Hall of Fame
For over 100 years football has been a prominent and very impotant fixture to those of us who call the Goulburn Valley our home. For some time leading up to the inaugural Hall of Fame on Sunday 1st of June 2014, Goulburn Valley League Life Member and Board Member Freddo McMahon has been formulating our Hall of Fame for our champions to be admitted for recognition of their wonderful service to the game and our League. Freddo headed up the committee to bring this to fruition and must be congratulated for his great work along with his commitee members Life Members Don Kilgour, Lawrie Casey, Ian “Cactus” Howard along with Barry Kilpatrick.
Our Goulburn Valley has been the home for more than our fair share of champion players, coaches, umpires and administrators. Every Second year on a Sunday evening in June/July the whole of the GOTAFE GVL come together to honour the newest batch of inductees into the GOTAFE GVL Hall of Fame.
2019 INDUCTEES – 125 Year Edition
2014 INDUCTEES (Inaugural Hall of Fame)
Click on the following link for an interactive look at our Hall of Fame members, Premiers, Best & Fairest winnners and Country Champion teams.
125 Years of the GVL
125 years of GVFL- by Don Kilgour
GV Football Association commences: The year 2019 was significant in local football as it was 125 years since the inception of the most prominent Australian Football organisation in the area, the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Whilst the name was different in 1894 and the makeup of the organisation is different now, the fact remains that the GVFL had been the leading Australian Football organisation in the Goulburn Valley for 125 years. The long term success of the body has seen many clubs join and leave the competition. The GV has had its ups and downs, or more precisely its ins and outs but it has survived well in a football heartland.
Early Clubs: Eight of the twelve clubs that are currently members of the organisation, Kyabram, Shepparton, Mooroopna, Rochester, Echuca, Euroa, Seymour and Benalla all joined in the early days and then left at some stage, only to return to the fold later. One reason for that was the argument over playing matches on a Wednesday or Saturday.
History shows that the Kyabram Free Press Newspaper reported that a meeting held at the Criterian Hotel in Shepparton on 20th April 1894 formed the Goulburn Valley Football Association. The Secretary, Mr. Gourlay, was instructed to register the new entity with the Governing body, the VFL.
The Football Clubs which registered with the Association were: Tatura, Shepparton, Shepparton Ramblers, Mooroopna, Kyabram and Undera.
Distance a problem: Dr J Florence was elected as President. Competition Football had commenced. It was soon after matches were being played that the Shepparton News reported that the trip from Shepparton to Kyabram was tiring for the players, taking over three hours.
It wasn’t easy to get players to take an afternoon off on a Wednesday to play sport and whilst the new Association continued, it struggled and went into recess after three years.
D.C. Morrison presides: The Association re – formed in 1898 and continued to struggle until 1902 when eminent Tatura solicitor D.C. Morrison took over as President and used his skills to grow the organisation. Over the next 5 years, Echuca, Nagambie and Rochester were admitted.
Name change and numbers worn: In 1913 the name of the entity was changed to the Goulburn Valley Football League. The GVFL was the first League in Australia to introduce numbers as a way of identifying players. Whilst the organisation was successful, with the advent of the First World War in 1914 there was a lack of available players and the Association went into recess for the duration of the War.
War break, then re- form: In 1919 the League was re-formed with D.C. Morrison again presiding. Games were played on Wednesday afternoons.
Wednesday V Saturday: In 1939, both Shepparton and Mooroopna Clubs transferred to the rival Central Goulburn Valley League as they wanted to play on Wednesdays and disagreed with the GVFL changing to a Saturday competition.
When D.C.Morrison moved to Melbourne in 1931, his position was taken by J.R. Hanlon for 2 years followed by W.J. Wilson.
Tom Hastie steps in for long term: With War looming in 1939 Tatura’s Tom Hastie stepped in and took the League into recess for the War years until 1946 when he was still available to take up the top post after the War.
Tom was keen to promote top football and made arrangements for VFL teams to play practice matches against the GVFL. The local team even defeated the Geelong Cats.
League program introduced: In 1949 the League published the first program known as the “Footballer” later to be called the “Supporter”, then “The Weekender”.
The Goulburn Valley area was developing well under the Eildon Irrigation scheme with water providing wealth for the area.
