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Barry Cheatley - My Redan Story

August 2020

Who or what was it that attracted you to join Redan?

Apart from school football (Smythesdale & Black Hill State plus Ballarat High) – I commenced with Wendouree Under Sixteens – it was close to where I lived. In 1955 I turned 16 in January – Wendouree decided to discontinue their under age teams (not sure why) so I was free to go to any club of my choice.


Whilst I did not play with them (little older) I was always impressed with the Carpenter boys – Bob and Fred. I would stay and watch the U/18 after we played.  Accordingly I chose Redan although the Western Oval was the furthest from where I lived.  I certainly made the right choice.

What were some of your highlights coming up through the junior ranks?

Obviously being a part of the team to win the 1955 U/18 Premiership against Golden Point at the White Flat oval – my first year with Redan.  Many of my fellow team players become great Redan senior players. Great times with the proverbial ‘pie nights’ and learning more and more along the way. I played another season in 1956 with the U/18’s (Olympic Games year).

Who were some of the coaches you played under at Redan that had the biggest influence on you?


Eddie Skilbeck – Keith Rawle and Jack Nuttall were my coaches – all great mentors.   

Tell us about the impact of Keith Rawle on Redan and what made him such a great coach.

Keith Rawle was also a great bloke – had a tremendous record with Essendon prior to coming to Redan.  Was an excellent communicator and was a credit to our Club both on and off the field.

Who was the toughest opponent you played against in the BFL and the best player at Redan during your time?


Tough question – long time ago – 63 years.   Jim Gull from Daylesford was a worthy opponent  - Actually I commenced as a forward player in the Seniors in 1957-  Best player at Redan in my playing days - Pass please – too many to select just one – many fine players.

In 1958 you returned from injury to play in a Reserves Premiership. Was this your first premiership with the club and how did it compare with some of your other achievements?

Actually I was still in Ballarat in 1958 – playing Seniors.  Then I was called to complete National service in the Army at Puckapunyal – 17/5/1958 to 1/8/1958- 77 days – therefore I missed most of the season and accordingly was able to be a member of the Reserves Premiership – my second with the Club – absolutely another great thrill.  


Any Australian Rules player will value being a member of a Premiership team above all individual achievements – in my opinion.

The following year you arrived at Arden Street and played your first of 81 games with North Melbourne under Wally Carter. What are your recollections of your first game and who was your opponent?

Yes I was given six match permits to play with North Melbourne in 1959. Played first four games in the Reserves and selected as 19th/20th in Round 5 (did not go on field) and Round 6 went on in the concluding minutes.  Did not touch the ball however.  


Came back to play with Redan when I could as I had joined the Victoria Police Force in early 1959.  I was cleared to play with North in 1960.  My first selected full game was in Round 2 against Footscray at Arden Street – started at CHB – My opponent was the late and great Ted Whitten. I was shifted to Full back at quarter time (thank God) where I stayed for all of my games with a great club. 

I am proud of the fact that after being selected for my first full game – I was never dropped. Yes I commenced under Wally Carter and finished under Alan Killigrew (1963/1964).  By way of interest I had signed a form four to play with Footscray in late 1956 with the assistance of one of my mentors at Redan – Geoff Opie. The form  expired in late 1958 and accordingly, I was able sign to play with the Kangaroos (another story).

You also played under Allan Kilgrew, what were both men like to play under?

Both coaches were very different.  Wally was perhaps ‘old school’ – he was basic – had a more simplistic approach  to coaching – coached North to Finals in 1949 & 1950 (Grand Final) and 1958.


Wally also coached Williamstown in the V.F.A. – won three successive Premierships in 1954/55/56.


Alan was also very basic in his coaching. I can well remember many of his sayings –“Get to the fall of  

the ball”.    “Loose men kill you”. – True even today.   He was an inspiring and motivational person –  

over- come great adversity in his younger days.   Well known in Ballarat.   He also coached St.Kilda


What were your highlights and best memories of your time with North Melbourne?

An excellent question.  Since this is my REDAN story I will keep my answer short. Fortunate to be asked to join the Club full time in late 1971 – the next nigh on twenty years (1990) by far the best of my working life. 


Highlights – the Clubs’ first Premiership in 1975 and second in 1977. Six Grand Finals in succession. To be a member of the off field team was absolutely sensational.  Memories – too many to mention.  Regrets – none.


Who were some of the Full Forwards who gave you the most trouble and who did you feel was the best player you shared a field with during your career?

Played on many including Doug Wade, Tom Carroll, Bill Young, Ron Evans, Garry Young, John Peck, Murray Weideman, Terry Waters, Charlie Payne.  Perhaps hardest – John Peck. 


Shared field with the following – gee, I was most fortunate to be on the field with the following – all of whom are AFL Legends – alphabetically Messrs Ron Barassi, Darrel Baldock, Graham Farmer, Kevin Murray, John Nicholls, Bob Skilton, Ian Stewart and Ted Whitten (Many of whom I still keep in touch).


 # Played with at North Melbourne -  Allen Aylett, Ken Dean, John Dugdale, # Laurie Dwyer, Gerald 

Eastmure, Michael Gaudion, Albert Mantello, # Bernie McCarthy, Daryl O’Brien, Peter Steward,   

Noel Teasdale and # John Waddington.  # Passed away. I keep in touch with all others regularly.


