Goroke Football Club reunion to celebrate 1958 flag

REMINISCING: Fred Lowe and Rob Stacey with the Metters Cup. The Goroke Football Team claimed the cup with its fifth premiership of the 1950s in 1958. Picture: SEAN WALES
REMINISCING: Fred Lowe and Rob Stacey with the Metters Cup. The Goroke Football Team claimed the cup with its fifth premiership of the 1950s in 1958. Picture: SEAN WALES

GOROKE Football Club’s 1958 Central Wimmera Football League premiership was a memorable one, according to two players from the team. 

Fred Lowe and Rob Stacey helped Goroke win its fifth flag in the 1950s against Dimboola at Natimuk that year. Lowe was 21 at the time, Stacey just 19.

Lowe said early in the season Goroke wasn’t given much of a chance to make a run at the premiership.

“Early in the season we looked like we had no hope,” he said.

“We had to win the last three games of the season to finish fourth. Then we had to play Miga Lake in the first final, Horsham seconds in the preliminary final and then Dimboola in the final.”

Money from the gate was a record at that point of the league at Natimuk – 126 pounds came through from fans. 

Stacey, playing across half back, was among Goroke’s best on the field as the side won 10.7 (67) to 5.6 (36).

“It was my first senior premiership and I played one of my best games that day,” he said.

“It was all man on man back in those days. I played in the back pocket and if you left that back line open you were in trouble.”

It was a different story for Lowe who went into the game with a broken finger and ended up hurting his knee in the second half. 

“On the Thursday night before the grand final I broke my finger,” he said. 

A paper clipping after the 1958 premiership win for the Goroke Football Club.

A paper clipping after the 1958 premiership win for the Goroke Football Club.

“Our doctor from Goroke came down to Natimuk on the day and gave me a needle. He gave me another painkiller at half-time and about 10 minutes into the third quarter I went up for a spoil and when I came down my knee landed on the back of a bloke’s boot and it cut through to my knee cap. I was carried off and carted straight to hospital at Natimuk.”

Lowe said he missed out on the celebrations at the Gymbowen Hall.

“All the players went to the Gymbowen Hall and were playing up all night,” he said. 

“It was unbelievable. Every night after the finals we were down at Gymbowen Hall and it was packed. Apparently the coach Len Rolph replayed the game about three times.

“We were all local people, you didn’t go and buy players in those days. You played for the love of your team. Now teams with the most money do the best.”

The 1958 premiership win meant Goroke was awarded the Metters Cup.

“It was a cup donated to the league and it was the league premiership cup and it was presented to the side who won five premierships,” Lowe said.

Goroke's 1958 flag was its fifth of the 1950s.

Goroke's 1958 flag was its fifth of the 1950s.

“We won five between 1950 and 1958 so have kept it since.”

Nowadays football comes to Goroke less often.

As population numbers dwindled it became apparent the club could not stand by itself. Goroke merged with Frances in 1992 and is now known as Border Districts. The side plays in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League. 

During the side’s home game against Naracoorte on June 16 at Goroke a reunion will be held to commemorate the ‘58 premiership team, of which there are about 11 or 12 remaining players, and celebrate all past players of the club. 

Stacey said it promised to be a great day for past players.

“I was sad to see the club merge but we just couldn’t keep going – we want everyone who has played at Goroke to come down, all past players,” he said.