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Melbourne Demons – Team Of The Century Jamie Cooper Print

$795.00 $636.00

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Melbourne Demons – Team Of The Century Jamie Cooper Print

Early in 2000, nine selectors of a diverse but MFC supporting background gathered to choose Melbourne’s Team of the Century. They were Percy Beames (former player and journalist), Lynda Carroll (Club historian), Bill Guest (MFC Director), Greg Hobbs (journalist), John Mitchell (former MFC/MCC President), Linda Pearce (journalist), Dudley Phillips (supporter), Stephen Phillips (media consultant), and Mike Sheahan (journalist) with CEO John Anderson as non-voting chairman. From the dozens first named for each position, the list was gradually narrowed down as profiles were prepared, and careful consideration given to each individual named (including first-hand knowledge, match reports etc). Much serious debate and good humoured discussion ensued before the final consensus was reached. ‘It’s the emblem of the team we love, The team of the red and the blue. Every heart beats true…’
Fine words these are. They are part of our Club, and we hold them dear. But they need substance. Some of that substance took shape on the night of 24 June 2000, when around 1400 people gathered at the Palladium at Crown to pay homage to the Club’s greatest – the Team Of The Century. This was a time for the champions of the past to reach to the present and beyond. Whether the late Allan La Fontaine in the centre, or the recently retired Garry Lyon up in the half-forward line, there was no doubt that all selected had earned their place, as those nominated had earned the deepest consideration, and all who have played for the Club have the admiration of all who have ever seen them.
The footage gave us an insight into the worlds of those both nominated and selected. Nobody could repress a thrill upon seeing the footage of champions past and present. Ivor Warne-Smith smiled out at his four grandsons, there to accept for him the position of centre half forward. A younger Noel McMahen strode across the MCG in the 1954 Grand Final, just as his older self came on stage to take his place on one half back flank. Stills of Vin Coutie, Fred McGinis – a hero of the 1900 premiership side – and ‘Joe’ Pearce alike stared into another time, as a small part of their spirit passed into the hearts and minds of those there.
Black and white footage alternated with the colour of the very recent past. The feeling of community extended throughout the evening. Generations of the Club mingled, back to Percy Beames in the 1930s, through to Stuart Spencer, John Beckwith, Ron Barassi and Hassa Mann in the 1950s and 1960s. Then it was on again to Gary Hardeman and Robert Flower in the 1970s and 1980s, alongside Jim Stynes and Todd Viney in the 1990s. As they took to the stage to accept their guernseys, the words captured the empathy between players across the years. For Ron Barassi, captain and ruck rover, part of the Club since infancy, it was ‘one of the thrills of my life.’ As back pocket, John Beckwith, agreed, there were ‘so many magnificent players’. They didn’t even really have to say that much. They – some of Melbourne’s greatest – were there.
And, when not there in person, their families came forth. Denis Cordner’s wife and daughters stood proudly as he was named in the ruck. Bev Wilson, sister of Don Williams, recalled the days of Kinkora, the boarding house run by her parents and shared by the likes of Hassa and Len Mann, ‘Tassie’ Johnson, Bryan Kenneally and the Leahy boys. ‘Lovely times’, she said. Samantha Smith, granddaughter of the legendary Norman Walter, Melbourne’s highest ever goal kicker and master coach, came up to accept his guernsey as full forward, then coach. Having heard of his achievements ‘since I was four’, she was overwhelmed as her grandfather’s feats were hailed and recalled. Doubtless she shared the feelings of the Warne-Smith grandsons. The oldest, Mark, spoke for all families present on the night when he said that they were ‘honoured to be invited and made part of the celebration.’ Eventually, team members made their way to the stage, and the painting of the team was unveiled. There they were, a mix of past and present, a celebration of all the best of Melbourne. But up to the left, in the ‘race’, there was a small figure, hat on head, canvas bag in hand. There he was – Melbourne’s Supporter Of The Century – Dudley Phillips. With his face lit up in sheer delight, he led the way as the song rang out and a toast was offered to the Team Of The Century. The sound echoed and the words rang true:
‘…we sing this song to you,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the red and the blue.’
That was Melbourne’s Team Of The Century, 24 June 2000.
The Team
Full Back – Robert ‘Tassie’ Johnson
Back Pocket (Rover) – John Beckwith
Back Pocket (Ruck) – Donald Cordner
Half Back Flank – Noel McMahen
Centre Half Back – Gary Hardeman
Half Back Flank – Don Williams
Wing – Brian Dixon
Centre – Allan La Fontaine
Wing – Robert Flower
Half Forward Flank – Hassa Mann
Centre Half Forward – Ivor Warne-Smith
Half Forward Flank – Garry Lyon
Forward Pocket (Ruck) – Jack Mueller
Full Forward – Norm Smith
Forward Pocket (Rover) – Percy Beames
Ruck – Denis Cordner
Ruck Rover – Ron Barassi
Rover – Stuart Spencer
Coach – Norm Smith
Captain – Ron Barassi
Vice-Captain – Robert Flower
Interchange – Frank Adams, Albert Chadwick, Wally Lock, Laurie Mithen, Jim Stynes, Todd Viney
Emergencies – Stan Alves, Bob Johnson Jnr, Ian Ridley, Greg Wells
  • Artist Proof from Jamie Coopers personal collection
  • Signed by Jamie Cooper
  • Print Size: 1000 mm x 700 mm
  • Certificate of Authenticity by Jamie Cooper

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