30 October


The club held the 2020 AGM on Wednesday night which included the announcement of the 2021 Committee. The committee is relatively unchanged but with Dom Mitchell replacing Pete Rawley as Vice President. Thanks to Pete for his hard work, but thankfully he isn’t going far, he will be taking on some roles in the football department. Alongside President Rob Pearce, the other Vice President Kate McKendrick and Dom, is a number of stalwarts of the club. Click here for a full list of the 2021 committee.

Whilst we have a wonderful committee in place, we would love others to join, especially to represent the Ivies. If any Ivies players have a family member who would love to join the general committee please get in touch with Rob Pearce. We would also love someone to fill the Secretary role. Rob’s number is 0438 378 348.

25 September


The IAFC Committee are excited to announce the re-appointment of our Senior Mens coaches Ash Close and his assistant Nick Carlyon for Season 2021.

Senior Coach Ash Close in our Practice Match earlier this year. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Senior Assistant Nick Carlyon in action in 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Having welcomed Ash back to the club as Senior Coach for 2020, he brought an amazing amount of knowledge and positivity with him. His coaching style was clear to all during pre-season and the one practice match, giving the players a voice whilst educating them, it was terrific.
It was fantastic news at the end of 2019 when Nick agreed to work with Ash as his Senior Assistant coach in 2020. Having been at the club in 2019 and forming fantastic relationships with the players, it was a big win for the club.
We are so pleased to have these two guys on board, leading our players in 2021. We can’t wait to pre-season to begin, whenever that is, so these two can continue what they started nearly 12 months ago.

29 June


During this strange year, the lock down provided the club with some fantastic new material for our Picture Trove, through the sharing of memories by past players and supporters on social media. Our diligent historian Phil Skeggs contacted these people and collected 12 new pictures for our trove. Ranging from a 1977 grand final banner to the first ever win by the Ivies in 2017, it has provided memories in that time period we didn’t have. Thank you to all those who shared these pictures. Take a look here! (p.s. we’d love more, contact details at the top of the Trove page).

1977 Under 19 grand final banner with life member Betty Warry (right), pic courtesy Phil Skeggs

Phil has also managed to find 2 more past players to add to our list of IAFC players to play at the highest level (VFL/AFL) and 2 former coaches to have played at VFL/AFL level. Please take a look to see what an amazing connection and influence IAFC has had on the VFL/AFL! Click here to check out the list!

4 April


We’re all going through a lot of challenges, changes and unknowns right now (things have changed even since this letter was written). One thing we do know is that we have a caring, committed and inspiring coach. Hear from our wonderful coach, Ash Close, who brings such a positive mindset, by clicking here.

29 March


Phil Skeggs, Ivanhoe AFC media officer, at presentation night in 2018.

Ivanhoe’s long-time media officer Phil Skeggs has been recognised with a Certificate of Merit award by the VAFA.

Phil was one of seven long-serving club and association volunteers to be honoured by the VAFA on March 26.

The award will be presented at a later date after the league cancelled its 2020 season launch because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Phil, 60, is only the ninth Ivanhoe volunteer to receive the award, which is for long-serving club and association volunteers.

His involvement with Ivanhoe Amateurs spans 50 years. As a primary schoolboy at East Ivanhoe who grew up on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe Amateurs was his local club.

Phil did all the usual things – ran boundary, scoreboard, goal umpired – for a pie and a drink. And with a few of his mates, he would watch some of the top amateur footballers of the era playing at Ivanhoe.

By the time he was in fifth grade, Phil and his mates were playing for the school team and were invited to train with Ivanhoe’s under 15s by one of their favourite teachers Ken Hamilton, a long-serving committeeman whom Phil later nominated for a Certificate of Merit on behalf of committee in 1998.

Phil played in Ivanhoe’s junior teams until 1975 and returned to play under 19s in 1977-78. Ivanhoe’s under 19s, coached by life members David Bartlett and Andrew Ireland, were minor premiers and grand finalists in Junior Section 1 in 1977.

Phil Skeggs as an Ivanhoe under 19 in 1977

After a few years on the Gold Coast where he reported and commentated local football on 2MW, Phil returned to Melbourne for work at the Herald & Weekly Times, covering Brisbane’s first few seasons in the AFL for Brisbane Telegraph.

Phil later joined The Sun newspaper and returned to supporting Ivanhoe. In 1995 he accepted an invitation from former teammate and club president John Sampson to join the club’s committee.

Phil began by organising club luncheons and trivia nights, but his core roles since 1995 have been press and publicity, as well as documenting the club’s proud history since foundation in 1910.

