The Wayne Harmes Grand Final storm rages on

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MAGPIES in the mire, Marmalade on the menu, Rex ropes them in and Tuddy sends them tumbling. SCOT PALMER’S PUNCHLINES provides plenty:

COLLINGWOOD supporters hate to be reminded of it, but the famous Wayne Harmes boundary knock-on remains one of the great talking points in football.

His “partner in crime” (in Magpie eyes), Ken Sheldon was happy to recall that dramatic moment in the 1979 Grand Final when he addressed Sorrento’s final home game luncheon.

Official history has it that Harmes ran down his own kick close to the boundary line, whacked it on to Sheldon in the goal square and Sheldon kicked the flag sealer for the Navy Blues.

Collingwood supporters have a different version: the ball was miles out and the goal should never have been allowed. The Maggies are cheated yet again!

As Sheldon told the audience, it was no fluke that Harmes managed to get the ball to him: “He had brilliant skills.”

Bernie “The Attorney” Balmer and Ken Sheldon
Bernie “The Attorney” Balmer and Ken Sheldon

To try to end the endless debate over the incident, back in the 90s a new magazine, Sports Weekly, enlisted the help of university experts in Melbourne and London. They examined the footage in fine detail. And the verdict: Ball still in play, goal Carlton!

But good controversies never die so I was unsurprised to see it revived yet again a few months back in the Geelong Advertiser. They interviewed the goal umpire who had a clear view of the action and allowed play to go on.

Bob Barker, now 85, told the Addy: “The ball was on the line, he tapped it on. There was a lot of rubbishing, but the boundary umpire copped more of a rubbishing than I did. The boundary umpire was one of the best in the league at the time, and he had a lot of work to do in that quarter, and he was a fair way behind the play.

“Wayne Harmes got hold of the ball, kicked it and it was a bit of a miskick, but he was a pretty quick player and he ran on and got to the ball before it went out of bounds.”

Bob still gets quizzed by fans about the Harmes and Sheldon goal. Collingwood supporters are met with Bob’s sense of humour: “If they ask me if it was out, I say, ‘Yeah, by about 10 inches!’” And how do they react: “Well, judge for yourself. Not well!”

Sheldon was full of praise for the culture that existed at Carlton in his years at the club, but he recalled his first day at St Kilda when a player walked up to him eating from a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken. “It would never have happened at the Blues.”

Sheldon played a total of 185 games (132 at Carlton, 53 with the Saints) and later coached the Saints into two finals series.

I noticed Sheldon in deep conversation with leading lawyer Bernie “The Attorney” Balmer at the Sorrento luncheon. Don’t fret, it had nothing to do with any legal issue. The chat concerned Ken’s daughter, Lauren. As the State’s former boxing chief Balmer is as well versed in Lauren’s exploits as he is in Ken’s footy career at Carlton and St Kilda.

Lauren took up boxing for exercise but emerged as the 69kg middleweight champion of the nation.

 

WILL he or won’ t he?

For months, we’ve been hearing the calls for the return of Jason van de Velde to Channel Nine’s troubled Footy Show.

Jason who? Viewers, of course, know him better as Trevor Marmalade, the cheeky comic who stood behind a bar providing all the required laughs during the vintage years of the top-rating show.

Trev was an integral part of the program from its launch in 1994 until he was replaced in 2008.

I always thought his homespun style of comedy blended perfectly with the exchanges taking place between Sam Newman, Eddie McGuire and James Brayshaw. It was not Trev’s fault that the show started to display signs of being tired and perhaps no coincidence either that the show’s ratings deteriorated after he departed.

Trevor Marmalade…reflecting on the Footy Show?
Trevor Marmalade…reflecting on the Footy Show?

Now in its 24th season, the show has been invigorated by the recent return of Eddie but there are plenty out there who reckon having Trevor Marmalade back behind the bar would put the opposition on toast.

When I spoke to the man himself this week I was surprised to learn that he hasn’t heard a word yet from the Nine recruiters. He did appear in a flashback last week in a segment resurrected on the trials and tribulations of the late Harry Beitzel. He remembers Harry wasn’t too pleased with his contribution that night and admits he wasn’t “really comfortable” himself, although the laughs were plentiful. That again proves that the Marmalade content was mostly good sound entertainment, honed on shows like Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Trevor is still keeping busy doing regular gigs on the comedy circuit and at corporate functions. He’s also a keen racing man, with horses stabled with Robbie Griffiths, one of Victoria’s leading trainers.

