Tony Quinney - My Redan Story
You joined Redan in 1968 in the Under 16s. Had you played elsewhere prior to this and what are some of your earliest memories as a junior?
I played Under 14s at Ballarat North Tech which since disbanded. I think we made finals or close each year.
In my last year of Under 18s I kicked ten goals straight and seven goals three in the first two games. The next week I played full back. The Firsts took six of our best players and although we got three back, we lost the Grand Final to Golden Point.
What were the highlights of your junior career with Redan and which coaches had the biggest impact on you?
Watching some amazing talent such as Greg Wood, Russell Tweeddale, Trevor Bennett, Ian Baker and Peter Eades and making friends, many of whom I am still close to today.
Stan Wallis & Tassie Coleman were great junior coaches and had immense success at various levels of the club.
You made your senior debut in 1972 Under Jeff Brisbane in a season where the club won seven games and the Dalton-Bayly Medallist was a 17yo Ron Andrews. Tell us about your first taste of senior football at Redan and a little about Ron Andrews who went on to play at Essendon.
I was a skinny kid, some would say I still am, playing against men. My speed was probably my saviour.
Ron Andrews was the toughest guy I have ever played with. By the way I think he was just 15 when he first played at Redan. We shared a room of the footy trip that year to Adelaide, he never got asked once his age in pubs whereas I did on quite a few occasions.
After a wooden spoon in 1973, the club appoints John Northey. The side manages to win ten games but falls in the Preliminary Final to eventual premiers Maryborough. Describe how Northey put his stamp on the club and set the tone for what was about to come?
It was a no questions approach about authority or what he and the club required. He was perhaps one of the best motivators that has ever been at Redan.
In 1975 the side finished on top of the ladder with fourteen wins. What was your role during that season and which players really took their game to the next level?
I started the year on the wing and we lost to Daylesford at home kicking 6 goals 24 points. I was the only player dropped. Back in after a week and played every game mainly as second rover to Peter Merriman. Shooter as he was known spent most of his day on the ball.
I managed to kick quite a few goals that year including the first two in the Grand Final. Ian Baker, Russ Tweeddale, Wayne Lyle, Darby Baxter, Terry McAliece, Dave Christie and Ken Nunn were standouts as lifting their games. Mind you it was a very good side.
East Ballarat find themselves leading Redan by under a kick with seconds remaining in the Grand Final at the Eastern Oval. The ball is kicked to Brian ‘Doc’ Hepper who marks in front of the Scoreboard just before the siren sounds. Take us through what happened next and how confident were you that he would split the middle?
It was a free from a kick out on the full, in fact I tackled my opponent on the goal line as he tried to clear it, resulting in Doc getting the kick. Doc ignored many leads & being super confident went back and kicked a truly legendary goal. You only have to ask him and he will tell you that!!
The memories fade but the kick out on the full was just deserts for that East player as he was the dirty mongrel that broke Wayne Lyle's jaw in the second quarter. Wayne never played again.
What are your recollection of the celebrations and the way the win impacted upon the club and some of the stalwarts?
I recall the ball went back to the centre and the siren sounded just after the ball was bounced. All hell broke loose and the next thing it was stacks on near the centre of the ground.
I have no idea how long this lasted but there were many hugs, slaps on the back and tears by many stalwarts of the club. The celebrations lasted a few days and I recall eight of us slept the night, or a few hours in any event, at Darby Baxter's terrace.
We managed to find a cafe the next morning and headed out to Swoopers (John Northey's) pub, the Farmers Arms at Creswick. The rest is history.
The following season the side went back to back defeating Golden Point in the Grand Final. Tell us about your season and what caused you to miss?
I finished Uni in 1975 so moved to Melbourne for work. That was the first year for many years I did not run professionally under Val Stewart and training became an issue.
The Firsts were an amazing side in any event, we lost the seconds to Ballarat. My brother David played with Ballarat and he does remind of that fact.
In 1977 the side made it a hat trick with a thirteen point win over North Ballarat in the Grand Final, the largest winning margin of the three. Which of 1975 and 1977 was the better of your two Grand Finals?
I had moved back to Ballarat so training was a great deal more intense. In the Grand Final I sat most of the day on the bench (no interchange in those days), despite Graeme Gellie being knocked out.
Being honest if John Geary had not broken his leg just before the finals I would likely not have got a game. 1975 meant more to me I guess as I played every minute and it was the first senior flag for 23 years.
How many of the 1975-77 premiership team players did you come up together with from the juniors?
No players from the years I went through the juniors with made it to those sides but looking back there were ten in 1975 and seven in each of 1976 & 1977 that came through Redan juniors. That is a credit to the club.
John Northey was appointed Assistant Coach for season 1978 and Redan’s new coach was former Hawthorn player David Albiston. The side won five games and missed the finals and finished wooden spooners the following season. What were some of the reasons for the rapid decline?
From memory we lost a lot of players to the VFL and the side did not seem to gel as well under David. I do not recall specific reasons for the decline.