What were your strengths as a full back and how much planning would go into your opponent each week?

Judgement and anticipation and the ability to punch the ball away from my opponents when appropriate. I had great mentors in this regard.  Others have stated I was an excellent drop and punt kick.  Yes, I always knew of my opponent  (selected) and would endeavor to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses.   Not always successful though.

Jock McCorkell was Full Back at North Melbourne pre and post WWII finishing up in 1953 and coached the club prior to your arrival. Did you ever speak to him about playing on the great John Coleman and how do you think you may have fared if your careers had of lined up?

Jock McCorkell played 167 games with North Melbourne as a full back.  I did meet him personally but did not ask about playing on the great John Colemen.   I wish I had though as I would have been able to learn from him.   Mr McCorkell was a an excellent player I have been told and coached our Club in 1954/55.  By way of interest one of his sons John is my GP – a great bloke.


Second part of your question – do you mean me playing on John Coleman?   That would have been awesome -    many many people class John Coleman as the greatest full forward of all time.  I know Doug Wade is one of them. Coleman kicked 537 goals in his career of 98 games at an average of 5.48- Second only to Peter Hudson – 727 in 129 games at average of 5.64. ( Only two who are above 5 goals average per game).


How much of a difference was there between the VFL and BFL back then compared with the AFL and BFL today?


A huge difference in both scenarios  -   which I believe is understandable.  I am however impressed with the standard of today in the BFL.  I have seen many games to voice that opinion.

Where do you stand on the AFL’s decision to scrap Grand Final replays following your own experience of one in 1977?

Only been three in the Leagues history – 1948 Melbourne won the replay from Essendon by 39 points-   1977 North won the replay from Collingwood by 27 points-  2010 Collingwood won the replay from St.Kilda by 56 points.  Great trivia question.  


I agree with the new rules of playing extra time - completely fair to both teams in my opinion.


With much made of Stadium deals at Marvel for tenant clubs, do you see more of a role for boutique venues such as Mars Stadium in the next 20 years? Would you expect nine sides in Melbourne by that stage?

Yes I do.  Television is more important than attendances which has been proven by the $$$.  Boutique venues in my opinion ,  great for the game, their location and even more necessary for the people in those locations.  Yes -  Ballarat, Launceston, Hobart, country towns etc. – wherever -  as long as it does not impede our country leagues.   


What do you make to the AFL's foray into new markets in the past decade?

Do not agree with teams on Gold Coast and the second in Sydney.  Do agree with the games in Tasmania and would like to see a new AFL team based there instead.


How would you describe the Shinboner spirit?

Another very good question – we all have a different way of perhaps saying what basically is the same.  My version – “ Where there is nothing to lose by trying and a great deal to gain if successful –by all means try.  And give it always your best shot – never give in.”


Comment.   It is something very special that countless people at North Melbourne over many years have acquired  -  referred to as “The Shinboner spirit”.


Is Wayne Carey the best player to have played the game and who is the greatest full back of all time?

Wayne Carey is the best player I have seen at North.  Best player to have played our great game of Aussie Rules – sorry – pass – too difficult. 

Best full backs I have seen play -  David Dench followed by Geoff Southby. 

How much of an honour was it to be named Full Back in Redan’s Team of the Century?

Extremely proud.  To be a member of this team – a great honour and one of the highlights of my sporting career.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to all the Redan junior boys and girls playing Full Back?

Yes – apply my three “L’s” -  Look  - Listen  & Learn from all around you – especially your Coaches and elders.


Comment.   I was very fortunate to have three ‘Mentors’ in Ballarat – Don Riddell -  Evan Hicks and Geoff Opie (already mentioned).  All of whom had a profound influence on me both in sport and life which I was most grateful.   Coincidentally, all three had a strong  association with the Redan Football Club.


May I also add that on my many visits to see Redan play over the past X years I have been most impressed with the number of former Players, Administrators, Board and Committee members, staff etc who I see still assisting the club in so many ways – be it at the gates, on the fence,  in the Den, Club Rooms - I also observe the club is currently in good hands with the current administration.  A credit to all.



Barry Cheatley 2
1958 Basketball - Bill Dunstan, Barry Ch

With Ian Pym and Peter Hudson

With Peter Hudson 2018

Marking contest with John Peck of Hawthorn

Redan Basketball side 1958

Playing against Jim Gull at the City Oval.

Team trip to Warburton 1958.

Taking on Geelong West, Sam Stein over his shoulder.


Top             Cal Howlett*, Bill Burge

Next row    Graeme Gibb,  Fred Carpenter, Michael Lynch*

Next            Don Robinson*, Greg Herdman*,  Bob Carpenter*,  Bill Dunn

                    Alan Henderson, Neil Wood*,  Rob Stewart*,  Eric Tonks*

Next            Stan Jacobi*,  Jack Nuttall*,  Cotch Halliday*, Val Stewart*

                    Eddie Skilbeck*,  Barry CheatleyBill Dunstan*

Front           Ian Burt*,  Ken Campbell*,  Graeme Weightman*,  Robert Hovey*,  Jim Wilson

*Passed away

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