GUS UNDERWOOD - 2015
The GVL Hall of Fame was instituted, not only to recognise players and officials but people who play a role in the betterment of the league and the game in general.
Tonight we induct into the Hall, a person who has been a player and a coach but is also being recognised for his magnificent support of the GVL through journalism.
Kyabram’s Gus Underwood has been promoting GVL football for 50 years as a sports writer and commentator.
He has written thousands of stories about the league and its players and personalities.
Gus loves football and always found it a pleasure to write about the game he enjoyed.
Most importantly he believed in writing positive instead of critical stories.
As Gus says, “If you can’t say something positive about someone don’t say anything. Always write with the idea of promoting the game”.
Very few journalists have actually played the game extensively whilst writing about it.
Gus Underwood had grown up a football lover when he captained the Kyabram High School team to a premiership.
He commenced his senior football with Kyabram but was recruited by Lancaster where he spent 4 seasons and was runner up to Ray Doolan for the KDFL McNamara Medal in 1963.
He returned to the “Bombers” in 1965 and played in a losing grand final team.
Altogether Gus played 190 games with Kyabram including a losing grand final against Lemnos under Fred Wooller.
In 1975 he was appointed Coach of Lancaster and served one year as coach and two more years as senior a player before being a part of his only adult premiership with the Lancaster Reserves.
On retiring as a player Gus concentrated journalism and could be seen every Saturday in the press boxes of the GVL writing the stories about the game.
However the call of Kyabram Football was too great and in 1983 he commenced an eight year stint as coach of the Kyabram Thirds.
Gus loved the thirds and was highly respected by the players who gave their all for their coach.
He coached the young “Bombers” into 4 grand finals, winning two.
His highlight was the 1983 flag when his Ky boys downed the hot favourites, the previously undefeated Shepparton United team.
He was honoured with Life Membership of the Bombers.
But through all this football activity Gus wrote football stories for the Kyabram Free Press and the Shepparton News.
He became renowned as a great writer who understood the feelings and aspirations of the players as he was so much a part of the game.
This year Gus is in his 50th year covering football in the media.
He even called many games on local radio.
Above all Gus thrived on knowing and writing about the sports stars.
No sports person in the Kyabram district missed out on promotion as Gus gave sport his full attention and promoted Kyabram at the same time.
He was very keen on the Country Football Championships and played an important role in promoting the top players in the team.
Through the years Gus has had many offers to move to the city as a journalist but he loves Kyabram and his way of life too much to leave.
Gus did all this in his own friendly and casual manner and became a well-loved sporting personality.
He was also a successful cricketer and was president of the Kyabram Cricket Association for 24 years.
He was presented with the Bob Merriman Medal awarded for services to Victorian Cricket.
One of his other sporting loves is Harness Racing.
Gus has owned and trained many horses and is recognised by the Harness Racing fraternity as the best trotting journalist in rural Victoria.
He received the Harness Racing Victoria – Distinguished service award.
The Goulburn Valley League is now able to further salute the wonderful support given to sport and the GVL in particular by inducting this incredible sports journalist Gus Underwood into the GVL Hall of Fame.