His match reports to local papers have been a constant and earned him three press correspondent awards from the VAFA and a club life membership.

Phil’s voluntary work evolved in step with changes in the media over this period.

It started with hand-typed match reports, live-to-air community radio reports,  pioneering a live grand final match broadcast with Harry Beitzel on 96.5 InnerFM in 1995, and a two-year stint hosting The Ammos Show on InnerFM with another Ivanhoe CoM recipient Don Blackwood in the late 1990s.

Phil produced a popular weekly club newsletter The Hoer from 2001 for several seasons. When the .com era arrived, the club established a website and Phil’s articles were regularly posted, helping to broaden the club’s support base.

Ivanhoe’s newsworthy snippets and pics would sometimes find their way into the sports columns of the Herald Sun where he worked as a senior reporter, night chief of staff and sub-editor. More recently his items have appeared in the Amateur Footballer’s For The Love Of The Game column and the VAFA website.

Digital photography provided Phil with another medium and he became the club’s match photographer and occasional videographer in 2007. His images have documented the life of this club – on and off the field – for the best part of 12 seasons.

In 2015, Ivanhoe’s coterie group the Black & Whites presented Phil with its prestigious Harry Award, named in honour of long-time club administrator the late Harry Thomas, in recognition of his extensive voluntary work.

In 2017 season, Phil accepted an invitation to be a Leader Newspapers contributor covering not just Ivanhoe’s fortunes, but also several other VAFA clubs across eight suburban mastheads. Many of his reports and photos are also published online on the Herald Sun Local Footy web page.

He remains an active administrator of Ivanhoe’s Facebook pages and his weekly match posts include hundreds of carefully edited images.

At the end of 2018 season Phil was highly commended for his work in the VAFA Media awards and was short-listed in two categories again last season.

Ivanhoe Amateurs and the VAFA have enjoyed a top media profile in the city’s northeast for the best part of 25 years because of Phil’s work.

It’s a little known fact that Ivanhoe was instrumental in establishing the Certificate of Merit awards in 1976.

According to life member Don Blackwood, the VAFA executive was looking for a way to properly recognise long-time club volunteers who had also contributed in a meaningful way to the broader amateur footballing community.

Phil Skeggs (centre) with club stalwarts Robert Moszkowicz (left) and Don Blackwood in 2014. Pic: ED PAYNTER

Ivanhoe framed a submission for the Certificate of Merit, which was subsequently ratified by the VAFA executive.

Don’s father John (Jack) Blackwood, who had been a long-time committee member at Ivanhoe, was among the first recipients in 1976, aged 83.

Since then, there have been several Ivanhoe stalwarts honoured with this award. They are: Ida Marcon (1981), John Miles (1986), Harry Thomas (1987), Ken Hamilton (1998), Reg Miles (1999), Don Blackwood (2001) and Rob Pearce (2012). For a full list of VAFA Certificate of Merit recipients, go to:


“Difficult times” greatly understates our situation and staying at home is a very small price to pay. My thoughts have been for some time now with those whose livelihoods are threatened.

We are blessed with very special people who make significant contributions to our Ivanhoe Amateur Football Club and right now may be struggling. I’m going to suggest we get in touch in some way and ask them if there is anything we can do to assist them through this horrid time. Let’s show our own that we care for them.

Go safely dear friends

Rob Pearce

15 March


By Phil Skeggs

The Ivanhoe Ivies are expanding to two teams in 2020. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

The Ivanhoe Ivies women’s football team will field a second side in the VAFA’s Division 4 this season.

Since Ivanhoe Amateurs entered a women’s team in the VAFA in 2017, the growth in popularity and player development has been outstanding.

Over pre-season, the Ivanhoe Park-based club has had so many young women wanting to pull on the boots it decided to make a special request to the VAFA to field an extra team in 2020.

Ivanhoe president Rob Pearce said the club was thrilled to get confirmation from the league late last week.

“The numbers grew so swiftly that we just had to face the VAFA with our application that although the fixtures were announced, we could not be part of a club that saw 15 to 20 ladies miss a game every week,” he said.

“The thought of losing all these players to another club or even worse losing them to football altogether was something we weren’t willing to be a part of.

“I certainly want to thank the VAFA for their willingness to help and their understanding of our situation.”

The Ivies’ senior team are expected to be strong contenders in Division 1 this season, with coach Leighton Pearce once again at the helm. Ivies player Ashton Bridge has been appointed as assistant coach.

The club is keen to hear from anyone interested in coaching and volunteering off-field support for the Ivies’ seconds team. Call Leighton Pearce on 0402 421653 or Rob Pearce on 0438 378348.

