A VISIONARY administrative model to operate the Corowa-Rutherglen and Rutherglen football-netball clubs has been floated on the day Ovens and Murray football made a return to Barkly Park.
The commission model, which would include three representatives from both clubs, an independent chairperson and a paid general manager to run 12 football and nine netball teams in the O and M and Tallangatta and District leagues, was floated by Corowa-Rutherglen official Fred Longmire at the pre-match function on Saturday.
Longmire said the combined entity had the capacity to generate an annual turnover of $650,000, a combined 500 membership base and access to 150 potential sponsors.
But, Longmire stressed the two teams would remain in existing competitions.
He was speaking before the return of the O and M to Rutherglen after a 34-year absence following the original 1979 merger of the Corowa and Rutherglen clubs.
More than 90 people attended the lunch including Rutherglen O and M Hall of Famer Bill Gayfer and his son Mick, who played in Collingwood’s 1990 premiership team, former Brisbane Lions’ number one ticket-holder John Pearce, who grew up in the town.
Corowa-Rutherglen’s O and M Hall of Famers, Jim Sandral, his son Dennis and John Clancy were also present.
The Roos’ inaugural coach Peter Chisnall defied recent surgery to attend the function.
“I always felt my job was a caretaker one to bring the two clubs together,” he said.
“We had to build this club and that drive came from Hec Francis and then the kids to started to fire and away we went.”
The Roos’ only premiership coach Peter Tossol said he was drawn to the club by the talent in the area.
“I also came in as an outsider and wasn’t interested in any of the squabbling or differences,” he said.
“As far as I was concerned it was Corowa-Rutherglen and probably my favourite player who I coached was Craig Tafft.
“His dad played for Rutherglen and I remember going to his house to recruit him.”
Tossol said no team had the capacity to match Albury on the field at present, but was heartened by other clubs investing in homegrown talent.
“While quality might suffer in the short-term, I think locals like seeing their own players,” he said.
AFL Hall of Famer Hassa Mann, who spent one season as a teenager playing for Rutherglen, also attended.
“I can recall Bill Stephen at Yarrawonga, Bobby Rose at Wang Rovers, Mac Holten at Wangaratta, Jack Jones coaching Albury, Des Healey coaching Wodonga, Ray Horwood here, Jimmy Deane at Myrtleford and Les Fitzgerald at Benalla.”