K rock Football

Cats plan memorial for Polly

‘Polly’ Farmer in action on debut for Geelong in Round 1, 1962. (Bob Gartland Collection)

A PUBLIC memorial is being considered by Geelong as a way to pay tribute Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer.

Farmer died on Wednesday morning at the age of 84 after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease lasting more than 20 years.

He played 101 games for the Cats and coached the club for three years between 1973-75.

“We have a few plans,” CEO Brian Cook said. “It would be a little bit forward of me to say what they are.

“We’re hoping that there’s a state funeral in Perth; we’ll send people there, of course.

“And, hopefully, we can have some sort of memorial service here around the same time.”

Cook led the tributes for Farmer, who’s resume is unrivalled in the history of Australian Football.

“He was an icon of the footy club,” Cook said

“He thrilled the crowds with the way he took the ball before its peak and handballed before he landed.

“He was an innovator in football, he was courageous in football.

“He was one of the first adventurers, I reckon, in relation to trying to change the game, and that’s what we remember about Polly.”

Billy Goggin had a front-row seat to all of Farmer’s career at Geelong, forming a dynamic ruck-rover duo that helped the Cats to the 1963 premiership and a grand final in 1967.

“There were many champion players from Western Australia, but they call him “The Master”; he was just above everyone else,” Goggin said.

“He was everything. He could mark; he could kick; he didn’t fumble the ball.

“He played against Victoria up in Brisbane one year and they beat Victoria, and the reason they beat them was because of what Polly Farmer did.”

Goggin says remained grounded despite his status.

“He was a pretty normal person, and that’s how he came across to everyone,” he said.

“He was an outstanding footballer, as well as being an outstanding person.”

Gary Ablett Junior, whose father Gary Senior wore the No.5 made famous by Farmer, was among the current day players to pay tribute.

“Dad got to know Polly over the years – I haven’t had a chance to speak to Dad yet – but I’m sure Dad’s saddened by the news,” Ablett Junior said.

“I’m sure the footy club will really get around his family and make sure that they feel supported through this time.”

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