By Greg Kelly

I recall my first year with St. Bedes Old Collegians and it was the second year for St. Bedes in the VAFA back in 1973. Some of the players involved that year include:

77GF TurnerRobinsonMost of these past achievers have been spotted at the Mentone Oval over the past two seasons. A few of them have attended on a regular basis, which is pleasing to see. The first game that season in 1973 was against Fawkner, which was their first game in the VAFA. Mick Callaghan was best on ground that day, a rare feat as Mick would become more accustomed to regular Saturday afternoon visits to Prince Henry’s hospital rather than gathering Best and Fairest votes. St. Bedes and Fawkner were also to play in the last game that same year in the F Grade Grand Final.

Just for the record, St. Bedes played Fawkner three times in 1973 (F Grade), twice in 1974 (E Grade) and twice in 1984 (D Grade), losing all encounters. In 1973 and 1974, Fawkner had a gruesome character named ‘Mad Max’ and as witnessed this season, nothing seems to have changed. Watching the first game at home this year it was interesting to hear John Bradbury remark, "You know, it’s taken twenty years to beat these b------s !"

Arguably the most physically awesome side encountered by St. Bedes in the Amateurs would have to be Alphington in 1980 (D Grade). That same year, Old Ivanhoe Grammar forfeited their second round fixture against Alphington, which made back page headlines in the Melbourne Sun. In their first round encounter at least three Ivanhoe Grammar players were taken (via stretchers) to hospital - all suffering various forms of head injury.

83parkscThe second semi-final, also that same year, saw Alphington play St. Bedes. The previous meeting between these two sides, played at Alphington (Top versus second) saw Alphington 31:14 defeat St. Bedes 4:8. A victory to St. Bedes in the second semi-final would require a staggering twenty-eight goal turnaround. To make matters worse, an injury hit St. Bedes were without six players who would normally be playing, including Dale Collins, a proven finals player with the mental toughness required for those type of games.

St. Bedes jumped Alphington in the first quarter and led by five goals, and although their margin was reduced at half-time the ‘Bedas’ still led by fifteen points. Could they pull off the impossible? ... Alas. No!! The far stronger Alphington eventually wore down the ‘Bedas’ to win by twenty-nine points. The game took its toll, as most players were pretty sore during the week, and as a consequence we were beaten in the preliminary final by State Bank, a side St. Bedes had beaten in their previous two encounters. Incidently, Alphington won the grand final, thrashing State Bank by more than twenty goals.

Other players of interest are as follows:

Reprinted from The Tiger, vol. 3, no. 2 (1995)