JOHN Voss is a legend in the football world at Wahgunyah but his name is also firmly stamped in tennis history as he continues to enjoy roles with both associations.
The former Coreen and District league great won four Archie Dennis medals, nine club best and fairest awards and starred in five Tigers premiership teams during an impressive 300-match career.
He was even selected to try out for Essendon, making the final training list in 1954.
The champion centreman, who also coached Wahgunyah for eight seasons, turned down a spot on the AFL side.
“I had just bought my own home and I had been made coach at Wahgunyah,” he said.
“I sent them a telegram saying I was going to stay to coach Wahgunyah but you wouldn’t do that today.”
“They make a lot of money but it was different back then and I wanted to build a life for myself here.”
The Wahgunyah Football Club life member receives the Order of Australia Medal in today’s Australia Day honours in recognition of his service to Wahgunyah, particularly through sport.
Mr Voss said he felt lucky to be an award winner.
“It’s such a prestigious award and there’s something like 22 million people in Australia, so yes, I feel very lucky,” he said.
The 84-year-old likes to keep active, spending about eight to 10 hours a week mowing the grass at the recreational reserve.
“In summer it doesn’t grow as quick, but in other months I am out there a lot on the ride-on mower,” he said.
But you will never hear him complain.
“Back in the day I used to have to push a Victa lawn mower around the tennis courts where the grass would be about two-foot high,” he said.
Mr Voss is the secretary and treasurer of the Wahgunyah Tennis Club and a president and vice-president for most years since 1958.
He is also the secretary and treasurer of the Corowa and District Tennis Association (now North East Regional Tennis Association) where he has been involved for more than 50 years.