CHRIS Salter was a fiercely determined rover in the true rover mould over a 13-year playing career with the Kyabram Football Club from the mid 1960s through to the 1970s.
Fearless and relentless he never took a backward step and revelled when the going got tough and the tough got going.
He wasn’t the most gifted player to pull on a Kyabram jumper but certainly among the most big-hearted and courageous. A genuine hard nut.
He started his senior career with the Bombers in the 1965 side under coach Charlie Stewart, which lost an epic grand final to Shepparton, the third of three agonising successive premiership losses to Tom Hafey-coached Shepparton sides.
In his Kyabram career, which spanned 264 games — 206 at senior level — in which he kicked 279 goals, Chris played under seven senior coaches — Charlie Stewart, Paul Wadham, Fred Wooller, Geoff Sharp, Ron Auchettl, Peter Lyon and Barry Sullivan.
He was in the drought-breaking flag-winning Peter Lyon-coached side in 1975 and was in Kyabram runner-up teams in 1970 (to Lemnos), 1973 (Shepparton) and Echuca (1977).
He coached Kyabram reserves sides in 1975, 1976 and 1977.
His GVL playing days finished at the end of the 1977 season when he took on the coaching job with Kyabram District Football League Lancaster.
In 1980 Chris was successful in moulding a premiership side with the Wombats, ending a flag drought that stretched back to the early 1930s.
He also played in the 1981 Kelly Hewitt-coached Lancaster premiership side before hanging up the boots.
Chris returned to Kyabram in 1982 to coach the Kyabram senior side for one year. He also had another one-year stint at the coaching helm in 1986.
He also pursued a career in local politics, which lasted eight years and included a two-year term as the Mayor of Kyabram.
Chris said on being asked to select his best team in his playing and coaching days with the club he focused on his playing days rather than his two coaching stints.
He said in naming his best side he would also like to acknowledge the workings of country football clubs, which need so many unsung heroes to make them click.
‘‘The dedication of the committees, trainers, runners, ground keepers, gate keepers, sponsors and all those other voluntary workers working behind the scenes who enable coaches to try to achieve the best results should never be underestimated,’’ Chris said.
‘‘There is just no club without these people and supporters. In my playing days I very much took everything for granted but coaching gave me the insight into the amazing behind-the-scenes contributions of so many. From my coaching days at Kyabram I will always be grateful for the support of my committees and presidents in Harry Castles and John Phyland.’’
Chris had no hesitation in naming GVL legend and dual Tongala premiership coach Des Campbell as the best player in his time in the GVL.
‘‘He could star at either end of the ground as a goal kicker and interceptor. A true allrounder.’’
And Chris named Euroa hard nut Micky Peel as his toughest opponent.
‘‘He was very rugged and tough also pretty skilful,” Chris said.
He said playing under so many coaches and with so many teammates had produced a real challenge for him to name his best Kyabram side.
Chris Salters’ best Kyabram team from his playing days:
Backs: Bernie Harlen, Paul Rowlands, John Lilford
Half backs: Ron Auchettl, Greg Kirkman, Geoff Cox
Centres: Maurie Wingate, Charlie Stewart, Frank Fanning
Half forwards: Peter Lyon, Ross Dillon, Rod Bray
Forwards: Maurie Fowler, Dick Clay, Fred Wooller
Rucks: Paul Wadham, Ron Stone, Peter Warburton
Interchange: Ian Burgess, Terry Devery, Geoff Sharp, Mick Craven, Bob Ferguson, Graeme Haslem.
NEXT WEEK: GVL legend David Williams names his best Kyabram side in his time at Kyabram.
● Lancaster Football Club lost a true stalwart and gentleman with the passing of Jack Warren late last week at the grand old age of 96.
Jack was a local farmer who had a great passion for the Lancaster club he served as a player and administrator, including a 10-year term as president from 1960 to 1969.
Jack actually started his playing career with the Wyuna Football Club in the late 1940s but when it folded in the early 1950s he threw his lot in with Lancaster.
When writing his memories in the late Elden Wade’s Lancaster Football Netball Club centenary book launched in 2010, Jack said he thought there were better things to do than be slipping around on wet grounds nearly every week so he decided to swap his Wombats jumper for a white goal umpire's coat for the club, a chore he carried out for 15 years.
