Club stalwarts hop to it when there’s a job to do

THERE aren’t many jobs Ian Rhodes and Gavin Nagle haven’t tackled at Rennie.

Since hanging up their boots in the 1970s, the Hopper stalwarts have tried their hand at most things as they have followed the club in the Coreen and District, Hume and Picola and District leagues.

Rhodes has been a trainer since 1983 — the year after he retired.

“There must have been a message there for me because the year I gave it away the club went through undefeated to win the premiership under Bert Tait,” Rhodes laughed yesterday.

“I have been a trainer ever since.

“Gavin and I have had a go at most things over the years.”

Rhodes played in Rennie’s 1969 and 1972 premierships while Nagle tasted the ultimate success as a forward in 1969, 1970 and 1972.

Nagle’s main role has been groundsman.

Despite being faced by challenges ranging from droughts to rabbits, he hasn’t flinched and would be a rich man if given a dollar for every burrow he has filled in over the years.

“I guess I have been mowing the ground for 40-odd years,” Nagle said.

“I was born up the road on the farm, went to school and now live about half a kilometre from the ground.

“It was always a bit tough until we got water in 1966 and then in 1980 we got a good watering system.

“We still have a few problems with the rabbits, but we are on top of them now.”

While Rhodes and Nagle have put in thousands of hours of voluntary work for Rennie, so have their wives Gaye and Anne.

“We have put in 200 years between the four of us,” Ian said.

“It’s been great.”

Rhodes and Nagle will be recognised for 50 years of service when Rennie takes on undefeated South East ladder leader Tungamah in a top of the table clash at Rennie on Saturday.

The Hoppers are also celebrating a reunion of their 1954 premiership team.