Big day and big footy honour town’s beloved sons

Pride of place: The giant football honouring the Danihers that now features in the main street of Ungarie after being unveiled on Saturday. Pictures: JESSICA COATES
Pride of place: The giant football honouring the Danihers that now features in the main street of Ungarie after being unveiled on Saturday. Pictures: JESSICA COATES

THE Riverina’s most famous football family enjoyed a day like no other on Saturday – a giant Sherrin was unveiled in their honour and a tribute match raised $23,000 to fight motor neurone disease. 

The Daniher brothers, Terry, Chris, Neale and Tony joined their parents Jim and Edna and sisters, for the occasion at Ungarie, population 300.

An estimated 1300 gathered in the main street to witness the Albury-made football being unveiled with 2000 at the match featuring some big names of the AFL.

Money from the match will help with research on MND, a condition Neale was diagnosed with in 2013.

Chris, who like all the brothers played for Essendon, now runs the family farm at Ungarie.

Family affair: Brothers Tony, Neale, Chris and Terry Daniher with their parents Edna and Jim and a plaque that sits below the football and outlines their feats.

Family affair: Brothers Tony, Neale, Chris and Terry Daniher with their parents Edna and Jim and a plaque that sits below the football and outlines their feats.

He said more than $23,000 came from the match.

“It’s a great feeling,” Chris said. 

“It’s also been good to have us come together as a family.

“There’s probably over 60 relatives here today – both immediate and extended family – so it’s become a real family get together.”

“We’ve also had some great support from the wider community. People have come from all over.

“It’s really special and it’s something we’ll all remember for a very long time.”

The Danihers were joined by Essendon’s Stephen Carey, Paul Hamilton, Garry Foulds, Bryan Wood and Browlow Medallist Paul Kelly for the all-star game. 

Terry and Chris Daniher led their side to victory over the all-stars. 

Former Sydney Swans Captain Paul Kelly took to the field in black-and-white with his son to face off against the Daniher clan. 

While the loyal Swan felt he “wasn’t wearing the right colours” he said he felt honoured to participate.

“I have some family around here and I was born in West Wyalong. It’s been a great day with some good people,” Kelly said. 

The losing side’s coach was new Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. 

“The Daniher family are not just a great sporting family, but they’re a great Australian story. This is one of Ungarie’s proudest days,” he said. 

The coach took to the field in the last quarter, even managing to snag a goal. 

The big Sherrin was the brainchild of Kerry Keatley who told those gathered on Saturday how the idea dawned around Jim and Edna’s table one afternoon. 

“I said ‘how about a big fibreglass football up on a post? That’ll draw the attention to come to the park and read about the boys’ and that got the nod of approval,” he said. 

Yesterday Pedalcure 4 MND, a bike ride from Ungarie to Melbourne began.

It will come through Lockhart, Corowa and Benalla before ending in Melbourne next weekend.