Horse racing has been part of Trev’s portfolio since he first started in radio as a member of Punter to Punter on community radio 3RRR.

Getting back to The Footy Show, I sounded him out about a possible comeback. He wasn’t giving much away but I think I detected at least a flicker of interest.

 

REX HUNT’S undying passion for fishing was always going to afford him a title and now it has happened. The former League star and boisterous footy caller announced to us proudly that with State Government backing he is now the “Ämbassador” of Vic Fish Kids.

His task is to get as many kids as possible interested in angling and he will be heading up a recruiting series of six classes throughout the State

Rex explains that the youngsters will all get a fishing line and instructions on how to land a catch. His radio work these days for 3AW and Crocmedia is a lot lighter than in the past and he has plenty of time to throw in a line a couple of times a week in the bay, a stream or at Eildon. His own young grand-daughter is already landing some good catches while his son in law, Lee Rayner, landed this giant mackerel on a plastic lure the other day. Son Matthews is overseas now but had been taking tuna charters from Portland and will be back soon to deal with the snapper season in Port Phillip Bay.

Rex is thrilled with the Government support the kids are getting and says that the ultimate aim is to have a million people trying to catch a fish. Yibbida, yibbida, what a target!

 

YOU can see Des Tuddenham every morning at 6.30 plunging into the icy waters off Port Melbourne where he gauges the surface temperature at about eight degrees. At 74 he’s been able to maintain the physique and fitness level that made him one of football’s most feared competitors. Knocking “opponents” over is still Tuddy’s business. The former Magpie hero works every day steering heavy machinery, demolishing anything they put in his way. He laughed when I asked him whether he was Melbourne’s busiest demolisher and scrap man. “I like to keep active and I enjoy the work; I even get some from my son Paul who is a builder and involved in a big job in Camberwell.”

Ron Reed (r) with Collingwood legend Des Tuddenham

A 251-gamer at Collingwood and Essendon, where he was captain and coach, Tuddy rarely misses a Collingwood game and is enthusiastic about his position as president of the AFL-VFL Life Members, a group now numbering 240. He took over from the late Bulldog Jack Collins nine years ago and gives the position full gusto. He is already working on the group’s annual meeting for September 14. Punchlines has been given an invitation so I’ll keep you posted.

CAUGHT the 1965 movie Doctor Zhivago again the other night and had immediate thoughts of a bloke who used to amaze us as kids by driving up Bridge Rd, Richmond, in his Oldsmobile convertible. Jeff Patterson, former Tiger, Swan and Lion, loved to tell us how he beat the film’s hero Omar Sharif in their backgammon gambling duels. They bet in thousands and Patto swears he finished in front of the handsome Egyptian actor. Omar, real name Michel Dimitri Chalhoub, was better known to his mates as “Cairo Fred” and spent much of his spare time rolling the dice or shuffling the cards.

Patto…gambled with Omar Sharif and took care of Roy Orbison
Patto…gambled with Omar Sharif and took care of Roy Orbison

Patto was a swashbuckling character who used to dine with us at the Rising Sun and at the Cherry Tree hotels in Richmond when in town. A great storyteller, he used to relate how he won and lost millions, dealt with the Gambino crime family in the US, and got involved in bigtime show business management.  He had many stars under his care, including Roy Orbison, who was with him right throughout Europe. Jeff even engaged a footy mate, Don “Mopsy” Fraser, as Roy’s bodyguard. Patto’s tearaway life, which got off to a rocky start as as a baby when he was left in a shoebox outside a bootmaker’s in Hawthorn, is related in his book What A Life. It’s the best book I’ve ever read and tells how he was arrested three times because he was mistaken for the Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs. Patto died a few years ago aged 89 after marrying and divorcing six times. What a life, indeed!

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Author: Scot Palmer

VERY few personalities are as well known in the world of sport as SCOT PALMER. He was a fine sportswriter on The Sun News-Pictorial and a news-breaking Sports Editor on the Sunday Press, Sunday Sun and Sunday Herald Sun. But he was best known for his famous column, Palmer’s Punchlines, which ran for a record 25 years or more (he’s lost count!).

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