I have some very fond memories of Jack from my days at Lancaster, particularly those fundraising nights for the club hay-carting on his property.
Jack was rewarded for his devotion to the club in 1969 when it awarded him with a life membership.
● It will again be a family affair in the senior coaching posts at Tongala Football Netball Club next year.
Paige Wade, partner of reappointed senior footy coach Jordan Souter, will again take control of the club’s A grade netballers.
● Goulburn Murray Cricket officials are keeping an eye on the border restrictions as the 2020-21 season approaches.
The season is expected to kick off on the weekend of November 7-8 but Moama Cricket Club is the concern at this stage.
If COVID-19 border restrictions don’t ease it may be left in limbo.
Under current border restrictions, people living in Victoria can’t enter NSW to play sport.
An October 10 start was originally planned but the move back to stage three coronavirus restrictions prompted GM officials to make the change.
The plan is for all men’s grades to play on the Saturday and the women’s divisions on the Sunday.
● Steven Stroobants will still coach Rochester Football Club in 2021.
The goalkicking utility was to take charge this season for the first time but that was thwarted by coronavirus.
However Stroobants’ job was never in jeopardy according to president Jeff Bright who declared: ‘‘I don’t think you could find a better first-year coach. Steven has done everything the club has asked of him and more, keeping in constant contact with the playing group and updated on everything that has been happening.’’
● I’m still very suspicious about salary caps in football.
The recent announcement by AFL Goulburn Murray about reduced player payment caps, including a 29 per cent cut on GVL clubs, which has left them with $125,000 instead of $175,000 a season to buy players and coaches.
Clubs have naturally embraced the new limit, which greatly reduces the volunteer work rate required in meeting financial commitments in tough economic times due to the coronavirus.
But will every club play ball?
Club presidents will shoulder a lot of responsibility in toeing the line to ensure player and coaching payments remain within the new cap.
But history shows when clubs get themselves into a position to make a serious challenge for a flag, underhand player payments have and always will be an issue.
What’s stopping a supporter sneaking a few hundred dollars into the back pocket of a player each week to keep him at a club or to join another club?
It just can’t be policed.
You only have to look back a few weeks when Hawthorn legend Don Scott alleged his club had a secret Tasmanian player payment account during a halcyon period of its history.
The silence from Hawthorn over the allegations was deafening.
● Yes, I was clean bowled. First ball.
My news last week in these columns announcing the death of the Murchison Cricket Club was grossly exaggerated.
In fact it was the Toolamba Cricket Club that had gone into recess, not Murchison.
I’ll be straight up and take all the blame. Murchison president Darryn Rowney gracefully said his club accepted my apology and said no damage had been done. In fact Darren said it had actually generated some positives for his club.
Darryn said his club was in a very healthy state and could field up to six teams (three junior and three senior sides) in Cricket Shepparton this season.
● Murray Football League clubs Deniliquin Rams, Barooga and Cobram have named their senior football coaches for 2021.
Deniliquin will have the same senior coaching team again in 2021.
Multiple premiership players with the club Tim Holobowski and Sam Hall, who were to do the job this year, have both been reappointed for next season.
Following the resignation of Zac Brain, Barooga has named former AFL player Tim Hargreaves to take on the job.
Hargreaves, who played 62 games with Hawthorn and 20 with Geelong from 1994-98, is a former star Barooga player who was with the club between 2015 and 2017. He is originally from Berrigan but has coached and played with Yarrawonga, Rennie and Mulwala footy clubs.
Cobram will again be coached by John Brunskill, who was to make his debut in the role this year but was foiled by COVID-19.
● Phil O’Brien, who recently passed away at Nagambie’s Lakeview Lodge Hostel, was assistant coach of Hawthorn when it won its first VFL/AFL flag in 1961.
Phil played 86 games for the Hawks between 1951 and 1958, booting 71 goals. He then served as assistant coach to John Kennedy Snr in that historic Hawthorn flag win in 1961 under the captaincy of Graham Arthur.
In 1962, he was recognised as a life member of the Hawthorn Football Club, for his fantastic contribution to the brown and gold.
Phil, who died on August 13, was approaching his 90th birthday.