There is little doubt that BEAU LONGMIRE could walk the walk in the O&M and was one of the finest fullbacks of his era. But Longmire didn't mind to talk the talk either and would often sledge his opponents. The triple premiership player caught up with The Border Mail's BRENT GODDE during the week and reveals why his sledging landed him in hot water on more than the odd occasion.
BRENT GODDE: Your birth certificate reads Murray Longmire but you are better known as Beau?
BEAU LONGMIRE: I was born 11 pounds and one ounce and walked at 10 months and my legs didn't cope real well because I was such a big kid. My legs bowed really badly to such an extent the doctors were thinking of breaking them and putting them in calipers. Fortunately my parents decided against it. So I got the nickname bow legs and everyone calls me Beau now.
BG: 11 pounds one ounce, sounds like it would have been a painful labour for your mother?
BL: Mum was in labour for 36 hours before the doctors had to perform an emergency caesarean.
BG: You played Murray Bushrangers as a teenager?
BL: I played Bushrangers but to be honest I wasn't up to the standard required. I asked John Byrne for an honest assessment of my chances of playing at a higher level. To his credit he didn't sugarcoat it and told me my future was at my local club so I headed back to play for Corowa-Rutherglen.
BG: Your grandfather Keith Williams played VFL for Fitzroy and won a Morris medal in 1946?
BL: Keith also coached both Rutherglen and Corowa before the two clubs merged.
BG: How old were you when you made your debut for Corowa-Rutherglen?
BL: I can't really remember much about my debut other than I think it was in 1994, I was 16 and Ron McKeown was coach and it was Dennis Sandral's last year at the club. My brother-in-law Jeff Chandler was also playing after having a stint with North Melbourne in the VFL.
BG: You were regarded as one of the premier fullbacks in the O&M during your career at Corowa-Rutherglen. How did you cope playing on opponents who were most weeks a lot bigger than yourself?
BL: One of my biggest strengths was just to be able to hold my ground in one-on-one contests. I tried to be a midfielder but didn't have the tank to run all day so I slotted into fullback instead.
BG: During the mid to late 1990s the club struggled for success but the arrival of Peter Tossol as coach sparked a stunning turnaround in the clubs fortunes?
BL: We had a good nucleus of senior players like Darrel Spencer, Brendan Eyers, Paul Bartlett, Mark O'Donoghue and Juice Kingston.We were also fortunate to have a hard working committee led by Rod Campbell, John Henneman and Brian Houlihan who were really astute in landing Tossol. Getting Tossol was a game changer and one of the best decisions in the history of the club.
BG: Tossol is an intriguing character?
BL: Both Peter and his wife Brownyn are wonderful people. Corowa needed someone from outside the club that had experienced the ultimate success and knew what it took to get there. 'Toss' is a fanatical competitor. Brownyn tells the story of when 'Toss' plays noughts and crosses against his girls he always wins - that's how competitive he is.
BG: Tossol struggled with having so many farmers in the side?
BL: The first year in 1999, the club recruited well and had a strong pre-season through February and March and then April cropping starts. So obviously cropping takes priority and there were probably 10 of us who couldn't train much for two months but would still play on Saturdays. Blokes like myself, 'Chalkie' Hanrahan and Craig Tafft. 'Toss' has told me since that he used to tear his hair out and struggled to cope with what he thought was a lack of dedication to training.
BG: Tossol tried an unusual tactic at the half-time break one day when you were getting flogged by Yarrawonga?
BL: We were nine goals down and he dragged me out in front of the playing group at half-time. There was a lockout in the change rooms, so there were no supporters. He made me lay down on my back and pull my jumper up and proceeded to bounce the ball like an umpire on my guts probably seven or eight times. Basically he was trying to shock the players into improving in the second-half.
BG: Certainly different, did it have the desired effect?
BL: No, we got beat by 15 goals. I was just glad the ball bounced off my gut and didn't just sit there like it would if I was carrying too much weight.
BG: Did he explain his actions to you?
BL: 'Toss' told me when he was playing with Wangaratta Rovers, coach Laurie Burt did something similar to Robbie Walker but the only difference was the Hawks responded and won the match.
BG: You played in your first flag in 2000 when Corowa-Rutherglen flogged North Albury by 108 points in the decider?
BL: The previous year in 1999 nobody expected us to play finals and we got beat in the elimination final. I was in the showers after the match and everybody seemed happy and satisfied with making finals. But I was filthy that we got beat and gave a serve to a few of the players. I just let them know that we should be striving to win finals and not just happy to be making up the numbers.
BG: Damian 'Hose' Houliahan dominated the 2000 decider with 10 goals?
BL: Before the game I said to 'Hose' are you right to go today big fella? 'Hose' told me 'I'm going to kick 10 goals and then come off.'
BG: 'Hose' didn't disappoint?
BL: I remember after he kicked his tenth early in the last quarter he was jogging off the ground and made sure that I acknowledged him. He yelled out to me 'I'm done for the day, see-ya-later.'
BG: One of your premiership teammates was David Teague who would go on to win a best and fairest with Carlton and is now coach of the Blues?
BL: I remember having a discussion with my brother John, that Teague needed to be drafted. John told me there was a knock on Teague's pace so he was unlikely to be considered by AFL clubs.
BG: What was Teague's biggest asset?
BL: David was unbelievably tough, could find the footy and was a good user of it. Thankfully North Melbourne gave him an opportunity and he went on to win a best and fairest at Carlton. He is a ripping bloke and deserves the success that has come his way.