The VAFA season begins on April 4 – the women’s teams playing 14 rounds with finals in early August.

The Ivanhoe men’s team is also shaping up for a big season under new playing coach Ash Close, who was previously at Collingwood VFL and Northcote Park.

Close has been busy on the recruiting front, with up to half the seniors team comprising fresh faces at their first practice match against EFNL club Warrandyte on March 14.

In another club-first, Ivanhoe has three home games under lights in the first four rounds.

All three home fixtures will feature the Ivies playing the first match at 1pm. The reserves will come on after the Ivies, with the seniors starting at 6pm in Round 1 (on April 4 vs West Brunswick), Round 2 (on April 18 vs Powerhouse) at 6.45pm, and Round 4 (on May 2 vs Yarra Old Grammarians) at 6pm.

The club has scheduled a player reunion night for the Round 2 game on April 18. The cost is $20 per person, $30 for a couple, finger food is provided and drinks will be at bar prices.

26 January


By Phil Skeggs

AFL legends Robert Harvey and Anthony Rocca will be pulling on the pads as guest stars in a T20 match under lights at Ivanhoe Park on Sunday February 16. The match is being hosted by Ivanhoe footballers and cricketers to raise funds for Victoria’s bushfire relief efforts.

Robert Harvey in action for St Kilda. Pic courtesy The Daily Telegraph.

Anthony Rocca taking a grab for Collingwood. Pic courtesy Collingwood Forever website.

The match will be officiated by VSDCA umpires and feature a video review system, which will allow supporters of the two teams to try and outbid each other for lbw dismissals to be overturned.

Ivanhoe Saints president Mark Dixon is confident the cricketers can prevail and encouraged people to get along early. “It’s a good cause and a bit of fun, but it could be a one-sided game,” he joked.

Ivanhoe Amateurs president Rob Pearce said he expected the footballers – male and female – would be more than a challenge given that some also played both sports.

It is the first time the Hoers have joined their co-tenants for a charity event and it’s hoped local residents will also show their support.

“We’re a community club and this is all about giving locals a chance to contribute to the bushfire relief effort and also enjoy the fun of a unique T20 game at our excellent facilities under lights,” said Pearce.

The fund-raiser  begins at 5pm and residents are encouraged to donate a gold coin as entry fee. Food and drinks will be available, along with auction items to bid on. All proceeds will be donated to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Harvey, a dual Brownlow medallist and senior assistant coach at Collingwood, played 383 games for St Kilda between 1988-2008. He represented Victoria eight times and was selected as an All-Australian eight times.

He is the grandson of former Australian Test cricketer Merv Harvey and grandnephew of Neil Harvey, who was Australia’s leading run-scorer and century-maker behind Don Bradman.

Rocca played 220 games for Collingwood between 1997-2009, kicking 404 goals, and 22 games for Sydney in 1995-96. He is Collingwood’s defensive development coach.

For more information, contact IAFC president Rob Pearce on 0438 378348 or Ivanhoe Saints CC president Mark Dixon on 0423 395699

13 January


By Phil Skeggs and Brendon O’Brien

MEMBERS of Ivanhoe’s 1982 and ’84 grand final teams are mourning a much respected teammate, Darryl Hoare.

‘Hoarey’, 63, died at Epworth Hospital on January 9 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Darryl Hoare in 84

Darryl played his junior footy at Ivanhoe, captaining the under 15s and under 17s before graduating to the seniors when the club was a powerhouse in VAFA’s A and B grades during the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Darryl, a teacher,  terrorised opposition players with his straight line and fearless attack on the ball, which was doubly terrifying as he stood a fraction over 189cm and weighed about  95kg.

He played in the club’s 1976 B grade reserves premiership and was a member of Paul Stevens’ and later Alan Salter’s uncompromising, highly talented and tough as nails backline of the early ’80s, which included Billy Baker, Robert Field, Paris Aristotle, Greg Cameron, Glen Simmondson and Tony Course (father of club captain James Course).

There are so many stories of Darryl’s exploits on the field, including kicking the winning goal in the B grade reserves grand final and an A grade seniors clash at Elsternwick Park against De La Salle OC, where their captain foolishly chose to run at him at full flight and was stretchered from the field as a consequence of the collision.

Tony Course, who played off half-back alongside Darryl in juniors and seniors, recalled Hoarey always had an extra gear to give and an incredible determination to win.

“He was always at his absolute best when the game was there to be won,” he said. “In a close encounter I could always look across and know that Darryl would be at his toughest and  beating his opponent.”

