K rock Football

Reflections on a rivalry

Paul Welsh and Peter Murrihy reminisce about the last BFL-GDFL meeting in 1989. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

TWO of the players involved in the last meeting between the Bellarine and Geelong and District leagues have welcomed the renewal of a rivalry that fizzled out after just three years.

The 1989 clash between the Sharks and Raiders under lights at West Oval was the third consecutive year the pair had played each other.

However, despite discussions in the years that have passed about the publicity such a match-up would bring, we’ve had to wait until now for the BFL and GDFL to go into battle again.

“Just with the way the AFL Victoria structures it (interleague), it’s hard,” Paul Welsh, who was the coach of Newcomb in 1989 and is now on the GDFL executive, said.

“They like you to play other leagues, but it would be good if the GDFL played Colac (League) one year and the Bellarine the following year.

“It’s interesting to play other leagues, but it would be good if we had that rivalry.”

Peter Murrihy, who was coaching Geelong Amateur on their return to the GDFL, couldn’t believe it was 30 years since the previous meeting.

“To think 30 years ago… it’s amazing how time flies,” he said.

“I was aware they hadn’t played for a while, but to think that Paul and I were part of that match between the two leagues… yeah, it’s disappointing, but there are reasons for it.”

Played on Wednesday, May 31, conditions were far from conducive for attractive football, with the Phil Sarah-coached Bellarine holding off the GDFL, led by Kevin Hannan, 8.18 (66) to 8.10 (58)

“It was a terrible night, the conditions were woeful,” Murrihy said.

“It was raining, and it was so cold. I can remember the crowd, and there weren’t many people there.

“But once the ball was bounced the competitive juices kicked in and it was a close game all night, eight goals apiece. It was a good game.”

Welsh, who played plenty of football at West Oval during Geelong West’s VFA stint, admits it was the last place he wanted to be.

“And we had to back up (the next Saturday). We played the weekend before, on Wednesday night and on the Saturday again,” he said.

“I was 29 at that stage, and for blokes like me it was hard to pull up, but you were playing for the local league, so you went in and had a crack.”


Twitter: @tom_king79


May 31, 1989

West Oval

BELLARINE  0.6, 3.8, 6.8, 8.18 (66)
GEELONG & DISTRICT  0.3, 0.5, 4.9, 8.10 (58)
GOALS: Bellarine: A. Mannix 3; G. Pavey 2; W. Lewis; A. Monahan; D. Cayzer. Geelong & District: M. Lomas 3; R. Dubbeldam 2; P. Meeson; W. Bunge; R. McMahon
BEST: BFL: N. Gibson; D. Smyth; A. Mannix; B. O’Keefe; D. Bisset; GDFL: R. Nelson; J. Catanach; P. Murrihy; S. Luke; A. Nelis



B: Garry O’Callaghan, Bernard Purcell, Tyrone Jones
HB: Gary Crameri, Geoff Brethouwer, Geoff Fidler
C. Brad Luke, Neil Gibson, Chris Taylor
HF: Paul Humphrey, Gavin Pavey, Tony Monahan
F: Russell Wingrave, Daryl Bisset, Paul Welsh
R: Brian O’Keefe, Damien Cayzer, Wes Lewis
I/C (from): Anthony Mannix, Rod Taylor, Dale Smyth, Dean McNeill, Chris Haddock, Rod Williams, Rod Grant
Coach: Phil Sarah


B: Andrew Spina, Rob Nelson, Michael Wood
HB: Peter Murrihy, Alan Dell, Mark Yates
C: Russell Hearn, Russell McMahon, Dean Manson
HF: Robin Rattawa, Wayne Bunge, Troy Renfrey
F: Paul Meesen, Mark Lomas, Rod Dubbeldam
R. Tony Field, Sam Luke, Adrian Nelis
I/C: Jason Cattanach, Darryn McNamara, Kevin Keogh, Glenn Milne.
EMG: Paul Johns
Coach: Kevin Hannan