BG: I'm guessing 'Juice' Kingston would have been an entertaining teammate?
BL: I remember 'Toss' used to struggle with 'Juice' who had a casual pre-match routine. We would be having a team meeting and 'Juice' would often rock up late and be wearing his board shorts and thongs in the middle of winter. He would also be munching on a hot dog and have a cup of tea while the meeting was on. Sometimes he would squeeze a bucket of chips in as well.
BG: Carl 'Ocker' Dickins got a surprise visit one afternoon during pre-season?
BL: 'Ocker' didn't turn up to training so 'Toss' made us do a road run to his unit. So we all arrive there and knock on the door and 'Ocker' is perched up on the couch watching Home and Away. To his credit he pulled the runners on and jogged back with us.
BG: In 2002 the club under-achieved after getting knocked out of the finals in straight sets. But you make amends the following season and win the flag from fifth spot?
BL: We underperformed in 2002 and were hell-bent on making amends in 2003.
BG: You started 2003 slowly and were 2-5 after seven rounds?
BL: I was captain in 2003 and I remember having a discussion with 'Toss' on how we could turn things around. So before round 8 we met over at the bowling club for breakfast at 11am.
BG: What was the theory behind the idea?
BL: We just wanted to get together early as a group and focus on the match. I remember blokes were ploughing into the bacon and eggs and I was thinking this mightn't have been such a good idea. But we won that day and got on a roll and didn't lose another match and scraped into fifth spot and became the first side to win the grand final from the elimination final since 1984.
BG: How do you compare the two flags?
BL: I think 2003 was more satisfying because we had our backs against the wall and had to come from the elimination final. While 2000 was euphoric because it was the clubs first flag in 32 years.
BG: Your father Fred played in the 1968 flag?
BL: I think there were four or five fathers and sons that played in 1968 and 2000.
BG: You were fairly lippy on the field and didn't mind sledging your opponent?
BL: Lavington's full-forward Chris Stuhldreier threatened to kill me in his last match and I thoroughly deserved it.
BG: What did you do to ruffle the big fella's feathers?
BL: I terrorised him all day verbally and looking back I overstepped the mark and probably got a bit too personal with my sledges. He told me he didn't care if he got rubbed out for life because it was going to be his last match anyway.
BG: Did he get hold of you?
BL: He spent most of the last-quarter chasing me around the forward line. He flipped right out, and was really angry. I was a bit fearful of what would've happened if he got hold of me because he was a big unit.
BG: North Albury coach Travis Hodgson got you in a headlock one year for doing something similar to him?
BL: I was sledging 'Hoggy' so he got me in a headlock and I thought I was going to black out at one stage. Fortunately he let go before I did. Once again I thoroughly deserved it and I don't blame him for doing it.
BG: Obviously your brother John has had an outstanding career and is a Coleman medallist, best and fairest winner, premiership player and coach?
BL: The early part of his career was outstanding and he is the youngest ever winner of the Coleman medal at 19. But after a couple of serious knee injuries he was probably never the same player.
BG: You went to watch your brother in the last round in 1990 when he needed four goals to bring up the 100-goal milestone?
BL: I reckon he had two goals in the first 10 minutes so we thought he was a certainty to kick 100. But then it must have got to him mentally and he kicked eight behinds for the rest of the match and missed out.
BG: You two remain extremely close?
BL: We would talk to each other over the phone at least a couple of times a week. It's funny, he wants to talk about farming because he's sick of football and I want to talk about football because I'm sick of farming.
BG: Your brother received a brand new VL Commodore for signing with North Melbourne as a 15-year-old?
BL: At the time he was tied to Sydney Swans through zoning. Anyhow North Melbourne coach John Kennedy Snr, Ron Joseph and Greg Miller came to Corowa to sign John. My parents, John and I met them at the bowling club and had tea at the Chinese restaurant. Ron Joseph said to John 'if you sign with us, you can drive this home' and chucked him some car keys. The only problem was John was 15 at the time.
BG: What did he do with the car?
BL: It's funny looking back but he parked it in the machinery shed on the farm with a cover over it. We used to sneak out at night and do a few laps around the back roads at Balldale.
BG: Your mum was horrified when John was playing during the infamous 'Battle Of Britain' match between North Melbourne and Carlton in London in 1997.
BL: That was John's first match after he got drafted to North Melbourne. I think John had just turned 17 and was on the bench when the brawl started. Mum wasn't too happy when he went on to the ground not long after and was stressed watching the match from home.
BG: You called it quits on your O&M career in 2005 and followed your good mate 'Chalkie' Hanrahan to CDU who he was coaching?
BL: Yeah I thought it was a smart move because we were raging favourites to win the grand final but we got rolled in the grand final against Coleambally. But as we know funny things happen in finals football. Looking back we were probably too confident and thought it was just going to happen instead of making it happen. They pulled the rug out from under us and deserved the win.
BG: The following year you make amends and win the flag and retire at 28 on the ultimate high?
BL: It was good to get a bit of revenge and not many blokes get to win a flag in their last match.
BG: I believe 'Chalkie' pulled a coaching masterstroke and played you on a wing in the decider and you got best-on-ground honours?
BL: We discussed it on the Thursday night and decided it might be worth a try to surprise the opposition. I ended up playing on a 16-year-old kid so I was probably entitled to get a few kicks.
BG: Do you regret retiring at 28?
BL: Not at all. I was starting to get a few soft tissue injuries because I wasn't training much due to farming commitments and I knew the time was right.