ROBBIE ORRMAN - 2014
In the 1940's there was a tall young athletic looking blonde haired lad called Robbie Orrman having a run with the Shepparton Youth Club football team in a local competition. He played in the ruck and was coached by former Carlton player Jim Morris who taught him how to palm the ball. Robbie lived opposite the Youth Club in a house next to his families motor business. But suddenly Robbie was missing from local football as he ventured to Melbourne to undertake studies in engineering.
During his time in Melbourne Robbie played football with Ormond in the Amateur Competition where he won the best and fairest award.
On his return to Shepparton and the family business, Robbie joined the Lemnos Swans whose home ground at that time was the Shepparton Showgrounds opposite Orrman's Garage. He soon came under notice, as his time in Melbourne had seen him develop well. His height and athleticism made him stand out as he palmed the ball with wonderful precision. He was an extremely fair player who loved the game and was loved by the Swan supporters who were mesmerised by Robbie's ability to play at his top week after week. The umpires were also impressed, so much so that their combined votes made him the best and fairest player in the League in 1951 as he won the Morrison Medal.
League scouts from Melbourne were soon on the scene trying to entice the lanky ruckman to the VFL. But Robbie was well settled back in Shepparton and chose to stay with the Swans.
The GVL selectors were also impressed with his talents and he was the first ruckman picked in the GVL team.
His consistent good form always put him up near the top of voting and it was no surprise when he won his second Morrison Medal in 1954.
Two years later in the Olympic year of 1956 Robbie added to his sporting achievements when he was chosen to join other elite Goulburn Valley athletes to carry the Olympic torch during the torch relay, as it passed through Shepparton on its way to the MCG.
Robbie was busy with his family, building up their motor business to be a leading motor car dealership in the Goulburn Valley. However he still made it to training and turned out each week to wear the red and white with distinction. Robbie was well known as one of the fairest players in the League and his quiet disposition made him a favourite with football people throughout the Goulburn Valley.
1959 was a big year for the Lemnos giant as his brilliance around the ground and in the ruck, gave the Swans first use of the ball. His team mates responded and performed so well that the Swans won the 1959 premiership defeating Kyabram by 39 points. Merv Williams from the Sporting Globe was at the game and wrote that Robbie Orrman dominated the ruck and marked well, resting in defence. Orrman's contribution to the Swans flag was magnificent and in Lemnos's first GVL premiership year he became the first GVL player to win the Morrison medal on three occasions.
Robbie Orrman won the Swans best and fairest award six times and is regarded as one of the best ever Lemnos players.
Robbie Orrman was the epitome of a great sportsman, a thorough gentleman, a fabulous athlete and a wonderful team player who exuded class in everything he did. His induction into the GVL Hall of Fame will be well received by everyone who was lucky enough to see him play.