CHAMPIONS, WE SALUTE YOU

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

VALE IAN ANDERSON, A-GRADE PREMIERSHIP CENTREMAN

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

VIN SAMMARTINO – LIFE MEMBER CITATION

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

BEN JOYCE – LIFE MEMBER CITATION

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

KATE DRAPAC – LIFE MEMBER CITATION

By Phil Skeggs

Kate Drapac (nee McKendrick) has been involved with the club most of her adult life, spanning some 15 years.

She started as a keen supporter following the fortunes of her friends in Under 19s and through to their years in the seniors.

Kate originally joined committee during Grant McKenzie’s presidency in 2014.

She stepped down when Grant vacated the top job, but returned in 2018 to take over the treasurer’s role from Ben Joyce.

In 2019, she promised then president Rob Pearce that she would not leave her position as treasurer “until she left the place in a better place”.

Kate stuck at it until the AGM late last year when she passed the baton to Liz Opasinis (Valkanis).

During the period she was treasurer, Kate’s personal workload was immense but it never stopped her performing her duties at the club.

Importantly, Kate showed great strength in the allocation of club monies and was zealous with its uses.

In 2021, Kate also added club vice-president to her responsibilities.

Over the last two years, the club’s bank balance improved to the point where we heard the best news possible from Kate last November: we were back in the black!

She got the biggest ovation I’ve ever seen at a club AGM. The relief among the club faithful after so many years of struggle and doubt was just immense.

Rob Pearce voiced special appreciation for Kate’s support during those dark days, describing her as his “great encourager”.

Kate’s fantastic service was recognised with the Harry Award at the annual Black & Whites dinner in December last year.

And she gave us a bit of insight into her motivation, saying: “He (Rob) is the reason I have stayed around the football club … it’s been you and only you … because you are Ivanhoe Football Club.

“You have been a friend, someone who has always supported me in every aspect of my life. You are the Godfather.”

So if Rob was the Godfather, I’d suggest Kate has been Rob’s loyal and trusted “consigliere’’. On behalf of the rest of the Ivanhoe family, thank you and well done Kate.

Kate Drapac (right) with President Pete Rawlet after being inducted as a Life Member of the club. Photo – Phil Skeggs

BILL JACKSON – LIFE MEMBER CITATION

By Phil Skeggs

Bill Jackson’s record as a loyal and committed Ivanhoe soldier speaks for itself.

He played in the Under 19 (North Div 2) grand final in 2008 and was equal B&F in the Under 19s in 2009.

He debuted for the seniors as an under 19 in 2010.

He was a member of the 2012 D3 grand final team and the 2015 D2 reserves premiership.

Bill clocked up his 150th game for the club in Round 1, 2017, and earned the senior Coaches Award at season’s end.

He has played 191 games for the club across 10 seasons so far – 111 in the seniors.

A few years ago, some of his younger teammates bestowed him with the nickname “Golden Bill”.

It spoke volumes for the high regard they have for this tough, hard-nosed veteran with the icy stare who never shirks a contest and is often first in to back up teammates.

This is Golden Bill’s 11th season for the seniors, and I am happy to say he’s still playing it as hard as ever – often in a tagging role – as the seniors charge into the D2 finals in their quest for a drought-breaking flag.

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

50 GAMES FOR JAMES

By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates reserves rover James Pititto on his 50th game for the club in Round 16 (August 6).

Winner of the reserves B&F in 2019 and third last year, “Tits” has been an integral part of Ivanhoe’s ressies squad for a few years.

His versatility on-field always makes him an important cog in any team structure.

He has a fantastic ability to find the ball and incredible goal nous, which makes him a very difficult player to defend. Love your work, Tits.

13 GOALS WAS WATER OFF A DRAKE’S BACK

By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs forward Billy Drake was the toast of the club after scoring 13 goals against Power House in Round 15 at Ivanhoe Park.

Drake is one of two Ivanhoe players rookie-listed at Collingwood VFL this season.

He is currently second on the D2 sharpshooters list with 48 goals, just eight behind his playing coach Ash Close on 56.

Close, a Collingwood development officer, scored three goals in the first half last Saturday, but sat out the second half and let Drake be the focal point.

Drake made the most of his opportunity, booting seven goals in the third term and four in the final quarter in Ivanhoe’s 164-point win.

His 13-goal haul was the equal second-highest for a senior player in Ivanhoe’s 112-year history.

He even eclipsed Close’s best-ever tally of 12 against Old Westbourne in D3 in Round 8, 2012.

The race is now on to see who will win the club’s Ron Smith Medal; named after the man who kicked a record 15 goals against Bentleigh in B grade in 1936.

Smith also had two hauls of 13 goals in 1934 and 1936. Former Hoers captain Mitch Lovell bagged 13 against Elsternwick in D2 in Round 16, 2015.

Close was the top goalkicker in D3 in 2012, kicking 104 plus 13 in the finals.

50 GAMES FOR REILLY

By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates Reilly Connell on his 50th club game in Round 15 (July 31).

“Bong” was a member of our Under 19s team that reached the grand final in 2015.

One of his great claims to fame was a miraculous last-gasp goal in the dying seconds of a close match at Ivanhoe on May 16, 2015. His running roost from centre wing was wind-assisted and bounced at least three times before going through on the siren.

His kick was captured on video, which was sent to Channel 9 as an entry in Almost Footy Legends.

Reilly has been enjoying a return to footy as a ressies stalwart over the past two seasons and still gets his fair share of the ball.

He is also one of the club’s much loved characters. Goodonya Bong!

50 GAMES FOR GEARS

By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateurs congratulates defender Nick Geary on his 50th club game in Round 15 (July 31).

“Gears” is a former Under 19 who has developed into a first-class senior footballer in recent years, playing mainly in defence.

A quiet achiever, Nick’s courage is exemplary and he backs his judgment to good effect at each and every contest.

Whether that’s plucking an intercept mark, spoiling opponents, applying maximum pressure or rebounding out of the back half, Nick can be counted on to get the job done. His disposals are a joy to behold too.

Well done Gears – keep your motor running.