THE John Foord Oval clubrooms were overflowing on Friday as family, friends and former Corowa Spiders team-mates farewelled one of the club’s finest players, John Lane.
Tributes were made by two of Lane’s team-mates from the Spiders’ finest hour, the 1968 Ovens and Murray league grand final win, Fred Longmire and Jack Clancy at the funeral, which has followed soon after the passing of his wife Margaret.
Longmire described Lane as the “Jack Dyer of country football” due to the protector role he played for the talented crop of young players who helped upset Wodonga in the grand final by seven points.
“The young players in that side were able to play at their best because we all knew Laney was with us,” Longmire said.
“Respect was gained because the Corowa Spiders’ main weapon was an awareness by opposition clubs that they had an enforcer who could play great footy as well.”
The 1968 premiership was among 254 matches Lane played for Corowa in a career which also included a best and fairest, O and M selection and a coaching stint.
Longmire also recounted Lane’s short-lived stint as club president which ended when he failed to get committee backing for rejecting a string of clearances.
“He resigned on the spot and walked out,” he said.
Other 1968 Corowa premiership players in attendance were Bert Tait, George Tobias, Ken Eales and Terry Phibbs.
The large crowd was also told Lane had a clearance knocked back to join Footscray by Corowa on the grounds he wasn’t guaranteed a senior match.
It came soon after he reportedly knocked out the late Ted Whitten in a practice match.
Clancy said he formed a lasting friendship with Lane when he joined Corowa.
“The family was so generous,” he said.
“We would stay at John’s on weekends and we wouldn’t bring any food because it never occurred to us we had to buy any.
“It was always there, the kids gave up their beds for us and we were made to feel part of the family.
“Any time I gave any cheek to the opposition I would make sure No.12 was in the area.
“If not I would keep my thoughts to myself.”
Clancy recalled only later in life did he and Lane discover they grew up living less than a minute apart in Melbourne.
Lane left Melbourne at the age of 13 and moved in with a family at Wahgunyah where he played in two premiership teams as a teenager before joining Corowa.
Clancy said he and Lane only had one disagreement.
It was about who should play in the ruck for Corowa – Ray Willett or the up-and-coming Bert Tait.
Lane wanted Tait and got his way.
“To say John was stubborn is a real understatement, but he had great faith in Bert and that proved to be correct,” Clancy said.
A family tribute was read by Lane’s son David and a reading was shared by grandsons, Jarred and Kaelan.
Lane was also a founding member of the Corowa Historical Society and member of the local historical machinery club.