Ted Neville - My Redan Story
How did you first become involved with Redan?
I started to follow Redan in 1946 the year the BFL was re-formed after the war. I lived in the Redan area opposite Neil Tresize who was Captain on the Redan U/16 side. He later won the U/18 League Best and Fairest, went on to be a champion rover with Geelong in the VFL and State Sports Minister.
You watched Redan’s first Premiership in 1946 as a 13 year old, what are your recollections of that game and which players impressed you most?
Redan beat Maryborough before a crowd of 13,000 at the Eastern Oval. Redan’s captain was Stan Webb who I believe was Redan’s best ever player. Other good players in that side were Ern and Clete Waller, Jack Atkinson, Eddie and Stan Jenkins, Eric Dalton, Joe Cassells, Walley Long, Tom Davies, Bob O’Brien.
I have been fortunate to witness all eleven of Redan's Senior Premierships through attending every BFL Grand Final since 1946.
Six years later the club for the only time in its history went Premiers and Champions. Not one member of the 1946 side was involved in the 1952 side, do you know why this was the case?
Most of the 1946 side had returned from the war and were getting on in age, the average age was 24 and half. Quite a few left to coach district sides. By 1952 age had caught up with them and most had retired.
Can you split those two sides?
The 1952 side were the greater of the two, especially going through the season undefeated and were much younger. They defeated Ballarat in the Grand Final before a packed crowd at the Eastern Oval led by former Essendon star Keith Rawle the playing coach who arrived in 1950 and was a brilliant player.
Len Templar, Leo Borrack and Doug Densch all went on to play VFL. Other good players that year were Keith Rawle, Bill Ebery, Max Lyle, Max Spitlle, Jack Papworth, Dinny and Frank Murphy and Bill Wells.
How did the side fare the following season?
The 1953 season was to disappoint, losing the Grand Final to Golden Point after finishing minor premiers.
The side was nearly the same as the undefeated 1952 side with the inclusion of Graham Willey and Centre Half Forward and Denis Lyons at Full Back.
I think Graham Willey was the best Centre Half Forward the club has ever had. He went on to Essendon and won their goal kicking in his first year.
Take us through the rest of the 1950s and 1960s and your new role with the club.
There was not much success in the late 1950s and mid 1960s but the club had good coaches in Jack Nuttall, Garry English and Bud Annand all former VFL players. They all did a great job for many years after their playing days.
Alby Lawless asked me to join the board in 1967. I was a member for six years, two years with Laurie McLachlan as President. The 1967 side were runners up to Golden Point.
You have served on the club board During the 1960s and 1990s, tell us about some of the accomplishments you were most proud of during those stints?
During the 1950s we would often have 7,000 to 8,000 watch our games. By the 1960s those crowds had halved so we needed to raise money in other ways.
We held a White Elephant Sale at the Western Oval Hall during Queen's Carnival and I went door to door collecting Auction Items. Alby Lawless was the President at the time and allowed us to store all these items at the Atlantic Hotel.
There was also a Players Concert held at the Lower Civic Hall.
On the field the side we were minor premiers in 1966 and 1967. This made it easier to raise funds. Bingo raised a lot of money for the club and we also ran extra sessions on Sunday afternoons.
During my second term on the board during the 1990s, it was a real struggle just to survive. Keeping the club going itself before the turnaround was a great accomplishment.
Poker machines halved our Bingo earnings so we had to think of other ways to keep the club going. The club raised money through delivering phone books and working as parking attendants at the Showgrounds. I also remember selling raffle tickets for a Meat Tray in Craig's Hotel on many occasions.
Netball also began during the 1990s and this also was a great thing for Redan.
John Northey was appointed Senior Coach in 1974. Take us through some of the players who impressed you most during Redan's one and only hat trick of Senior premierships.
Yes it all changed for the good with the arrival of John Northey in 1974. The 1975, 1976 and 1977 sides were wonderful sides well coached by John who was still playing great football himself.