Ivanhoe finished minor premiers in the 1982 season, and Darryl, aged 26, was among the Hoers’ finest in a hard-fought, 15-point win over second-placed Old Melburnians in the 2nd semi-final.

The Amateur Footballer profiled every player in the B grade grand final preview. Ivanhoe’s big back pocket, wearing no.35, was described as: “Dazzling Darryl as he is known when he streams from the backline with the ball tucked under his arm. A very tough defender who would run through a brick wall if necessary. A most reliable player and highly regarded by his teammates.”

Darryl was also held in great regard at Banyule football club, where he played in a C grade premiership in 1986, and at West Preston-Lakeside, where he served as club secretary and as an assistant coach with under  15s and 17s.

Brendon O’Brien, who was Ivanhoe’s assistant coach in 1984, visited Darryl in hospital in his final weeks and said he appreciated all of his IAFC teammates and coaches who were able to contact or see him.

“We had a lot of laughs regaling Darryl’s Ivanhoe football days, especially those teams of the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s. When I left him before Christmas, Darryl was chuckling as he played around with the IAFC website.”

He said Darryl will always be remembered as a “gentle giant”.

“He was a gentle giant off the field with a warm and caring nature and he was blessed with a chuckle and laugh that was both welcoming and endearing,” he said.

“He was loved by his teammates and he liked nothing better than to chat about old times at our past player reunions.

“While Darryl has left a hole in the lives of all who knew him at Ivanhoe Park, we cannot imagine the sadness now being experienced by his partner Kay and his son Marshall. They can be sure we will miss Darryl greatly and we are all the better as people for having Darryl in our lives.”

A function is being planned to celebrate Darryl’s life and details will be posted on the club’s social media.

Special thanks to Brendon O’Brien and Tony Course in helping compile this tribute.

31 October


Two Ivanhoe stars have been named in the women’s Division 1 Team of the Year.

The Ivies of 2019!

Dual Ivies B&F Georgia Scarce was selected as rover while runner-up B&F Rachel McLean, a midfielder, was named on the interchange.

The club is very proud of the Ivies and how far they’ve advanced in the past three seasons and this pair are shining examples to their teammates week in and week out.

Well done Georgia and Rachel! We look forward to bigger and better things next season under coaches Leighton Pearce and Ashton Bridge.

Go Ivies! To see the full team, click here.

23 October


Vivian in action in 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Viv Blackmore-Moore has capped off a stellar season in 2019 by being named in the VAFA’s D2 Team of the Year.

Viv, who has pace to burn and skills to match, was named on the wing in a team dominated by premiership stars from Whitefriars Old Collegians. The recognition comes after Viv, 20, picked up the club’s best-and-fairest award this year.

Congratulations again Viv, and well done!

For the full team, head here.


By Phil Skeggs

Rob Pearce has been re-elected unopposed as club president, while Hall of Fame member Peter Rawley and treasurer Kate McKendrick have been appointed as vice-presidents. The club is seeking a secretary to replace Fiona Tansley, who is stepping down to focus on her role as Ivies captain. Life member Julian Makin is lending his expertise as sponsorships officer, replacing Ivies player Tess Vandergriff. Other committee vacancies including the merchandising role will need to be filled at the next committee meeting.

Rob Pearce, president. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Kate McKendrick, Vice-President and Treasurer. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Peter Rawley, Vice-President. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Julian Makin, Sponsorships. Pic: Phil Skeggs

The club’s AGM was held in the rooms on Tuesday October 22 with 13 attendees, including key office bearers, with one apology (Leighton Pearce). Rob Pearce said preparation of a written annual report and financial statement had been delayed, but would be posted online at a later date. The meeting endorsed the appointment of coaches for 2020, and also supported a proposal for a memorial plaque at the clubrooms in remembrance of Ivanhoe Cricket Club historian Vic Tsilemanis, who passed away on January 31.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to committee, especially Fiona for her work as secretary, and wishing Rob a speedy recovery from back surgery.

*With Rob Pearce out of action for the next few weeks, any urgent football matters can be directed to Kate McKendrick.  Her email is:, and mobile  0409 505 036.

22 October


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe’s senior coach Ash Close gave players a taste of the coaching methodology he’ll be employing next season at the first team meeting on Sunday October 20. Close spoke to the group about his coaching philosophy, which he has developed over the past seven years while working at the Collingwood Football Club and playing football at VFL and local levels.

Senior Mens coach Ash Close speaking on Sunday. Pic: Phil Skeggs

“I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to different coaching strategies at the elite level and have been able to adopt the techniques and styles of coaching which align with my values,” he said.

