Premiership Eagles reunite

A sidelight to the on-field football action at the Hatherleigh oval on Saturday was the reunion of the home team’s two senior teams from 1971.

They marked the passing of 50 years since the A Grade achieved its breakthrough premiership in the Mid South Eastern Football League while the B Grade was runners-up.

Played at Mount Burr, the Eagles accounted for the Glencoe Murphies in the main game but went down to the Port MacDonnell Demons in the curtain-raiser.

An earlier date for the reunion last month was cancelled owing to the statewide COVID shutdown.

After watching Hatherleigh easily defeat Tantanoola in the A Grade contest on Saturday, the 13 past players were feted in the licensed clubrooms.

COVID travel restrictions meant A Grade captain-coach and retired teacher Wayne Johnston had to remain in Victoria.

The past players were officially welcomed by Hatherleigh president Deon Chester and then Eagles stalwart Trevor Rayson described the players and events from the 1971 grand final day.

Among the 10 surviving A Grade premiership players present was wingman John Maddern and he has vivid memories of that weekend in 1971.

He ran along the same muddy clubrooms flank all game and gathered many possessions.

Although there was no best-on-ground medal awarded in those days, Maddern was generally regarded as best afield.

For his efforts, Madden received a $10 fuel voucher.

“I was able to fill the tank a few times of my four-door Ford Cortina which I had purchased new from Thompson Motors in Millicent,” Madden said.

On the eve of the grand final, his wife Lorraine gave birth to their son Ashley at Millicent and District Hospital.

Madden took part in the football victory celebrations on the Sunday and he said he was proudly back at work as a tradesman at the KCA Millicent Mill as usual on the following day.

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