1973, 1983 senior and 1993 reserve grade Premiers
Past president Trevor Urquhart chats with 1973 c/coach Alan Hayes (left) and with 1983 C/C Marty King (right) at the clubs reunion Red, White and Black Ball held in the Ned Fife Community Complex at McPherson oval on Saturday july 27th 2013
North Wagga held a re-union for the 1973, 1983 1st grade and 1993 reserve grade premiership sides on July 27th 2013 to commemorate some of the clubs greatest acheivements.
The weekend of July 27th was a proud moment for the North Wagga Football Club, as we celebrate 40 years of history wken some of our best premiership players converged at McPherson Oval.
Members of the 1973, 1983 and 1993 (reserves) Grand Final winning teams reminisced about goa;s kicked, tackles made and marks grabbed when they gathered at North Wagga's annual Red, White & Black Ball.
Tom Fife, who started playing with the Saints when he was 15 made his first grade debut in 1974, organised the re-union, said it was great for ex-players to come back to the Club because they were such revered figures.
"you must give recognition to the guys that were there at the time ... it was such a new era for the Club," said Fife "as a kid growing up, you used to look up at them and aspire to do what they were doing."
The drought breaking 1973 premiership was a momentous occassion not only for the football club but for the entire North Wagga community, who had been waiting patiently for more than 35 years for another chance to revel in Grand Final glory.
Captain-coach of that side Alan Hayes, said the reaction to their win over Henty in the decider ws somethinghe had never experienced before.
"After the game we hopped on a bus and went over to North Wagga, and we were just like movie stars," said Hayes.
"There were probably 1000 people lined up there waving at us on the bus.
"It was a really emotional time for the people of North Wagga and us, it really meant someting.
"i've been involved in quite a few Grand Finals when i was playing and this one was most probably the one to me that seemed tp mean a lot to the people of the local community."
Hayes said the pain of missing out on the finals the previous year drove the players to extra lengths in order to succeed, a point that is illustrated by a story he tells with the same clarity as if it happened yesterday.
"i used to do a lot of road running and off-season fitness work... i rember running over to North Wagga football field one day and there were half a dozen players training, and this was in October or November of '72," said Hayes.
"Noel Hussey, who won a Stawekk Gift, was secretary of the football club ... and he was getting players there and giving them sprint training.
"One of the people he had training was Geoff Ward, who was a great centre half-back, and Wardy had his best year in '73, 1 really attribute that to what Noel Hussey did.
"You just felt that there ws something special there."
1983 captain-coach Marty King, was the sides leading goal kicker throughout the season and ws deemed the best-on-ground in the 48 point win over Mangoplah Cookardinia United in the Grand Final.
King said the mateship amongst the players in his side went along way towards making the year not only a successful one on the field, but an enjoyable one off it as well.
"i think we had a really good bond, and we had an experienced head in Laurie Pendrick who's a legend in Riverina footy ... there was a good experienced head and then we had a good core of 21 to 26 year old players and some ypunger blokes there.
"we were very very close off the field and a very good side on the field.
One man who has witnessed all these premierships at close quarters is Trevor Urquhart, who has been involved with the club for over 50 years in many capacities including as a player and as president.
Urquhart said North wagga boasted a unique atmosphere that has never waned even as the years have gone on.
"North has always been a club that's kind of been the battler's club over the years, the working blokes' club that's struggled and had to work hard for everthing," said Urquhart.
"We always had that good spirit and i think thats what North wagga is made up of, the spirit to keep going.
"Even today with the young blokes we've got there, they're having a bit of a battle at the moment, but having a reunion like this will give these fellows a bit of an insight into what it means to wear the North Wagga jersey."
Marty King perhaps put it best when he described the camaraderie that will forever exist between the players lucky enough to claim titles in each of those 1973, 1983 and 1993 sides.
" I'm sure we'll all be a bit bigger and abit grayer but like reumions are, the sories will get a lot bigger and better the longer the night goes.
"No matter where you play or at what level you play you always rember a grand final, especially the ones you winso i'm looking forward to it."
as reported in the Wagga Daily Advertiser by M Malone.