Close told players they could expect constructive and detailed post-match feedback. He hopes to provide players with information and tools to improve performance individually and as a playing group. There were several new and old faces at the meeting who are excited to be part of the Hoers’ 2020 campaign. And there are several more to come who couldn’t make it for the presentation, including a couple who played in the Colts this year.

“It was terrific to see some familiar faces while also meeting the players, staff and supporters who have joined the club since I moved in 2013,” he said afterwards.

Close emphasised his passion for unearthing and developing young talent in football and expressed his excitement to continue to explore the relationship with the Ivanhoe Junior Football Club, especially with the Colts’ teams.

“We have one of the strongest junior football clubs in local football and I’m committed to building one of the strongest seniors clubs as well.”

2020 Coaching Panel. L-R: Leighton Pearce (Senior Womens), Ash Close (Senior Mens), Nick Carlyon (Senior Mens Assistant) & Ross Toogood (Reserves Mens). Pic: Phil Skeggs

Joining Close on the coaching team in 2020 are Nick Carlyon (senior assistant coach), Ross Toogood (reserves), Leighton Pearce (Ivies) and Ashton Bridge (Ivies assistant coach).

Pre-season training commences from Monday November 25.

For more information, contact Ash Close on 0433-736220.

14 October


The IAFC is very pleased to announce Ross Toogood as the men’s Reserve grade playing coach for season 2020.  Ross has been involved with the club since 1997 as a player, coach, assistant coach, runner and committee member. More recently, whilst spending a little more time at home with his soon-to-be-wife Amanda bringing up daughter Jasmine, Ross has been supporting the club via much of the social media and website updates, inclusive of information to the VAFA each week on the various senior teams results.  Ross is also a life member of the IAFC.

Ross in his role assisting Senior Coach Leigh Cole in 2011. Pic: STW Photography

Ross in his Senior playing days, mid 2000s

Ross with his partner Amanda and daughter Jasmine

Ross Toogood – previous experience:

3 seasons as Reserves coach, 2009-11 at Ivanhoe AFC

Assistant coach for the Senior men’s team supporting Leigh Cole (2010-11)

Played Seniors, Reserves and Clubbies at Ivanhoe AFC from 1997-2013 (also has played as a fill in since 2013 – 2019)

As Ross will be a playing coach, we are seeking people for off-field support roles should they be interested.

* Off field – Assistant coach

* Team Manager

* Runner

The club is incredibly excited to have Ross back again as coach of the Reserves team in season 2020.  Good Luck ‘Disco’.

Regards, IAFC committee.

10 October


Andrew Marks, winning of the 2019 ‘Harry Award’. Pic: Ross Toogood

Last night 22 of our supporters gathered and enjoyed a really happy time together at the annual Black & Whites Harry Dinner. There was a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday to our lovely Sue Tucker to kick off the evening, she’s a beautiful person.

Andrew Marks was presented the “HARRY AWARD” for 2019. This award is becoming more prestigious each year. Andy has been our 2’s Team Manager the last 2 years, a very difficult position recently. He has helped with Thursday meals for the past few years and his Saturdays begins at 8am, preparing the ground for the day ahead. He also served on the Committee of Management this year. His contribution to the club is extremely significant, congratulations Andy!

Andy receiving his award from Rob Pearce. Pic: Ross Toogood

Senior Coach, Ash Close, outlining his return and plans. Pic: Ross Toogood

Our special guest speaker for the night was new Senior Coach, Ash Close, who spoke beautifully about what the club means to him and what his plans are for our club in 2020. He spoke openly about his ethos and how excited he is to work with our young (and not so young) squad. Let’s all get behind him and play our part!!

29 September


By Phil Skeggs

Viv Blackmore-Moore B&F 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Georgia Scarce B&F 2019. Pic ALISTAIR KNOX

Connor O’Brien, 2nd in B&F 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates Viv Blackmore- Moore on becoming one of the youngest-ever winners of the club’s senior men’s best-and-fairest award. Viv, 20, was ultra-consistent in his first full season in the seniors, polling votes in 12 of 16 games in Division 2. A silky-skilled on-baller with electrifying pace, Viv was co-captain of the under 19s in 2018 when he made his senior debut against Ormond last year. He has just 19 senior games to his credit, which puts his B&F on par with legends such as Andrew Ireland (1972),  Peter Gittos (1979), Rod Hutton (1978), Brendan Kendall  (1995), and Mitch Lovell (2014) who were all 20 years or under when they won the club B&F. Viv’s brother Reuben Blackmore-Moore won the Rutherford Medal in 2017 when he was 21.