At least six players played in all three sides, none better than Graeme Gellie. Graeme later coached St Kilda.
Other good players those years were John Northey, David Jenkins, Russell Tweeddale, Terry McAliece, Ian Baker, Peter Merriman and Jeff Lillingston.
The highlight was Doc Hepper’s goal to win the 1975 Grand Final. Russell Tweeddale, Ian Baker and Graeme Gellie went on to play VFL with Graeme later becoming coach of St Kilda.
We were Runners up in 1981 and 1984.
How did the Redan side of 1975-77 compare with some of the other great BFL Dynasties you have witnessed?
The three great dynasties in my time would be Geelong West of the 1950s, Redan of the 1970s and North Ballarat of the 1990s.
We touched on the club's plight during the 1990s earlier and in other interviews for this website. What are your thoughts on this period which served as another turning point for Redan?
The club were very poor though the 1990s with some very big defeats. I went back on the board in 1993 with Peter Loughnan and a couple of years with Raj Muker as President.
The coaches those years deserve a lot of credit for keeping the club going. Especially David Blackburn, Greg Lamb, Tony Saunders, Jason Mewett, Matt Jones, Marty Cusack as Senior Coaches and Bruce Wallis, Ian Pym, Terry McAlice, Ray Martin, Justin Catley and Carl Eddy as Reserves Coaches.
Two really good players and clubmen at the time were Brendan O’Brien and Brian Lovison. A big highlight was beating Daylesford at the City Oval to break a losing sequence of 75 games in August 1999.
Having played during the late 1990s when the club was on the brink of extinction, the side knew the likes of yourself would be there watching and supporting us every week. How tough was it watching the club you had invested so much energy into find itself in that position?
It was very tough to see the club struggling back in those days. The players tried their best but we simply couldn’t get numbers and had a small volunteer base.
I was team manager for many years and when the club was successful there was very little change with the team sheets from week to week. During the late 1990s, there were players coming and going from week to week as the club tried to simply field enough players.
The Save the Lions group and the appointment of Brett Quinlan were the catalyst for the turnaround. What are your memories of Grand Final day 2002 and your thoughts on the mark made by Brett?
Brett Quinlan's arrival changed the whole outlook, the will to win was there again. It became a lot easier to recruit players.
The 2002 Grand Final day was fantastic. It was a great win over Sunbury, a big win after a very tough game.
I remember the blue in front of the grandstand. It was great to see the side triumph as Sunbury had beaten us by 55 goals in the late 1990s. They were big celebrations.
Kieran Murrihy and Brendan Peace were also fantastic appointments and now dual Redan Premiership coaches. Tell us about your thoughts on their time at the helm.
Kieran and Brendan have both did a wonderful job as playing coaches plus the work they have put in around the club.
Six Premierships were to follow between 2002 and 2011 under Brett Quinlan, Kieran Murrihy and Brendan Peace. Which players impressed you most during this period?
Good players those years were Jarrod Edwards, Mark Kennedy, Dru Quinlan, Matt Dwyer, Matt Walsh, Julian Field, Brendan Peace, Kieran Murrihy, Aaron Freeland, Nathan Blomeley, Matt Pitt, Ash Barker, Ryan Knowles, Ryan Waight, Sam Giblett, Isaac Smith, Orren Stephenson and Brett Dickinson.
You helped select the Team of the century. How difficult was this and who were some of the unlucky players to miss out?
It was a very difficult process. We took into account contribution on and off the field along with Best and Fairest wins, Henderson Medals, Goal kicking awards, best players in certain positions however the only mandatory criteria was that they had played a full season with the club.
Bill 'Bomber' Wells was very close to making the side. He was a champion Full Forward who had played in the VFL with North Melbourne and St Kilda. He missed the 1952 Grand Final through suspension and was knocked out early the 1953 Grand Final. He won the BFL Goal Kicking award in 1950 with Maryborough,1952 and 1953 with Redan.
