1959 premiership memories

Neville Corboy, Graeme Thomas, Bricky McDuff and Clive Macaulay have fond memories of Mulwala’s 1959 football season.

Neville Corboy, Les (Bricky) McDuff and Graeme Thomas have fond memories of Mulwala’s 1959 football premiership win over Violet Town at Dookie.

The only three local surviving members of the team coached by Les (Squizzy) Squires caught up with each other recently.

Mulwala beat Violet Town 12.16.88 to 6.10.46, sixty-three years ago. Two of the previous, 1950 premiership team members, Phil Corboy and Les Martin, also played in the 1959 triumph.

In Mulwala’s history book, it states: “Violet Town were a much taller and heavier side than Mulwala but the pace and system of the Maroons won the day. Les Squires had steadily brought the team along so that as they reached the finals they were at their peak and ran the ‘Highwaymen’ of that time, off their legs.”

Centreman Neville Corboy, who played his first game for Mulwala at age 14 years, was named best Mulwala player in the grand-final, receiving one pound and the shirt.

Being 63 years ago, the 85-year-old can’t recall a lot about the club’s third premiership but guessed he would have collected about 25 kicks. Forget the handballs – they were rare in those times and the next decade.

“Their ruckman Bill Pinder was a knock ruckman. My intention was to be 15 to 20 yards on Violet Town’s side. I reckon I got 10 to 12 hit-outs straight to me – it was one of Squizzy’s ideas,” the best afield said.

Another idea of Squizzy’s, just before the start of the game, was to start Corboy in the back pocket. “I asked why and he said you’re a target. After five minutes you can come to the centre,” was the plan.

“Violet Town was the best side that year but we deserved the flag. After plenty of games at Yarrawonga, Squizzy was so effective as player and coach, and were too fast for them. I loved playing finals. I was in five grand-finals but only won one.”

At full-forward, Bricky McDuff booted “four or five” goals and “about 70” for the season. “I came down to Mulwala as a rugby player and played all my games for Mulwala in the backline except for 1959,” he explained.

Of the grand-final, the soon-to-be 89-year-old commented: “We were all determined because we had lost one or two we should have won and we didn’t want this to happen again.”

“Every year Bricky was in our best three or four players at Mulwala,” Corboy said.

Graeme Thomas played ruck for Mulwala on that special last day of football in 1959. Soon to turn 84-years-of-age, he and fellow ruckman Bob Beams played well.

“It was great to be able to play in that grand-final. The year was thoroughly enjoying,” Thomas said.

In those days, until 1976, games were solely umpired by the likes of Melbourne-based Clive Macaulay who subsequently moved to retire in Mulwala.

He umpired 280 games throughout Victoria, the Riverina and the SA border, and included Mulwala and four curtain-raisers to VFL matches. “The best part umpiring up here was the ground – it was fantastic compared to a lot of other places,” Macaulay said.

“I loved umpiring because of the fitness and involvement in the sport.”

Bricky McDuff said he made written comments about games. “I saw that I commented about Clive’s umpiring on the two occasions he umpired us,” Bricky said. “I wrote that he umpired very well – he was a very good, experienced umpire.”