The 1980 season!

This week we are taking a look back to the year 1980 the year North Albury produced a stunning finals series, coming from the elimination final to take out its first premiership in 25 years.

The ten coaches were – Albury – Jack Clancy, Bill Sykes – Benalla, Corowa-Rutherglen – Peter Chisnall, Lavington – Ken Roberts, Myrtleford – Neville Hogan, North Albury – Col Trevaskis, Wangaratta – Vin Doolan, Wangaratta Rovers – Daryl Smith, Wodonga – John Henderson, Yarrawonga – Bill Long.

Wangaratta Rovers took out the Candace Carpets Pre-Season competition beating North Albury by 62 points, while Wangaratta beat Myrtleford by two points in the 3 v 4 play-off.

Daryl Smith was coach of the interleague side which made its way to the final after wins against Sunraysia by 3 points, and Goulburn Valley by 32 points in the zone final.

They then beat North District in the semi-final by 27 points before losing the final to Latrobe Valley 19-17-131 to 15-13-103. Yep, 4 interleague games and 17 training sessions in one year!

Myrtleford star midfielder Peter Howard took out his second straight Morris Medal ahead of Wangaratta’s Vin Doolan and Corowa Rutherglen ruckman Mark Mills.

The Reserves Leo Burke award went to Tony Essex from Yarrawonga, with the Under 18’s medal being won by North Albury’s Tony McTavish.

The top five finishing order was Wangaratta, Corowa-Rutherglen, Wangaratta Rovers, North Albury, and Myrtleford (Albury missing out on percentage).

The Hopper’s charge to the premiership began by defeating Myrtleford in the elimination final 17-20-122 to 13-14-92, the following week they eliminated Corowa Rutherglen 16-15-111 to 13-14-92.

In the preliminary final they sent minor premiers Wangaratta packing with a thrilling one-point win 17-17-119 to 18-10-118 after trailing by 17 points with five minutes remaining.

In front of a massive crowd of over 11,500 at Martin Park in Wodonga, the Hoppers came from behind at halftime to clinch a 20-point win after kicking six goals to the Rovers nothing in the third term.

Captain/Coach Col Trevaskis led the side superbly with OMFNL Hall of Famer John Smith and Alan Curtis rounding out the top three players. Dallas Kotzur booted four goals and Brian Parks three. Parks finished with 110 goals for the season.

For Rovers goalkicking machine Steve Norman kicked seven goals, with Eddie Flynn racking up 30 possessions one of the best along with Merv Holmes and Mark Booth.

Rovers’ loss prevented them from winning all three grades after they had earlier beaten Wodonga in both seconds (111 points) and Under 18’s (9 points).