Sam Tansley, third place B&F 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Runner-up was Connor O’Brien (2nd),  a classy wingman who was also playing under 19s last year. Connor played in 10 senior matches this season, polling votes in five games. Ruckman Sam Tansley, who was our 2018 B&F, finished third after picking up votes in nine of his 14 games.  He was also equal-second highest goal-kicker with 15 majors – the same as Viv. Only fellow ruckman Wes Mayne scored more, with 18 goals in 15 matches.

Rachael McLean, Runners Up in 2019 B&F. Pic ALISTAIR KNOX

The Ivies B&F went to hard-working onballer Georgia Scarce for the second year in a row, with Rachel McLean (2nd) and Ireland Hall (3rd). Georgia was a standout in seven of 14 matches, midfielder Rachel was among our best in nine of 13 matches,  while key defender Ireland also polled votes in seven of 13 games.

Reserves B&F, James Pititto. Pic: Connie Williams

Congratulations also to James Pititto who took out the Reserves B&F. Coaches awards went to Mitch Rees (seniors), Paddy Kealy (reserves) and Ivies first-year player Charlotte ‘Charli’ Tyler.

The fantastic contribution of the hard-working Williams clan – Frank, Connie and Gerrard – was also acknowledged with the Tim Robinson award, while reserves coach Adem Shemshedin received the John Miles award for his outstanding efforts week-in, week-out.

The awards night was compered by Dom Mitchell in front of about 60 people in the Ivanhoe Park clubrooms last Thursday night.

The club will hold its AGM on Wednesday October 16 in the clubrooms from 7pm. Nominees for committee must contact secretary Fiona Tansley. (m. 0412 783 870 or

A meet-the-coaches day is scheduled for Sunday October 20 in the rooms from midday.

17 September


By Phil Skeggs

Ash Close returns to Ivanhoe Park. Pic: Peter Rawley

FORMER Ivanhoe goal-kicking machine Ash Close is returning to the club as a playing coach in 2020.

Close, 27, said he was excited to be back with the Hoers after a six-year odyssey that has seen him playing at Morwell, Collingwood VFL and Northcote Park.

“I am really excited to come home – it’s where it all began for me and I owe Ivanhoe everything. It’s a very nice thing to be able to return to the club and to coach this young group is even better,” he said.

Close, nicknamed Moose during his playing days at Ivanhoe, topped the goal-kicking in VAFA Division 3 in 2012 with a tally of 104 goals. He kicked another 13 goals during the finals series when the Hoers made the grand final and was runner-up in the club B&F.

He represented the VAFA on a tour of Ireland in 2013 – the same year he started working for Collingwood as a performance analyst.

Ash Close celebrates a goal playing at Ivanhoe in 2013 Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Ash Close, 2013 Ireland tour

After 67 club games, including 36 in the seniors between 2011-13, Close joined Gippsland league powerhouse Morwell in 2014, starring in their premiership win that season under the mentoring of Harmit Singh, Collingwood’s community engagement officer.

Close, who is 199cm tall and a strong mark, earned an invite to Collingwood where he impressed enough to be selected to try out with the AFL draft state combine in 2015.

He played 16 VFL games for the Magpies over four years to the end of 2018, playing key positions in forward and defence. Over five seasons (49 games) at NFL club Northcote Park he topped the goal-kicking in four seasons. He also represented the NFL in 2017.

VFL Men’s And Women’s Launch at Burbank Oval. Pic: Michael Dodge

Ash in action for Collingwood’s VFL team. Pic: Shane Barrie

Close is not wasting any time in adding to the senior men’s team list, with several past players signalling an intention to return to the club for the 2020 season.

“I think we have a great base on which to build a very competitive team for next season. I have started discussions with some players who are keen to return to the club and help get the club back into playing finals,” he said.

Close is also keen to continue developing Ivanhoe’s young list and foster closer ties with the Ivanhoe Juniors, where he played before progressing to under 19s and seniors. The historic link between the two clubs is something he believes can be further developed.

“This is about building a club that represents the local community, from the boys and girls in the IJFC all the way through to the men’s and women’s senior teams”.

He will schedule a meeting with players after the AFL finals to outline expectations and pre-season training.

Players interested in joining Ivanhoe in 2020 can contact Ash Close on 0433 736 220.

13 August


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates Pat Lagreca on playing his 100th club game in Round 16.

Pat Lagreca in action in 2019. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Patch joined the Hoers as an under 19 in 2014 and played in a premiership with his brother James that season.

Courageous and determined, Patch plays tall for a small and has proved a handy goalsneak.

Love your work Patch, keep it going!

