Premiership team back for reunion

By Southern Riverina News

Players and coaches from Berrigan’s 1968 Murray League premiership team gathered at the Berrigan Sportsground on Saturday to celebrate their 31 point win against old rival Finley all those years ago.

A luncheon was held, with plenty of reminiscing, followed by afternoon tea.

Current club president Stuart Schifferle welcomed 44 guests, while 1968 ruckman Bruce Rendell led the proceedings.

Fifteen of the original team members were present, including coach Gerald Eastmure and his family from Melbourne.

Family members of 1968 executive members were also present.

There was also sadness expressed that two of the team members — Terry Whelan and 1968 assistant coach Russ Milne — had passed away in recent years.

‘‘There was lots of reminiscing about the great win and the season overall,’’ Mr Rendell said.

‘‘We had 15 of the 20 players attend, so that’s a great turnout.

‘‘Playing in a premiership side reminded me of being in high school because you’re always together.’’

Mr Rendell said many of the highlights of the premiership game were relived as part of the celebration.

‘‘The game was played in Tocumwal and it was the perfect day for football,’’ Mr Rendell recalled.

‘‘Graham Ellis had the ball between the wing and forward flank right on half time, and he let go with a massive drop kick that just sailed through the middle; that goal sunk Finley.

‘‘Back in those days you would only drop kick it or torpedo it.

‘‘The rivalry between Finley and Berrigan started in the early 1950s and it was fierce.’’

Berrigan won the flag with 12.13 (85) to Finley’s 8.6 (54).

The ‘Berrigan Advocate’ described it as a win with ‘‘almost ruthless efficiency’’.

A highlight for the team that year was Fred Way winning the Murray League’s best and fairest.

The reunion celebrations continued on Saturday evening at the club’s patrons dinner, where players past and present heard from recently retired AFL player Justin Koschitzke who spoke about his playing days at Brocklesby, Lavington and St Kilda.