Two new Shepparton clubs: Two Shepparton based teams entered the Competition, Lemnos-Shepparton (Later to become Shepparton Swans) and the SPC Fruit Cannery entered a team in association with the Shepparton East Club, which was first called City United, later to become Shepparton United. Echuca East also entered a team.
GVFL Reserves commence: The GVFL Seconds competition commenced in 1950 with the premiership being won by the new City United Club, defeating Kyabram by 21 points.
Shepparton developed as a major rural City and regional centre.
Deakin Reserve grand final venue: Shepparton’s mainsports arena Deakin Reserve became the venue for GVL Grand Finals from 1957 onward. Most preliminary finals were also held there and other finals were spread around the League.
Times were good and money was available for clubs to contract coaches from the VFL, which improved the standard of the League.
Radio broadcast of games: Sponsors were found to support the live coverage of matches on local Radio Station 3SR.
Under 18 competition: In 1966 the League commenced an under 18 competition with Kyabram defeating Lemnos in the initial Grand Final.
However some of the smaller clubs felt that they could no longer compete and chose to leave the GVFL to join local Leagues where they could be more successful.
Clubs leave GVL: Teams such as Rushworth, Nagambie, Murchison, Echuca East, Stanhope, and later Tongala found new homes, which depleted the GVL.
Jack Arthur takes over: Following the death of Tom Hastie in 1965, former Mooroopna and Kyabram player Jack Arthur took over as League President and commenced immediately on trying to rebuild the League. Jack had been disappointed that the GVFL had struggled to win inter- League games against rival neighbours such as Bendigo and Ovens and Murray. Jack left no stone unturned and went on a recruiting drive.
Publicity Officer appointed: Jack also appointed a “Publicity Officer who re vamped the program and promoted the League through the media.
New strong clubs: Over the next ten years Jack lured Euroa, Rochester, Echuca and Seymour clubs to join, making the GVL a much stronger competition. Thankfully the players from those clubs were keen to represent the League.
Winfield Championships: The good players really made a difference when the GVFL entered the inaugural Winfield Country Football championships in 1978.
Jack Arthur assembled a wonderful group of people to support the players and the players responded. Under Bob Allison’s coaching, the GVFL defeated the Tungamah League and then the Ovens and Murray, a League the GVFL had never beaten.
With Des Campbell and Bernie McCarthy leading the way, the GVFL had a decisive win, which prompted League President Jack Arthur to say to the players after the game, “This is our finest hour” However the best was yet to come.
Champions of Country Victoria: The GVL then downed the Latrobe Valley League on its way to the grand final when it defeated the Hampden League by 22 points at Colac to become champions of country Victoria.
The GVL had arrived as a major force in country football and had gained so much respect for its performance. Good players from around the country wanted to come and play in the League and the Winfield win set the League up for the future.
GVL stays in contention: The League continued to enter teams in country championships and won three further series when Rowland Crosbie coached the GV to defeat the strong Geelong League in 1984, Graeme Weatherley coached a winning team which defeated Mid Murray in 1994 and Simon Eishold’s team took the GV to the top against Geelong in 2005.
Grand Finals Televised: GV Football came to the small screen when WinTV televised a number of Grand Finals.
There has been many changes in country football over the years.
Two Divisions: The GVL found itself at the behest of the VCFL in 1996 to become a two divisional competition.
Benalla and Mansfield join: The League reverted back to a single division in 1999 at the time when Benalla and Mansfield joined the competition.
It has been a long and successful journey over 125 years and many football supporters around Victoria have respected the League for its performances and its administration.
Quality Administrators: The League has had its problems but has worked hard to succeed.
There is no doubt that the success of the League has been because of the quality of its administrators.
Men of great integrity, strong presidents such as solicitor D.C. Morrison who led the League for 24 years. The League instituted a best and fairest player award named after him in 1934. Kyabram’s Wilf Cox won the first Morrison Medal.
6 times Rodney Shire President and 34 years as a councillor Tom Hastie then presided over the GVL for 25 years. The League thought so much of him that the premiership cup was named the Hastie Cup.
The building of a champion League: Jack Arthur re built the League and led it to country championship success. Jack also instituted a Qualified Life Membership of the League for all players who reached the 200 senior game milestone. Barry Connolly was a high profile president who was known as “Mister Football”.