5 August


By Phil Skeggs

From stories about on-field deeds and misdemeanors to locker-room silliness, party pranks and footy trips, there was no holding back when members of the 1969 B grade premiership team gathered for their 50th anniversary luncheon at Ivanhoe Park on Saturday August 3.

Members of the 1969 B grade premiership team at the 50th anniversary reunion at Ivanhoe Park. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Coach Syd Neale recalled Euan Logan copping a bucket of cold water from veteran Barry Sproule in the showers. Logan chased his teammate buck naked out of the pavilion, dashing past a surprised female supporter with a laconic “How’re you going”.

Neale remembered feared ruckman Tim Robinson running hot during the 1972 B grade semi-final against Old Scotch and at one stage running through an opponent.  As the runner, Neale was sent by coach John Benetti to tell Robinson to settle down and stop overdoing the rough stuff.

“I went out to Timmy and I looked at him and his eyes were glazed over,” he said.

“I went back and they said ‘what did he say?’ and I said, ‘he didn’t even see me’.”

1969 premiership captain Billy McWhinnie and coach Syd Neale at Ivanhoe Park reunion. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Tim Robinson had some amusing recollections from the 1969 season. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Old teammates laughed heartily over the image of their enforcer mate with a serious dose of white-line fever. Neale continued: “I think you got four weeks for that Timmy.”

Robinson, no stranger to the tribunal, lamented missing the rest of the finals.

Premiership captain and rover Billy McWhinnie gave an insight into just how cheeky and competitive he could be.

On a day when a gale was blowing straight down the ground against Uni Blues, venerable club president Harry Thomas urged him to win the toss. “Have no fear, we’ll win the toss,” McWhinnie assured him.

McWhinnie lost the toss, then shocked the Blues captain Barry Church by pointing to the scoring end and telling him firmly, “Stiff s–t, we’re going that way”.

After the Hoers gathered at the same end as the puzzled Uni players, the field umpire demanded to know what was going on, eventually taking both captains aside and tossing the coin again.

“Barry called heads again, and he won it again,” said McWhinnie. “Running back to the centre I said to Haggarty (the umpire), “Jeez, would he take two out of three and he goes  ‘just get on with it’!”

Premiership wingman Don Blackwood revealed a previously hidden side to his mild-mannered demeanour, recalling how he had unmercifully abused De La Salle’s Barry Lyons as he lined up for goal during the final.

“That was the first time I’d ever sighted Barry Lyon … but 50 years later he’s one of my close personal friends. So it just goes to show, sometimes a little bit of abuse can work in your favour,” he said with a glint in his eyes and a smile.

Reunion organiser Don Blackwood remembers the 69er. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Graham Linley and Robin Hick, both IAFC life members. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Robinson elicited howls of mirth with an unprintable story about a teammate’s party prank involving a jar of peanut butter and a cheeky lie about “an itchy bum”.

But behind the mirth and laughter, it’s evident the 69ers were a special group of Ivanhoe players who forged a terrific bond on and off the field.

Some had gone to school together at Northcote High, where they were recruited by former Ivanhoe coach Alec Weston. Others had come through the Ivanhoe under 15s in the days before the junior club existed.

Saturday nights after a game they would often be invited back to the Neale’s house in Templestowe for drinks, songs and merriment.

“Syd brought us all together and we were a very close family and very close together and that was the main reason why we had success on the ground,” said Robinson.

They were such a fun crew that the field umpire joined them at the grand final celebration at Ivanhoe Golf Club.

And that’s the way they like to be remembered too.

We are extremely lucky also that video footage of the Grand Final has been shared with the club by Robin Hick. We will be adding it to our history pages, but here it is below.

Robin Hick in the middle foreground taking the field for the 1969 B grade grand final at Victoria Park

The late Peter Quinlivan, who at age 19 was one of the youngest members of the premiership team.

Billy McWhinnie and coach Syd Neale are hoisted up on the shoulders and chaired off as the Hoers celebrate victory in 1969

Ivanhoe supporters getting vocal behind goals during the 1969 grand final

Nearly 60 people attended the luncheon, including half of the premiership team and their coach, plus members of the ’69 reserves team who made the preliminary final.

VAFA CEO Brett Connell was also in attendance, along with Black & Whites members, major sponsors, members of the Miles, Thomas and Burt families, and Ivies team members.

Congratulations to Don Blackwood and Russell Knight on organising such an enjoyable afternoon.


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates Lachie “Dukes” Roberts on playing his 150th game for the club in Round 14.

