K rock Football

West farewells another great

Revered Geelong West figure Bill Polwarth has died. (Nitch Photography Image/Phillip Nitchie)

GEELONG West has lost arguably its most revered figure with the death of Bill Polwarth.

A long-serving and popular volunteer, Polwarth died on Thursday afternoon at the age of 86 after a lengthy battle with illness.

He joined Geelong West in the closing stages of its days in the VFA and from his “stable” inside the pavilion that would eventually be named in his honour, saw the Roosters merge with St Peter’s in 1989 and eventually become the Giants in 2017.

While players came and went from West Oval over the last 35 years, the one constant was the man affectionately known as “Mr Ed”.

“Many words will be spoken about Bill in the coming days, weeks and months. Chances are, none will accurately, and entirely, capture what he meant to our club,” the Giants said in a statement on social media.

“For many years he dedicated his service to the Geelong West, Geelong West St. Peter’s and Geelong West Giants Football clubs.

“It can be safely said that volunteers like Bill don’t grow on trees.

“As late as last season, he could be seen pushing a crate of water bottles precariously balanced on his walker out to the bench, or sharing lollies with the boys at half time.

“He gave his all until he could give no more.”

Polwarth was a life member at West and received the same honour from the GFL in 2010.

He was the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal in 2007.

Polwarth’s death comes just days after that of former timekeeper John Biviano.

Former player Paul Kelly led the tributes.

“I’m just so privileged to know him and his sense of humour,” Kelly wrote.

“Not once do I receive my jumper before game day and have a grumble all the time. Gosh, he kept us on our toes. 

“On 2.10 on Saturday I will have a long neck and have a stopwatch to see how long it takes me to drink it. 23 mins plus time on!

“To Billy and Johny! RIP all-time greats”

Current star Scott Frangos labelled him “the greatest of great men”.

“Did everything for the club. Never acted happy but deep down loved everyone involved,” Frangos wrote.

“Knew the ins and outs and didn’t like people going into his room and touching anything.

“You think Geelong West you think Billy Polwarth.”

Twitter: @tom_king79