Other players who were very close to making the side were Bob Stewart, Peter Merriman Russell Tweeddale and David Jenkins.
In 2003 the Past Players and Officials Association renovated a house in Waller Avenue. How did this unfold and on what did the club spend the funds?
Russell Tweeddale generously allowed the club to renovate his family home and 35 volunteers from Redan spent a number of months cleaning and then renovating it. Dinny Murphy was the builder and Ken Delaland did the plumbing while John Lawless oversaw the project.
$25,000 was raised which the PPOA donated to the club for the installation of lights at the City Oval. The PPOA also held a Duck Race on Lake Wendouree. The funds were shared with Base Hospital for its dialysis unit.
You have seen countless champion players at Redan during your time, which players really stand out as the best of the best?
Stan Webb I regard as the best Redan player I have seen. He was an excellent finisher with a tremendous stab pass. Graham Willey would be the best key position player I have seen at the club, was a champion Centre Half Forward and later won Essendon Goal Kicking award.
The best players that have played at Redan apart from former coaches Keith Rawle, Jack Nuttall, Mick Phyland, Bud Annand and Garry English all having played VFL football before coming to Redan;
Stan Webb, Graham Willey, Less Borrack, Len Templar, Bill Ebery, Max Lyle, Bob Stewart, Graeme Gellie, Ken Nunn, Terry McAlice, Peter Merriman Russell Tweeddale, Colin Chester, Greg Packham, Michael Smith - outstanding player, two henderson medals and All Australian Country rep, Jarrod Edwards - had all skills, four Henderson Medals and All Australian Country rep, Isaac Smith - great player, triple Hawthorn Premiershuip player, Ryan Waight - brilliant mark, never wastes a kick and All Australian Country rep, David Jenkins, Bill McKenzie, Bill Wells, Bill Closter, Geoff Heyme, Barry Cheatley, Dru Quinlan, Ken Delaland, Matt Walsh and Julian Field.
Which of Redan’s Premierships really stands out?
1975 against East Ballarat when Brian ‘Doc’ Hepper kicked the winning goal on the siren from the boundary line. This was right in front of the scoreboard at the Eastern Oval.
Winning in 2002 after a 25 year drought as well.
Your family has had a strong connection with Redan, tell us about their involvement.
My brother Mick was a Junior Treasurer for ten years and a Junior Life Member. The club won U/16 and U/18 flags in 1947, 48 and 49. My other brother Tom was Golden Point Secretary for thirty years.
My nephew Tony Neville was top junior player and leading goal kicker in the Redan U/12s through to U/18s. His son Kirby has come up through the junior ranks starting out in the U/12. He was U/16s Co-Captain with Scott Whitting, played in an U/18 Premiership side and is now playing in the Reserves.
Which club has Redan had the greatest rivalry with over the years and how do those rivalries compared with today?
The rivalries were greater back then. Ballarat was the club we had the biggest rivalry with during in the 1950s and 1960s for the players and supporters.
Back then we shared the City Oval with Ballarat (1946-1994). In more recent years Sunbury would have been the club we have had the biggest rivalry with.
What did it mean to be named a life member of Redan?
I received my Life Membership in 1996. At the time I was not expecting it and was definitely a great honour.
Receiving the Best Clubman Phonse Weekes Award in 1994 was also terrific. Phonse Weekes was responsible for the Kiosk being built at the City Oval which is now also used by the Coaches and Time keepers.
Looking at the club today, what is the biggest change from RFC of 1946 and what about it is exactly as it was back then?
The biggest change from then to now is the cost involved of running clubs. Back in those days the crowds were much larger as I mentioned. Also the number of junior teams we have now plus the netball teams.
The Redan spirit is exactly the same.
1946 Grand Final
1975, 1976, 1977 Premiers
With Peter Loughnan, John Lawless & Bob Carpenter
With Isaac Smith
with Bill Dunstan 2016 Sponsors Day