DARRYL Jordon is a country footballing legend. The former Upper Murray league star kicked over 1700 goals and brought up the century on nine occasions. He spoke to The Border Mail's BRETT KOHLHAGEN this week about his career.
BK: I know you aren't big on talking about yourself, but 1700-plus goals in 16 years of senior footy for Federal, Walbundrie and Jindera is a pretty impressive stat isn't it?
DJ: It was something like that. I grew up in Corryong working for my old man and went down to North Albury and had a few games but it was hard getting to training. My mates were up at Corryong and the lifestyle suited me pretty well so that's just what I did. I enjoyed my footy.
BK: I presume your nickname 'Dobby' came about from your goal-kicking nous. When did that start?
DJ: My mates from school at Corryong came up with it and it's been with me ever since. It followed me right through footy. It's just one of those things that stuck over the years.
BK: When did you start playing senior footy?
DJ: I was 16 at Federal in 1976. Only a few of us went straight up from the juniors like Ray Mack and a couple others. We won the flag that year and followed it up in 1977. Then we lost in 1978 by five points. It was a really good comp, I was lucky enough to play in grand finals in my first five years.
BK: What would you rate as your biggest achievement in footy?
DJ: Probably coaching Federal to the flag in 1983 in my first season as coach. We were the underdogs that year and beat Walwa in the wet by four points. The grand final actually got called off the first week because of the rain and we played the next week and it was even wetter. It was unbelievable. I don't think that's ever happened before. The premiership at Walbundrie in 1989 was pretty good too.
BK: What was your biggest haul?
DJ: I got 17 against Jindera one day. I don't really look at that though as I'd rather kick goals when it means something. I hate it when players kick 16 or 17 and the other side kicks none. I'd much prefer to kick nine or 10 in a good game or against a top side. I've always been like that. It probably annoys me a bit.
BK: I understand that, but folklore in the Hume league has it that 'Snow' McMaster from Walbundrie once offered to buy you a beer for every goal you kicked in a game and you ended up kicking plenty. Did he pay up?
DJ: He made that bet but then changed it to after I'd kicked six. It was at Lockhart and I remember coming off the ground at half-time and telling him he'd better get his cheque book out.
BK: Michael Erdeljac says you and him formed a pretty good two-pronged attack at Walbundrie?
DJ: Don't listen to Erdeljac (laughs). He was talking one time about how we kicked 200 goals between us in a season, but the problem was he only kicked 30.
BK: Any regrets?
DJ: I probably wish I played a few years in the Ovens and Murray at North Albury. I played a couple of games and couldn't get to training so I gave it away. They won the flag that year too. Greg Miller was recruiting for South Melbourne at that stage and came down and had a look at Dennis Carroll, who was from Tumbarumba, and myself when Albury played North Albury. Dennis was best on ground on a wing and they took him. I didn't do too badly but Dennis had a really good game.
BK: Toughest opponents?
DJ: Down at Walbundrie, Greg Franks from East Lavington was a good footballer as well as Lloyd Curtis at Burrumbuttock. Jake Kowski always said he was the best full-back in the Hume league though.
BK: What do you think about today's footy?
DJ: You look at the poor full-forwards in the AFL these days. The game has changed and I'm just glad I played when I did.
BK: You would have seen some fireworks in the Upper Murray?
DJ: There were always blokes getting reported back then. When I started you had Kevin Mack playing and Benny Byatt and others and there were some big blues back then.
BK: How do you feel about the struggles facing the Upper Murray these days?
DJ: It's pretty sad. They knocked the old clubrooms down up here last Saturday. There was a bit of history there. I don't know what's going to happen in a year or two. They are struggling badly now. It's the worst I've ever seen it.
BK: Do you still get to the footy?
DJ: Not much these days. I might go down to watch Federals and have a beer with a few of the old blokes every now and then but I don't know too many people any more.
BK: You must be proud of your son, James, who got drafted by Melbourne at the end of last year?
DJ: It's been a bit of fairytale for him. He's done it the hard way but is going all right for Casey Scorpions. They are teaching him as he goes. He's playing in a back-pocket so hopefully he can get out of there.
BK: There is a bit of ability in the family isn't there with your sister's son, Adam Prior, being a good footballer in the Ovens and Murray?
DJ: He's had a pretty good career. He's always been a good mark. He's probably a bit like me in that we were both a bit lazy (laughs).
BK: I'm told you weren't the best trainer?
DJ: No, I probably wasn't. It suited me down there at Walbundrie as I'd just turn up on the Saturday. I trained at Federal twice a week though when I was there. I loved it at Walbundrie, going there was the best thing I ever did.
BK: Ted Miller got you down to the Hume league didn't he?
DJ: Ted knew my brother, Lindsay, from North Albury and he came up and talked me into going to Jindera. I'd given it away for a few weeks at the time but I went and played the last half of the season in 1981 for Jindera and it rekindled my interest.
BK: How many times did you kick 100 in a season?
DJ: Nine. Pretty much from 1979 to 1989 but in 1980 I went to North Albury and came back to Federal and missed a bit of footy. I retired when I was 32 in 1993 because of my knee.
BK: You are often talked about as a country footy goal-kicking legend like Graham Bland (Berrigan and Merbein) and Trevor Sutton (Deniliquin). Did you ever met either of those guys?
DJ: I never met them but I used to follow how they were going. They were champion footballers. There were a few good full-forwards around back then like 'Flea' Culph and Peter Murray and those sort of blokes.
BK: What about the best players you played with?
DJ: Maurie Tyrell and Len Paton were very good players at Federal and at Walbundrie there was Wayne Edwards and the McIntosh boys. 'Eddo' (Edwards) was a good footballer, he could handle himself too.
BK: Getting back to Walbundrie, word has it that the runner was sent out to you one day because you were up at centre half-forward and they thought you had concussion?
DJ: That's true actually. They stirred me up about that. Steve Chalmers was the runner at the time. You'll have to ask him about it but they thought I was a bit confused.
BK: Is it right in 1989 you kicked 167 goals for Walbundrie and got nutted in the league's goal-kicking award by Peter Gibbons who kicked 170 for Brocklesby?
DJ: That's right. It was neck and neck and he just got me. We both had pretty good years.
BK: You were flying with 90 goals by round nine in 1985 and then hurt your ankle. Is it right you came back late in the year and kicked another 20-plus on your other foot?
DJ: I did my ankle in the inter-league final at Rennie and missed about six games. I only got back for the last few games, but I couldn't kick on my preferred side. I'd always tried to kick both feet so it wasn't too bad. I finished up with 109 goals I think but it stuffed up my year pretty much.
BK: I hear you weren't a big fan of playing in the ruck?
DJ: I only did once in senior football. We had a few injuries and had no tall blokes left so Ted put me in there against Walla one day. It never happened again.
BK: Tell us about the rivalry between Federal and Corryong?
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DJ: It was pretty full on. Back in those days there was really bad blood, even off the ground after the games. They hated each other and still aren't too fond of each other to be honest. It was only towards the end we would have the odd beer together after a game. We didn't in the earlier days.
BK: Any incident stick out?
DJ: I remember one day a couple of blokes who hated each other left the clubrooms at the same time and the McInnes and McKimmies had a brawl out in front of the rooms on the way home. Johnny Whitsed and Johnny Bloom were the coaches at the time and they fought all the time. That's just how it was back then. Things have mellowed a bit since.
BK: Thanks 'Dobby' and congratulations on a great career.