Those men, and others were great leaders.
Good Secretaries vital: It was the brilliance and the long service of the league secretaries that set the League apart from others.
T.C Lupton initially set the League up over 12 years, Steve O’Toole worked tirelessly for over 17 years, George Dowell had a 10 year stand and Tatura accountant Jim Trevaskis brought great professionalism to the League over 16 years.
In 1977The GVL appointed Ardmona dairy farmer Keith Wellman as Secretary. Keith had been a successful player and had been a club President, Secretary and League official in the Kyabram and District League.
Full time administration: Keith Wellman was originally appointed as a part time secretary but was so dedicated and successful that the GVL became the first country League to appoint a full time Secretary. The decision to appoint Keith Wellman would have a long ranging effect on the League.
A GVL Office Building: The GVL purchased a building in Dunkirk Ave. Shepparton where Keith set up League headquarters and administered the League as Secretary and then as General Manager. Keith ran the League until 1997.
Netball competition formed: Keith Wellman gave wonderful support in 1983 to the setting up of a Netball competition which has been so successful and has made a great difference to the clubs and the League.
History written: In 1994, Keith arranged for Shepparton historian Ron Michael to write the history of the League in a publication called “Great Goals”.
Keith Wellman was greatly missed after his retirement but he would however, be back at the helm.
League in trouble: Following a period of mal administration, the League was in a desperate financial position.
John Coughlin stepped up as the new president and steered the League out of trouble.
Wellman returns: Keith Wellman volunteered to step back into the General Managers position to save the League from financial ruin. Keith became the League’s saviour as he worked voluntarily to re align the League as a successful entity. Never has so much been owed to a man who showed his love for football and the GVFL. Keith managed the League until the AFL set up a district football administration hub in Shepparton as the football headquarters in Northern Victoria. The League will always owe a great debt of gratitude to Keith Wellman.
GVL Hall of Fame: In 2014 with support from GVFL board member and Life member Fred McMahon the League commenced a GVL Hall of fame in which the top players and administrators have been recognised. Thirty people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame with Players Robbie Orrman, Gary Cooper and Freddo McMahon inducted as Legends.
Media support: The League has always had great support of the media. 3SR, Win TV and the Shepparton News along with other local newspapers which are printed in towns that have a GVFL team. They have kept the League in the public’s eye and have had a large part to play in the Leagues’ success.
Amalgamation and name change: The League had a change of name when, due to the amalgamation with the Netball competition, the word “football” was deleted and the League officially became known simply as the Goulburn Valley League.
AFL Administration: The GVL looks forward to continued success in the future under the AFL administration system which also provides for a continuance of the GVL to conduct its affairs under its own board. The administration hub office houses the GVL history and permanent Hall of fame presentation which can be viewed by interested people during office hours.
Proud League: As we look back on the highs and lows of the League over 125 years we should be proud of what the GVL has meant to the sport loving people of the Goulburn Valley area. From humble beginnings the League rose to be champions of Country Victoria.
GVL players to reach VFL, AFL
Over 160 players from the GVL have gone on to play in the top competition in the VFL or the AFL. Players such as Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls a Tongala player who played for Fitzroy, represented Victoria 4 times, and eventually became Governor of South Australia. 9 of those players have become “All Australians”.
Celebrate our History: All involved with the League should celebrate the fact that whilst many football Leagues have disappeared, the GVL still stands strong and shows leadership in country football.
Written by GVL Historian and Life Member – Don Kilgour
1978 Country Championship
“The Road to Glory for GVL”
By GVL Historian Don Kilgour
1978 – The big year: 1978 was the year that the Goulburn Valley Football League became the number one League as champions of Country Victoria. The GVL had arrived as a force to be reckoned with. It was a year that changed the profile of Goulburn Valley football after it had been regarded as second rate.
However the road to glory didn’t begin in 1978, it commenced many years earlier.
The new President: It was in 1965, after the death of long serving League President Tom Hastie of Tatura that the League needed a new President. Former Kyabram player Jack Arthur was elected to the position. Jack managed the large orchard complex known as “Murrumba Kyabram” and was an experienced business man.
