GEORGE Mackinlay's love of a challenge started early in life.
Growing up on a farm 12 miles from Holbrook, George would return from boarding school at Wangaratta during the holidays and order his younger brothers Robbie and Bruce to the backyard.
Their father, Leo, had grown tired of replacing windows and fibro sheetings and constructed a cricket net to limit the damage.
"George loved it," Robbie said.
"We would go out and play in the school holidays in 38 or 40-degree heat and you weren't allowed to drink.
"After playing for two hours and trying to knock each others' heads off, you would finish and then have a competition on who could drink the most water.
"It was pretty competitive in the back yard."
Mackinlay, who died late last week aged 58 following a battle with cancer, followed the same mantra in sport and life.
Although he thrived for 17 years teaching at Billabong High School in Culcairn, the talented cricketer and footballer's first job was as a mechanic in the family business at Holbrook.
He was also a fitness instructor at leisure centres and spent time as a trainer and strapper with the Illawarra Steelers and Wests.
Mackinlay played 216 senior matches for the Brookers including the club's 1985 grand final win over Wodonga Demons.
He played alongside Bruce and Robbie in the flag while Leo was club president.
He represented the Tallangatta league in 1982 and 1983, had stints with Kalgoorlie Railways and Port Kembla and coached junior football in the Hume and Tallangatta leagues for 12 years.
He played his final match at 56 for Holbrook's reserves.
"Whatever he did, he did it properly," Robbie said.
"He was always the hardest trainer and a big motivator who had the ability to help people learn whether it be in sport or education.
"He always followed the philosophy that you get out of life what you put into it.
"Although George is leaving us a little early, he and Julia (wife) have been able to provide a really good platform for their four children."
On the cricket field, Mackinlay was the Holbrook association's leading wicket-taker on two occasions and boasted a top-score of 136 against Henty.
He represented the association in the O'Farrell Cup and Stribley and Matterson shields as well as playing for Champagnat Catholic College in the North East Victoria Schoolboys.
Mackinlay was also heavily involved with Holbrook's triathlon club.
Mackinlay is survived by his wife, Julia, and children Hamish, Greta, Freya and Ewan.
His funeral will be held at 2pm on Friday at Ten Mile Creek Gardens in Young St, Holbrook.