IT was early 1970 and Holbrook was buzzing.
The Brookers had just landed a huge coup by signing former Richmond defender Kevin Smith as coach.
But Smith grew up in Myrtleford and, at the last-minute, had a change of heart and opted to stay with his home club.
It was a decision which paid off for the Ovens and Murray Hall of Fame inductee as he went on to play in the Saints’ only premiership under Martin Cross that season.
The Brookers turned to John Cornish to coach and six months later were also holding the premiership trophy aloft.
“It was pretty rushed,” Holbrook stalwart Bert Haynes said.
“Kevin had committed and was ready to go but things changed at the last minute and we needed to find a new coach.
“John was playing for Holbrook at the time and he was given the job.
“He was a great sportsman, a really good cricketer, and did a fantastic job.
“We were lucky a few blokes came to town that year as well and things just fell into place from there I guess.”
Holbrook defeated Collingullie in the 1970 grand final at Yerong Creek in what was the Brookers’ last flag in the Farrer league before crossing to the Tallangatta and District league in 1981.
“Collingullie were a very good side in those years and I think we were the underdogs,” he said.
“We had a successful period at that time as we won in 1964, the seconds in 1966 and were in and out of finals.
“The Wagga sides became really strong after that and a lot were nearly Ovens and Murray standard.
“A few players went on to play AFL football from that era.”
Since 1970, Holbrook has won flags in the TDFL in 1985 and 1991 and the Hume league under March Duryea in 2004.
It won 14 premierships before that time.
Robbie Mackinlay is the club’s senior games record-holder with 369 matches with Haynes (360), Cameron Jones (327), Dennis Lees (327) and Col Black (300) also breaking the milestone.
Midfielder Laurie McInnes (1987, 1991, 1992 and 1993) and ruckman Noel Coutts (2002, 2003 and 2004) have taken out multiple league medals.
Holbrook officials are expecting between 300 and 400 people to turn out for the club’s 125th centenary celebrations at Holbrook Sporting Complex from 7pm on June 17.
Former players and supporters from as far away as Perth, Townsville and Brisbane are set to return including family members from premiership sides in the 1950s.
Holbrook, who celebrated Josh Jones’ 100th game last weekend, will be chasing its second win against Lockhart at Lockhart on Saturday.