Jack Arthur was a lover of football and was keen to see the League succeed. Jack took on the GVL around the time that the Nagambie, Rushworth and Murchison clubs had withdrawn from the League as they felt that they could not survive against the power teams in Shepparton, Kyabram and Tatura
The GVL had been reduced to eight clubs: Shepparton, City United, Lemnos, Mooroopna, Tatura, Kyabram, Stanhope and Tongala.
Country Championship form: One of the issues Jack was faced with was the fact that the GVL historically not performed well in Country Championship matches, particularly against the neighbouring Ovens and Murray and Bendigo Leagues. He committed himself to try and increase the number of competing teams and add much needed strength to the League.
Over the ensuing years Jack used all his business know how and experience to attract new clubs
New Clubs add strength: By the late 1970’s the GVL boasted the inclusion of strong regional clubs Euroa, Rochester, Echuca and Seymour.
Those clubs all had some multi talantedl players resulting in an immediate lift in the standard of matches they took part in.
The League was running beautifully under Jacks’ guidance. With Keith Wellman as an efficient and dedicated League Secretary, the GVL was in a great position to capitalize on an important announcement soon to be made regarding country football.
A new inter – League competition: In October 1977 the Victorian Country Football League announced that the marketers of Winfield cigarettes would sponsor a Country Championship series from 1978 which would see the country Leagues play in a competition- to be called the “Winfield Championships” in which the winners of games would continue to play against other winners to eventually find the overall winner to become the Champion League of Country Victoria.
Jack Arthur immediately saw the possibilities for his League to show its new strength and within 24 hours of the announcement had commenced work on planning for the next year.
The planning: By the November League meeting, Jack presented his plan and received great support from the clubs.
He chose as coach of the League team the much respected Bob Allison, coach of the reigning premiers Echuca who had previously coached both Stanhope and Tongala
The match or selection committee consisted of Shepparton Football Club President Bill Enders as chairman, supported by Tongala stalwart Ian “Nigger” McGregor along with the well-known GVL player, Tatura coach Roland Crosbie. The team would be managed by Seymour Football Club President Jim Ure.
Training squad: The match committee became a dedicated team and within a month they had met and planned the tilt at the title. They soon named a proposed training squad and were in touch with the players to advise them of the seriousness of the League’s intentions to win.
Nothing would be easy, as to win the title you had to be successful in three games and play a fourth game in the final – all in the one year. The players would also be required to compete and train with their own clubs. Interestingly, other Leagues didn’t commence their preparation for the series until March.
The year begins: 1978 kicked off with great enthusiasm as the League squad swung into action. Training runs were held on Sundays and on Wednesday nights. Seymour hosted several training sessions to help the players who were working in Melbourne.
It soon became obvious that the players had welcomed the opportunity to be in the squad and desperately wanted to take part.
First game a struggle: When the Winfield draw was announced the GVL was drawn to play against the neighbouring Tungamah League at Deakin Reserve on 14th May. The GVL entered the game as firm favourites, however by half time in the game the GVL had its back to the wall. At the long break, Bob Allison berated the boys in purple and gold for their lack of effort. Thankfully things changed in the 3rd quarter. The GV had plenty of the ball but kicked badly, scoring 6 goals10behinds for the term
The final term was a struggle and luckily the GVL won its way into the second round with a 14 point win scoring 16-26 to 16 -12. Seymour ruckman Bernie McCarthy was best for the GV.
Round 2 – Beating the O&M : There was little time for reflection, as three weeks later on 5th June the GV travelled to the Benalla Showgrounds to play against their arch rival, the Ovens and Murray League who they had never beaten. The large crowd was treated to a magic day’s football. The GV boys showed desperation and a great will to win.
United’s Des Campbell and Seymour’s Bernie McCarthy
led the way and greatly helped the GVL create history with a stirring victory, kicking 17 -12 to 15-8. It was such an exciting occasion for all GVL fans.
League President Jack Arthur in an emotional speech to the players after the match said “the GVL history dates back to 1894 but of today I’m sure we can say this is our finest hour”. Little did Jack realise at the time that the best was yet to come.
The GVL had reached the semi-final of the competition and met the strong Latrobe Valley League at Deakin Reserve on Sunday 2nd August.
