The 1967 DVFL Annual Report best summed up the season.
“What a year. From bottom of the ladder to a final four contender was nothing short of a wonderful effort at Eltham during 1967. Known throughout the Diamond Valley League as the ‘Cinderella Side’ Eltham won its first six matches to become one of the power sides of the League. This rise was brought about by an active and energetic recruiting committee headed by Coach Brian McLaine, who worked hard during the summer months to build this side into a force to be reckoned with.
However a mid-season slump when star players were plagued by injuries, meant a temporary slip down the ladder during the mid-season. The side then rallied and fought back to hold a place in the four until the second last game and finally ended up on sixth position on percentage one game out of the four. This has left the side with a nucleus of players for 1968 and with some more active recruiting an even better year is anticipated in 1968.”
The seconds were also close to a final four spot but some ‘unlucky’ one and two point losses cost them a berth.
The Thirds reached the Grand Final only to lose to Montmorency.
Eltham entered two sides in the “Midget” League (under 13’s). Although Eltham had junior sides prior to this, games were not official and were organised on a club to club basis. They were under the guidance of Keith Headon, Henry McFarlane and Stan Bennett. The club hired jumpers from Clive Fairbairn’s Sports store in little Bourke Street. The ‘Reds’ and ‘Blacks’ did well, with the Black’s playing in the Preliminary Final.
Functions at the RSL, Youth Hall and at the old clubrooms were organised throughout the year to get everyone together. Once a month Secretary Graeme Pitcher and McLaine would go into the Victorian Railways in the city to get large tubs of food (soup etc) and bring them back for the players.
World Of Sports was a must watch sports program that was broadcast live by HSV 7 in Melbourne from 1959 to 1987 on Sundays between 11am and 2pm. A popular segment was ‘Champion Kick’ where players were required to execute a range of kicks, and were assessed in terms of their accuracy, style and (with the exception of the stab pass) distance.
Each competition consisted of stab passing about 25 metres at a roughly 6 foot round target similar to an Archery target; complete with bulls eye. Then there was goal kicking and distance kicks; using both drop kicks and punt kicks. The 3 judges (Lou Richards was one) would score each out of 10 and hold up their score.
McLaine knew World of Sport host Ron Casey and was allowed to borrow the equipment for Eltham to host a DVFL Champion Kick Competition. 100 pounds was offered as the prize and John Nichols (Carlton), Neil Mann (Collingwood) and Kevin Wright (Fitzroy) came down to Central Park to judge the event.
On Sunday 30th July Eltham old players took on Greensborough in what is reported was an annual event. The game followed the junior ‘midget’ game at Central Park. A large crowd attended.
That years footy trip was to Kilmore. They stayed in the 3 hotels, went to the races and on the Saturday night had a function at the Kilmore Football Club.
Awards for 1967 were: Best & Fairest – Neville Withers, Runner Up – Greg Burgess, Most Determined – Bruce Wright, Most Consistent – John Birthisel, Best Teamman – Graeme Crapper, Best Utility was William Irvine
Graeme Crapper was joint Runner Up in the DVFL Best and Fairest. Robert Barrett won the 2nds B&F with G. ‘Dick’ Norman winning best team man.
Neville ‘Jumpy’ Withers (named DVFL’s Best) & John Birthisel represented the club for the DVFL against the West Gippsland League. Bruce Wright & Adrian Withers (under 21) and Robert Scott & Terry Rosewall (under 16) also were selected for DVFL representative honours.
Contribution from Alan Sheehan
Check out the history section on the website – Past results, Premierships, Captain Coaches, Best and Fairest Results plus more
A work in progress – Any help filling in any of the blanks most welcome