Life membership for three former locals
29 Jun, 2012 04:00 AM
THREE former Mid-Murray footballers have been awarded Geelong Football Club life memberships.
Bert Worner from Tyntynder, Colin Rice from Swan Hill and John Sharrock from Tooleybuc were all born and bred in Swan Hill and received life memberships at a club function earlier this month.
The trio were among 28 past and present Geelong players who were awarded with life memberships, including current captain Joel Selwood.
They join some illustrious company, including both Gary Abletts, Bob Davis, Sam Newman, Billy Brownless, Graham 'Polly' Farmer and Fred Flanagan who was also recruited from Swan Hill.
Rice, who turns 74 in July, said he was honoured to be presented with the prestigious award, especially alongside fellow Mid-Murray success stories Flanagan, Sharrock and Worner.
"It is a real honour and it was a great night," he said.
"When you think there was one from Tooleybuc, Swan Hill and Tyntynder, plus Fred Flanagan in the roowm. It is a real feather in the Mid Murray's cap," he said.
Rice said he first went to Kardinia Park as a wide-eyed teenager from Swan Hill.
"I can still remember coming down on the train from Swan Hill in 1957 with a suitcase in my hand. I didn't know what to expect," he said.
He played his last game in Geelong's 1963 VFL premiership win over Hawthorn in a career spanning 97 games and was a Carji Greeves medallist as Geelong's best and fairest in 1959.
Rice is thankful for the lifelong friendships formed from his seven years at the Cats.
Similarly, John Sharrock was recruited from Tooleybuc and was also rewarded for his time at Kardinia Park.
After winning the mid-murray senior best and fairest in 1962 as an 18-year-old from Tooleybuc, Sharrock walked straight into the 1963 Geelong premiership side.
He played most of his career as a half forward flanker and spent a lot of 1966 at fullback and excelled, finishing third in the Brownlow Medal.
A knee injury brought the Tooleybuc boy's 94 game career to an end.
Bert Worner, who is now 83, was recruited from Tyntynder and was an extremely fast half back flanker for the Cats and played in the 1951 and 1952 premierships.
His family name remains synonymous with the Tyntynder Football Club.
The three new inductees maintains Swan Hill's strong track record of grooming top footballers for the Geelong Football Club, but Fred Flanagan is still the most famous of the pick.
A 163-game legend at the Cats, Flanagan is also in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.