1967 Premiership 50th year anniversary dinner.
What a fabulous night! 200 guests packed the magnificent dining room at The Australia Club to honor the 1967 premiership team, represented by all but one living player (Royce Hart could not attend), and including members of the Swift, Barrot, Richmond, Strang and Richardson families.
Patron Maureen Hafey was joined by daughter Joanne, Peter and Kaye Hafey.
The players gathered privately before the dinner to re-live old times and swap yarns. By the time they entered the dining room, to a standing ovation and rousing rendition of “We’re From Tigerland” Johnny Ronaldson’s goal had travelled 80 metres!
Tommy Hafey Club President Rob Edgley welcomed guests and introduced Australia Club host member Philip Allison, then RFC CEO Brendon Gale who paid tribute to the wonderful achievement of 1967 when a team of average age 23 years, with no finals experience, defeated a highly fancied, more experienced Geelong team.
Former RFC President Ian Wilson, who remains the oldest surviving member of the 1967 Richmond Committee, spoke glowingly of the contribution of senior coach Tommy Hafey, then President Ray Dunne, General Manager Graeme Richmond and assistant coach John Nix (who was present on the night).
Michael Perry, centre half back in the ‘67 premiership team then talked about the game and showed some tv highlights (in black and white!). It looked a long time ago as over-head shots showed an MCG still with the old Southern stand, the old Olympic stand and the old member’s pavilion. What a crowd though, official attendance 109,000.
Following main course, Bobby Phillips conducted a spirited auction of the original 1967 Grand Final footy record, a fantastic black and yellow set of number plates FLAG 67, and a marvellous framed collage of Neville Crowe highlights.
Kevin Bartlett then took to the stage and proceeded to run through every player, showing highlights of their play (except Michael Green who as 20th man did not get a run on the day). What would a show be without a small hiccup and sure enough we had one when it was discovered that the highlights of Billy Barrot, arguably best on ground, and Roger Dean had been inadvertently erased!
Only KB could retrieve such a situation which he did with great aplomb.
Final tributes were then paid to Maureen Hafey for her wonderful support of Tommy and all the players, plus Barry Stanton who as fitness coach and runner was a key force in the 1967 triumph.
The night wound up with some lively music and we’re pretty sure every-one went home happy.
I think we’ll have to do it all again in 69!
Special thanks to Tracey Browning from Gamechanger Events for helping organise this sensational function.