The Board of the GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League (GVL) is saddened to hear of the passing of GVL Hall of Fame member & Legend, Robbie Orrman.
Throughout the 1950’s the Shepparton Swans – then known as the Lemnos Football Club was based at the Shepparton Showgrounds. A tall blond athletic man could be seen crossing the road from his family’s car dealership opposite the showgrounds to attend football training.
Football fans marvelled at Robbie’s ability to rise above the packs and palm the ball directly to his teammates, giving the Swans first use of the ball. He was a wonderful mark and long kick.
Robbie was renowned for his tap work. Shepparton raised two-time Carlton Premiership player Jimmy Morris had the most profound effect on a young Robbie as his Junior Coach at Shepparton Boys’ Club. There, Jimmy taught Robbie how to palm the ball instead of punching it. Jimmy also influenced Robbie’s attitude and temperament as well, warning Robbie that his opponents would stop at nothing to stop him. He advised Robbie to count to 10 to get the frustration out and then get on with playing. Robbie heeded this advice over the years and was never once reported.
It wasn’t long before the Melbourne Demons came knocking but Robbie turned down the opportunity. Instead he followed some friends from his playing days at Ormond Amateurs (Robbie played while studying in Melbourne and won the Under 19 League Medal in 1950) to St Kilda for a trial match. The experience was not for him and he returned to Shepparton to discover the Shepparton Boys’ Club had disbanded. He joined Lemnos.
Robbie was the first player to win three Morrison Medals. He won his first Morrison Medal in 1951, his second in 1954 and his third in the Lemnos premiership year of 1959. He came close to being the only player to win four Morrison Medals but missed out by one vote in 1956.
Robbie played a significant role in the Swans 1959 premiership and went back to back the following season when the Swans once again reigned supreme. Robbie retired at the end of this season.
Post football he took up golf and restored cars, raising a family with wife Annette. They had four children; Gary, Graeme, Janet and Susan.
In 1956 he was chosen along with other Shepparton athletes to carry the Olympic torch on its journey through Shepparton to the Melbourne Olympic Games.
One of the greatest aspects of Robbie’s football career was his fairness. His quiet disposition and fair play made him a most popular player. He also performed magnificently in GVL Country Championship teams. His brilliance all over the ground made him a truly stand out player.
He won the Swans Best & Fairest award on six occasions. Robbie was loved by everyone at the Swans and greatly respected by all football followers. The Swans honoured him with legend status when they inducted him into their club’s Hall of Fame. Their Senior Best & Fairest Medal is also named in his honour.
The GVL recognised his achievements by inducting him into the inaugural GVL Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2016, the GVL elevated Robbie to Legend Status for his brilliance and sportsmanship during his illustrious football career. Robbie was the first Hall of Fame member elevated to Legend Status.
Robbie was a gentleman and great sportsman who will be sorely missed. Our sincerest condolences go to Robbie’s children Gary, Graeme, Janet and Susan and the entire Orrman family.
Reunited with wife Annette.