The Federal Football League is no longer with us but two of its more memorable grand finals in 1956 and 1976 will be fondly remembered when the St Bedes / Mentone Tigers has a reunion to celebrate senior premiership wins over respective local rivals Mordialloc and Cheltenham.The âTiger spiritâ was to the fore in both games.
In 1956 Mentone went in as the underdogs against the experienced Mordialloc team at the Cheltenham ground watched by 3000 spectators. Trailing by fifteen points at the final break Mentone playing coach Bill Gallagher urged his players to embrace the âTiger Spiritâ and made a match winning move swinging big man Ian Meckiff (who later achieved fame for his cricket prowess) from the ruck into the forward line. Meckiff drop kicked four last quarter goals to give him six for the match and best a-field honours. The Tigers were home by nine points for their first premiership win since 1928. Other notable contributors for Mentone were Bruce Gatford, Don Meckiff, Alf Clarke, John Riley and Ted McGowan with two goals.
Mentone had an extra reason to be happy as the huge sum of 2000 pounds had been wagered between the respective supporters of the club under the Cheltenham scoreboard on the day. The celebrations went for days and included a ceremony in which the Mordialloc mascot was put in a small coffin and placed on the rub-down table. Pallbearers carried the table into the middle of the Mentone ground and buried the coffin in a shallow grave! A few players stayed at the Mentone pub for a week, and showed admirable stamina by backing up for the trip away to Albury.
In 1976 a huge crowd of 10,000 spectators saw the Tigers and the Rosellas do battle at the Springvale ground. In a pre match sensation Mentone big man Peter Bromley was injured running down the race and Mentone coach David Groves came onto the bench as his replacement. The sensations continued in the opening quarter with Cheltenham youngster Peter Charles carried off on stretcher after colliding with Mentone strongman and former North Melbourne player Geoff Hopgood. Skirmishes broke out all over the ground resulting in eleven reports for the day.
The Tigers looked to be in charge in the third quarter until Mentoneâs Ray Besanko was carried off on a stretcher after an incident involving Cheltenham captain coach and former St Kilda star Ian Cooper. The incident unsettled the Tigers and Cheltenham moved twelve points ahead in the last quarter. Mentoneâs fearless coach David Groves who had only played four games for the year came onto the ground and into the ruck to inspire his team to reclaim the lead and win by six points.
Three of the clubs local junior players in Keiran Breen, Nick McKenzie and Ross Besley were amongst the Tigers best in a star studded side that included champion rover Peter Cerato and 1976 Federal Competition best and fairest winner Allan Sierakowski.
On Saturday 13 August, SBMT are hosting a 10 year Premiership reunion for the 2006 teams. This will be an event at Sandy by the Bay located at Trevor Barker Oval - home of the Seniors and Reserves 2006 Premiership wins! We would love to see you there to help celebrate this milestone for the club. Tickets are limited and payment is required upon booking. Once a payment is received, tickets will be sent to you via the post. If you would like to book tickets - jump on Tigermart or contact Wendy Garside / 0411 531 882 for credit card payments over the phone.
Fitzroy kicked with the breeze in the first and wastefully kicked 4 goals 8. Chris Richard's determination and class provided the Tiger's single goal for the quarter and the home side led by 25 points at the first break. We kicked with the breeze in second and kicked 2 goals inside first 7 minutes to reduce lead to 11 points but battled for rest of quarter to reduce the gap to 6 points at half time. In the third, the sleeting rain and winter cold had properly set in and the Lions kicked 2 goals 10 and took a 15 point lead into last. The final quarter was a full-on slog and SBMT reduced lead to 6 points at the 22 minute mark but the Maroons held on for 12 point win with a very late goal. Best were Chris Mangoni, Simon Richards, Ben Dance and Brayden O'Toole.