TAKING THE PLUNGE with Tom Hafey (2006)

GALLERY: 40 photos marking Tom Hafey's visits to the Border

NAME: Tom Hafey

AGE: 74

BORN: Richmond

LIVES: Melbourne

MARITAL STATUS: Married to Maureen for 51 years.

CHILDREN: Rhonda, 48, Karen, 46, and Joanne, 40. I also have six grandchildren and every one of them has Hafey as their|second Christian name.

SCHOOL: We moved around  we lived in Canberra for six years during the Depression. I was christened at St Ignatius at Richmond, went to a couple of little schools around, then we went to Canberra. When we came back to Melbourne we lived around East Malvern. I only went to high school for one year  at Melbourne High. I hated it. I then delivered telegrams for a while and then went into the printing trade.

JOB: Public speaker. I speak at lots of schools and sporting clubs. I also do a bit of commentary with the ABC and I write for a South Australian paper. I speak to the kids about role models and such. I have never smoked or had a drink and that was because I wanted to be a sports person and I did not think it was necessary. Also former premiership-winning football coach; coached at Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney. His record of coaching 522 VFL/AFL games is only|bettered by Jock McHale and Kevin Sheedy.

MM: What book do you |have beside your bed at the moment?

TH: I have 12, all by Percy Cerutty (famous athletic and fitness coach) or about him. I have millions of books. I buy books all the time. I have stacks of books on rugby league and boxing.

MM: What was the fitness routine today?

TH: I ran about 8km, did 600 sit-ups and 200 push-ups and I swim in the bay every day; never miss a day.

MM: How do you chill?

TH: Doing fitness things  |getting away from football. I still do all the things I've ever done. I get down to the beach and surf a lot.

MM: What historical event do you wish you had witnessed?

TH: I would have loved to have seen Muhammad Ali fight Joe Frazier  or Ali fight Foreman. I love Muhammad Ali. I have got dozens of book on him. He has done so many good things for his people. The book he wrote in about 1973 or 1974. I got about 60 or 70 copies and gave them away to a lot of people.

MM: Who is your favourite sportsperson?

TH: Muhammad Ali

MM: Your favourite team would be?

TH: The Tigers  Richmond.

MM: What is your favourite holiday destination?

TH: Sorrento is as far as I want to go. The Mornington Peninsula is terrific  I love the surf.

MM: Do you have a favourite song?

TH: The Richmond theme song (laughs). There are stacks of them  Lullaby of Birdland,|anything by Ella Fitzgerald. I love Stevie Wonder's Sunshine of My Life.

MM: What is your favourite drink?

TH: Tea  white, hot and strong with no sugar. I have never|tasted alcohol.

MM: Favourite meal?

TH: Roast lamb with mint sauce and vegies. I would have red meat once a week. I usually eat fish and pasta. I love breakfast. I have five lots in a big bowl with stewed fruit or yoghurt. I don't like going out for lunch or |breakfast.

MM: What was your first job?

TH: Delivering telegrams  but when we were kids we used to do paper rounds and delivering groceries.

MM: What did you want to be when you were little?

TH: I always wanted to be a sportsman. I've done a lot of jobs. I left the post office after 12 months and did my|apprenticeship as a compositor and worked in the trade for a|number of years I had a milk bar, was a brickies labourer for a while and in and out of the printing trade.

MM: How did you learn about the facts of life?

TH: I don't know  it might be something that comes naturally I guess (laughs).

MM: You are going on a long journey; what do you take to occupy yourself?

TH: Tapes. I love rock and roll  Bill Haley. I love Elvis.

MM: What gives you a huge buzz?

TH: Family and friends. I keep in touch with all of them.

MM: What question would you ask God?

TH: How come it is not a drug-free world?

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