Remember When? With Robbie Mackinlay – The First Year of O&M Netball!

This week we are looking back to the year 1993 – a year that celebrated two major milestones – 100 years of OM football and the very first year of OM netball. All eleven teams fielded both A and B grade sides but did face many challenges with the major obstacle being many clubs not having netball courts at the football grounds. The major driver of the newly formed netball league was Toni Wilson from Wangaratta Rovers – a very well-known and recognised figure still today in the league.

Both the preliminary final and grand final were played in Albury at JC King Park with the football grand finals being played at Lavington Sportsground. The Round One results were – Myrtleford 41 def Benalla 25, Corowa-Rutherglen 66 def Yarrawonga 25, Wodonga 42 def Albury 11, Rovers 73 def Raiders 20 & North Albury 41 def Lavington 9.

Wangaratta Rovers went on to become the inaugural premiers in A Grade going through the season undefeated – still the only team to achieve this in A grade. The Rovers side was – Lisa Allen, Andrea Sach, Kathyrn Bourke, Susie O’Keefe, Mandy Flynn. Michelle Grentell, Marni Williamson, Tanya Cornelius, Janelle Hartwig & Kim McLeod. Rovers defeated North Albury in the grand final 49 to 44, while in B Grade Corowa Rutherglen defeated Myrtleford 42-27.

Myrtleford’s Lindy Gunson was the inaugural Toni Wilson Medallist in 1993 – the first of three Toni Wilson medals won by Gunson who was inducted into the OMFNL Hall of Fame in 2015.

On the football front, it was Wangaratta Rovers under coach Laurie Burt who took out their 14th premiership defeating Wodonga by 40 points who were coached by Ernie Whitehead. Wodonga won the seconds beating Wangaratta by 38 points, and Lavington beat North Albury in the thirds by 12 points. The senior grand final was umpired by Mark Phillips and Shane McDonald – well-known Comedian Tom Seigert was a boundary umpire in the Under 18 grand final.

Albury rover Tim Scott won the 56th Morris Medal, Wodonga’s Chris Barker took out the Leo Burke Medal in the seconds and North Albury’s Phil Jones won the Leo Deane Under 18’s Medal. Trent Montgomery from Wangaratta won the Rookie of the Year from fellow finalists – Craig Campbell (CR), Scott McGrath (Raiders), Adam Strang (Albury) and Hayden Sharp (Rovers).

The 1993 season featured matches under lights at Lavington in the early part of the season and plenty of local derby matches being played on a Sunday with huge crowds attending.

In the Country Championships, a very strong Goulburn Valley proved too superior to the O and M under lights at Benalla in front of a big crowd.