Tell us about your season with Rokewood-Corindhap in 1979 and what was the main reason you decided to play there?
I began post graduate study to become a Chartered Accountant which involved study every day for 15 months and I could not dedicate much time to training at all.
I knew quite a lot of the guys at Rokewood-Corindhap and they were a great club. In fact we won the flag under Jeff Lillingston and I also played with Peter Le Lievre who went on to become a great Redanie.
Both yourself and John returned to Redan in 1980. The side managed five wins that season but made the Grand Final against Golden Point in 1981 but fell by 54 points. Did you play in the match and how many of your premiership teammates were still part of the side?
I did not play in the 1981 Grand Final but did play in the seconds and were beaten. If I recall correctly, Eric Lowe knocked out Greg Packham at the first bounce and that was pretty much it.
Who do you rate as the best players you played alongside and your toughest opponent?
Graeme Gellie, Russ Tweeddale, John Northey, Peter Merriman, Terry McAliece and Wayne Lyle were amazing players.
One guy I did rate and that we did not see the best of was Peter Eades who sadly moved on and then was killed in a car accident.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
Average player that was extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Had a few very good moments but tried hard.
What made John Northey such a great coach and describe the game style he tried to employ?
John expected nothing less of his players than of himself. He played with some major injuries and I saw him take some massive hits.
He backed his players 100% and knew how to manage players individually not just as a collective. His game plan was to create space and play on at every opportunity and then back up your team mates.
Tell us about the great Val Stewart and the role he played in the club’s success as its head trainer for 36 years?
A true legend at Redan and in many other areas. Val was my athletics coach for about four years and we had many a great trip to country meets including Stawell.
I do owe him a great deal for my opportunities at a senior level as much as I do anyone, although after training it did feel as if you wanted to die from exhaustion.
One of Val's many great facets was that he never knocked back treating anyone including players from any club anywhere.
Following this time you moved to QLD and played with Maroochydore. Tell us about your experience there and the standard of football up there.
I played with ex Lion Steve Wilson and we won the flag under Shane Johnson who went on to be involved at the Brisbane Lions. I was appointed assistant coach in my second year but had to return to Victoria for work.
You moved back home and played a few more games with Redan but would you like to tell us about your final game with the club?
Unfortunately I recall it all too vividly. Playing Maryborough up there it was just before half time. Gary Bennett was fighting an opponent on their knees. I was jogging past not even watching and a wayward haymaker missed Gary and struck me right in the proverbials.
Not a pretty sight at all with severe swelling,etc. I recall throwing my boots inside the rooms never to be seen again. I guess I just played that one game too many!!!
You maintained an involvement with the club following your playing days including serving as Director of Finance and Club President in 1985. By the late 1990s the club was on the brink of extinction, tell us about the lead up to 1998 and the formation of the Save the Lions group.
We had a very young family and I had started a new accounting business, thus it was a difficult time. I did serve the one term as president but it became almost impossible to juggle everything.
I did resume my involvement when the club was in difficulty. Save The Lions came about through a crisis meeting where I suggested that I would head a group to eliminate the club debt as long as others were prepared to help.
History suggests that the call was heeded as many came to the fore including a chap I had never met before by the name of Craig Jackson. He gave me his card and said call me I want to help. That was the start of his long involvement at the club.
That's the sort of person the club then started to attract along with many great past players and officials.
Is there a particular time or event where you thought the club’s future was secured and could you believe the side would be premiers only four years later?
It was probably not until Brett Quinlan's second year that I firmly believed the club would survive. That first win against Sunbury at the City Oval was probably one of the highlights.
Describe what the 2002 win did for the club and meant to those people who kept it going through the 80s and 90s?
Defeating Sunbury was akin to winning in 1975 and the atmosphere was very similar. The bond created between everyone is something that nothing will change and is the reason the club has kept going so well ever since.
You’ve seen six premierships since these darks days, what do you see as the keys to Redan remaining healthy on and off the field?
A very tough question. I have always seen financial responsibility as the key. No point in winning flags if you cannot pay your debts.
Harmony between everyone is the other key, ensuring the club at all levels moves in the right direction. It makes everyone feel part of the club moving forward.
You’ve been awarded Life Membership and inducted into the Club Hall of Fame. What did those two honours mean to you?
To be honest a great deal. Apart from two years away, I played my entire career after U/14 at Redan.
To be considered worthy of being alongside some extremely wonderful and talented Redanies is a massive privilege.
How much of a thrill was it to see your children playing football and netball with the maroon and gold?
It was a genuine thrill and privilege as not everyone experiences such an event. The timeframe was short but great fun as well.
What advice do you have for the junior footballers and netballers stating their careers at Redan?
It is not what the club can do for you but what you can do for the club.
Be prepared to give in as many ways as possible and the returns will be a multiplier beyond your imagination.
Train hard to reach your peak and success will follow, as will the good times socially.
Good luck to all concerned at the club going forward, it has been my honour to have been involved at such a great club.