Lachie Roberts being chaired off after his 150th club game. Pic PHIL SKEGGS

Lachie joined the Hoers as an Under 19 in 2010, debuted in the seniors in 2012, and has been a key member of the team ever since including two grand final appearances (2012, 2015)

Consistency, versatility, modesty  and an unswerving loyalty to the club and teammates have been his hallmark over the past decade.

His penchant for clunking big grabs and delivering quality pinpoint passes have been a joy to behold, whether it be on a wing or as a focal point inside forward -50m.

Many thanks Dukes, everyone at Ivanhoe Park salutes you.

19 July


In exciting news, the coach of the 1969 Premiership team, Syd Neale, will be attending the reunion on August 3. Syd was tracked down with a bit of detective work and is currently living in Whittlesea. It will be fantastic to have him and as many players from that team back at Ivanhoe Park together.

11 July


By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs is keen to contact members of the 1969 B grade premiership team for a 50th anniversary luncheon to be held at Ivanhoe Park clubrooms on Saturday August 3. This group of players holds a very special place in our club’s history, being the last team to win a senior flag.

Ivanhoe AFC’s 1969 B grade premiership team

Heidelberger front page 1969 flag

Coached by Syd Neale and captained by triple B&F Billy McWhinnie, the Hoers of ’69 defeated De La Salle Old Boys by 21 points, 13.15 (93) to 10.12 (72). Billy McWhinnie was inspirational, the nuggety rover and Team of the Century vice-captain top-scoring with five goals including three in a tight final quarter. It was front page news in The Heidelberger, featuring  a pic of Syd giving the lads a final rev-up before they exited the changerooms at Collingwood’s spiritual home at Victoria Park to secure the club’s eighth senior premiership.

Heidelberger 1969 grand final match report

Under the headline Amateurs win the B grade premiership, a match report gave a detailed quarter-by-quarter account of the grand final. After the final siren, “Ivanhoe supporters spilled over the fence and chaired McWhinnie and coach Syd Neale from the ground”. Billy was best-on-ground along with centre half-forward Robin Hick (two goals), full-back Peter Coulter,  centre Roger Freeman, ruckman John Paterson (one goal), winger Don Blackwood, and ruck-rover Dave Berry (two goals).

Luncheon organisers Don Blackwood and Russ Knight are keen to hear from as many of the 1969 team as possible. Two team members Peter Quinlivan and Wayne Jones have passed away. They are seeking contact details for the following players: Graham Alcock, C.Bennett, Ed Blount, Jeff Brown, Bill Collins, Randall Castle, G.Dowley, Jeff Downing, Robbie Freeman, David Giles, J.Hosking, Bill Kelly, Alan Litchfield, Colin Montford, Robert Phillips, R.Porter, F.Redpath, Ian Riley, Peter Sgro, B.Sunborn, P.Sweet, Stuart Walters, G.Wells.

For more information, contact Don Blackwood on 0402400776 or email, or Russell Knight 0448840930, or email

The lunch starts at noon on Sat August 3 at the clubrooms. The invitation includes wives and partners. There’s a two-course meal at $30 per person, with drinks at bar prices. Please RSVP to Don or Russ by July 19.

Ivanhoe’s seniors and reserves will be playing Powerhouse.


Mitch Rees playing his 100th club game for Ivanhoe AFC in Round 9. Pic: Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates Mitch Rees on playing his 100th club game in Round 9 on Saturday June 15. Mitch began with the Hoers in 2012 and was a key member of the under 19s premiership team in 2014. Blessed with a solid all-round skill set and a cool head, this popular clubman has overcome injury setbacks to become a reliable defender. Well done and keep on motoring out of the back half Mitch.


By Phil Skeggs

Wes Mayne footy record cover June 1

Ivanhoe ruckman Wes Mayne has been enjoying a breakout season in his third year at the club.

After some vote-winning performances in recent rounds, “Wezza” was nominated for the Premier B – Division 4 Big V squad to play against Perth FL (formerly WAAFL) in at Fremantle Oval on July 6. He made it to the last 33 in a star-studded squad (one of only five D2 players).

But there’s no doubt his reputation for dominating hitouts and pulling down big grabs has attracted some interest at VAFA headquarters. Wes was featured on the front cover of The Amateur Footballer on June 1, showing him about to dish off a left-handed handball.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but the last Ivanhoe player to adorn the cover of the footy record and also don the Big V was full-back Tom O’Donnell in 2015. Other club champions to have earned front cover include goalkicking machine and state rep Ash Close in 2012, former captain and coach Paul Harris in 2013, and Team of the Century member and Big V rep Peter Flynn in 1997.

Keep it going Wes!

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