'REMEMBER WHEN?' - WITH robbie mackinlay - Round 1

Welcome to ‘Remember When?’ with Robbie Mackinlay! He’s been a well known face around O&M venues for decades, and he doesn’t mind re-living the past glorys! 

G’day all and welcome to 2024 SS&A OMFNL season. I’m very excited to be bringing to you each week our new segment “Remember When”, a look back at past seasons, moments, rounds and events, that have shaped the number one country football and netball competition in regional Australia. 

I think it very appropriate that we look back at some of the great moments season openers have provided, as every club hits 2024 with hope and ambition: 

1991 – a fifteen-year-old kid called Damian Houlihan on debut for Corowa Rutherglen booted nine goals against Lavington. Nine years later he booted ten goals in the Roos 2000 premiership.  In between, he played 11 games for Collingwood where he kicked 3 goals with his first 3 kicks in AFL and was one of 4 brothers drafted to the AFL. Also, in 1991 the first night game under lights was played between Wangaratta Rovers and Benalla. 

1950 was the first time a siren was ever used, replacing the trusty old cow bell! In 1956, Myrtleford’s home game was transferred to Albury due to floods, while in 2007 Wangaratta grounds were too dry for matches, so home ground advantage was lost in the early part of the season. 

1979 was the year both Corowa Rutherglen and Lavington entered the O&M. Corowa Rutherglen chalked up its first win in round 3 against Wodonga, while Lavington had its first win the next week when they beat the Roos. The Roos won 11 matches to finish 3rd, while Lavington had just two wins and finished last. 

The 1953 season was the first year a Reserves competition was introduced, minus Yarrawonga, who were given an exemption due to the club’s overall lack of finances. Corowa were the first Reserve grade premiers, beating Albury. 

The Wodonga Raiders, after years of persistence, were finally accepted into the O&M for the 1989 season almost pulling off a victory losing at Benalla by 5 points – it was as close as the Raiders got,losing all 20 games in 1989. 

Wodonga star recruit (1995) Brenton Cooper and North Albury big man Robert Harrington (1983) hold the record for most goals kicked in round one with 14 goals. Wodonga hold the record for the highest score in round one when they booted 35-15-225 to Albury 12-15-87 in 1980 a game total of 77 scoring shots! 

In 2012 the Yarrawonga Pigeons unveiled their boom recruit Brendan Fevola in front of a record crowd at Mulwala on Easter Sunday, where they played out a thrilling draw against Lavington. Fev continued to entertain thousands of spectators on the way to a Yarrawonga premiership.