K rock Football

Coutas lose a legend

QUEENSCLIFF is mourning the loss of one the club’s greatest figures following the death of Arnie Bench.

Bench, who featured in the Coutas stunning period of success in the 1960s when it won seven Polwarth league premierships during the 1960s, died on the weekend as a result of illness at the age of 89.

“Arnie and his wife Marg (deceased) are regarded as true legends of our football club for their contributions both on and off the field,” a statement on the Queenscliff Facebook page said.

“Our club is so much richer for all that Arnie did for our club, and we will miss seeing him on a Saturday afternoon cheering on his beloved Coutas.”

Bench played 37 VFL games for Fitzroy in the mid-1950s before taking a playing coach role with Warracknabeal in Victoria’s Wimmera Mallee region.

His arrival at Queenscliff coincided with one of the most dominant periods in local football across the Geelong region.

The Coutas won five consecutive flags between 1961-65 and then went back-to-back in 1967-68.

For his on-field efforts, Bench was named in the Queenscliff Team of the Century.

Following his retirement, Bench had coaching and off-field roles at the club, including as president.

His son Gerard is the club’s games record holder having played 339 matches in red, white and blue.

Bench is a life member of both Queenscliff and the Bellarine Football League, and was given the honour of being inducted as the first life member of the Queenscliff Community Sports Club.

Twitter: @tom_king79