Semi Final – Mud and slush: On the night before and the morning of the match a deluge of 3 inches of rain fell in Shepparton and Deakin Reserve was covered in water. As the match progressed it became a quagmire. In atrocious conditions the GV players were kept in the game by Mooroopna centre man Ian Linford who played the game of his life and drove the ball forward time and again whilst completely covered in mud in a best on ground performance. The GV hung on to win kicking 12– 5 to11- 3 to take the purple and gold colours into the State final.
The Winfield Final: On Sunday 6th August Large crowds of Goulburn Valley people travelled to Colac to see the GV meet the Hampden League in the Winfield Grand Final.
President out of action: The team arrived on the Saturday for a training session and were disappointed to hear that the League President Jack Arthur had been rushed to Hospital with a heart attack. He would not be at the game.
The day was cool but fine as the nervous players ran out in front of a massive crowd for the biggest game of their lives. Bob Allison had given an inspiring address imploring the boys to give their all for Jack Arthur.
GV sets the pace: The players accepted the challenge and all lifted their efforts.
Rover Gary Cooper was scintillating with a best on the ground performance, Graeme Kendall played an inspiring captains game, Echuca’s Kevin Quinn won in the ruck all day, Seymour’s Neville Green gave a brilliant display on the wing and Ray Stomann kicked 6 goals to boot the Goulburn Valley home. Tatura’s Brian “Tiny” Finnigan showed just how much he was prepared to give as he played over half the game with cracked ribs.
Glorious win: When the final siren rang the Goulburn Valley League were Champions of Country Victoria, kicking 16-13 to 12 -15 winning by 22 points in a high standard bone crushing grand final.
The feeling of togetherness and team spirit was a major factor in the success of the campaign. As the editorial in the next Saturday’s program (The Supporter) stated “Every member of the squad brought honour to the GVL and they can all be proud of their involvement”. That was indeed the GVL’s finest hour.
Chairman of selectors Bill Enders travelled to Melbourne to present the Winfield Cup to an ailing Jack Arthur who raised a smile as he said” They were all magnificent”. Jack passed away a week later in the knowledge that he had played a major role in the road to glory for his beloved Goulburn Valley Football League.
GVL elevated to higher standing: The Winfield win elevated the GVL to greater heights. Players from across Victoria were keen to join the GV ranks due to the standard of football. Above all it set the GV on the path of continued success and being accepted as a top League.
Following that success, the GV players continued to support the championships in ensuing years. Six years later Roland Crosbie coached the GV to a 24 point win over the Geelong League to win its second State title.
Then in 1994 Graeme Weatherly coached another State title win with a 32 point victory for the GVL over the Mid Murray League.
The road to country championship glory was paved by the wonderful work of Jack Arthur who developed a squad of players and administrators who loved the League and gave there all to ensure the League became successful.
GV team as selected on the Thursday prior to the game.
B: Laurie Shiels Peter Shemshedin Bernie McCarthy
HB: Daryl Ryan Shane Sexton Brian Finnigan
C: Chris Walker Ian Linford Neville Green
HF: Mick Mulligan Des Campbell John Haw
F: Jack Guilmartin Ray Stomann Gary Cooper
Foll: Kevin Quinn Graham ‘Josh’ Kendall Greg Liddell
Int (from) Terry Keenan, Daryl Reid, Gary Fletcher, Neil Haw, Tony Barnes, Gary Edwards, Mick Shanahan.
On the Saturday before the game Terry Keenan, Laurie Shiels and Neil Haw failed fitness tests, causing John Haw to play on the forward flank, with Daryl Reid and Gary Fletcher on the interchange bench.
The team which played in the Grand Final of the Winfield Championship was:
B: Gary Edwards (Echuca), Peter Shemshedin (Lemnos), Bernie McCarthy (Seymour)
HB: Daryl Ryan (Echuca), Shane Sexton (Lemnos), Brian Finnigan (Tatura)
C Chris Walker (Shepparton), Ian Linford (Mooroopna), Neville Green (Seymour)
HF: Mick Mulligan Shepp. United), Des Campbell (Shepp. United), John Haw (Echuca).
F: John Guilmartin (Shepp. United), Ray Stomann (Seymour), Gary Cooper (Tatura)
Foll: Kevin Quinn (Echuca), Graham Kendall (Mooroopna), Greg Liddell (Seymour)
Inter: Daryl Reid (Tongala), Gary Fletcher (Echuca).