the reserves in ’05 and Matt proved an equally prolific goalkicker.

Ben Joyce’s association with the club doesn’t end there. He returned as treasurer between 2014 and 2018, which were pretty tough years financially.

He was also vice-president in 2018 when the club was going through a real rough patch.

He was jointly awarded the John Miles Award for best clubman at the end of 2018, when he passed the treasurer’s baton to Kate McKendrick.

That amounts to 15 seasons he was actively involved. He is well overdue for this acknowledgement of his services – on and off the field. This life membership is our way of saying “Thank-you Benny”.

Ben Joyce (right) with President Pete Rawley after being inducted as a Life Member of the club. Photo – Phil Skeggs