Kevin Bartlett had the 400 strong audience in stitches at the Tommy Hafey Clubs 1980 premiership celebration on Friday April 3rd at Zinc on Federation Square.
Notwithstanding the mood of gloom brought on by the opening match debacle, and the thunder and lightening outside, the new venue, new season and new MC all promised an exciting opening to the THC luncheon season.
And the effervescent KB didn’t let us down. In scintillating form, he entertained THC members, their guests and the 1980 premiership team with a continuous stream of humorous anecdotes of his playing career and the 1980 premiership team members.
A major auction item was a beautifully framed photo of Michael Roach taking the 1979 Mark of the Year. KB was quick to point out that the only other Richmond player in the photo was number 29 who had run 100 yards screaming to Michael to handball it to him. The end result was the mark of the year, another Roach goal and a (tongue in cheek of course) accusation by KB that Cisco had been selfish not to handball to him.
Talking of handball, KB was also adamant that the video highlight of him handballing during the 1980 grand final had never happened and was the product of modern day digital editing which had in fact played a mean trick by superimposing his head on Dale Weightman’s shoulders. Needless to say, the audience was crying with laughter by this stage.
THC Vice President Michael Perry opened proceedings with a welcome to everyone, an apology from Peter Nixon and a cherrio to David Mandie, RFC number 1 ticket holder, who was unwell and unable to attend the lunch; the first one he’d missed.
Mike then announced the VIP table winner, a $500 dining voucher to dine at Hotel Spencer courtesy of Rob and Gary Edgley. Regular THC lunch attendee Garry Edwards’ table was the lucky winner.
RFC senior coach Terry Wallace then spoke and asked for all supporters to judge the team on the next 4 weeks, not on round one’s performance. He introduced and interviewed 2008 draftees Tyrone Vickery and Jadyn Post and then invited THC sponsored player Alex Rance to the stage. Alex spoke about the thrill of being selected to play his first senior AFL game (against Geelong) and paid a warm tribute to the THC for helping make him welcome at Punt Road. Alex is the son of former Bulldog and West Coast player Murray Rance, and destined to a long and distinguished career in the yellow and black.
RFC President Gary March then spoke of the strength of the club off-field, paying special tribute to Stephen Wright and his team for astute management of the club’s finances, highlighting the record membership and emphasising the exciting re-development of Punt Road.
Mike Perry then introduced Kevin Bartlett who introduced the 1980 team with many humorous anecdotes. Special video highlights of all the players accompanied their journey to the stage where AFL Premiership Club President Brian Dixon (five time Melbourne premiership player) inducted the players into the AFL Premiership Club and presented their AFL premiership club trophy.
Tiger diehard and world acclaimed photographer Wayne Quillam took photographs of the team and the day’s proceedings.
Tony Jewell and Kevin Bartlett then paid tribute to the two deceased members of the 1980 premiership team, Peter (Woosha) Welsh and Terry (Brutus) Smith, both of whom played significant roles in the successful 1980 premiership campaign.
Inimitable auctioneer Phil DeFegely coaxed maximum contributions for the five auction items, proceeds of which are going to the FP&OA Welfare Trust Fund, which helps old Tigers who fall on difficult times.
The final segment of the day saw Mike Perry announce the launch of both the Tommy Hafey Club and Former Player & Officials Association websites. These two sites are now “live” thanks to the superb design work of Tony Moran and the indefatigable work of THC committee member Hannah Hopper and FP&OA committee member Trevor Poole. The Former Tigers website can be viewed @ www.formertigers.com.au
The food and service at Zinc was exemplary and the Yalumba wines went down a treat.
Once again, the THC with the support of the FP&OA and the RFC event staff lead by Kristi Ogston and Kaliste Fordham, had kicked a big goal for the mighty Tigers.