KEVIN Dellar presented Nick Pekin with the Dellar Medal on Monday night as the Horsham District league’s senior best and fairest.
The medal has been donated by the Dellar family, who have been involved with Wimmera football for many years.
Dellar played senior football in the Wimmera for the Horsham Demons at half-back and ended up making it to the Victorian Football League.
“When I was 18 I went travelling around Victoria working,” he said.
“My first senior game I played was in Seymour. Then I went to Wangaratta and played under Collingwood legend Bob Rose. Then I went to Mt Gambier and had a year with North Gambier. I came back to Horsham in 1958.”
Read more: Nick Pekin wins 2018 Dellar Medal
After the ‘58 season, Dellar was picked up by Essendon.
“At the end of that season I was asked by Melbourne, Geelong and Essendon to train,” he said.
“I went to Essendon and I went down and made the list. I had a permit for six games but Horsham wouldn’t let me go until I played the first three games at Horsham.
“I went down and played my first game in the seconds and I was best on the ground. I played in the seniors the next week against Geelong. I played that and four other senior games and I did reasonably well. It came up to get a clearance for me but Horsham wouldn’t clear me, so I came back to Horsham.”
Dellar said he had fond memories of his time in the VFL.
“It was much tougher in many ways than now, because there was only one umpire,” he said.
“I was playing on the Melbourne Cricket Ground one day and I copped a knee to the head from Ron Barassi in front of 90 thousand people.
“I had a taste for it. I don’t know if I wanted to play longer. I enjoyed it but all of my mates were here in Horsham.”
Dellar returned to the Demons and featured in the side’s Wimmera league flag in 1960.
“That was Horsham’s first premiership in about 25 years,” he said.
“The 1960 premiership was the peak of my career. It was at Dimboola against Stawell and there was a hell of a brawl in that game in the third quarter. It was probably known as the best brawl in Wimmera football.
“When we came back we were presented in front of the Town Hall and the street from Firebrace to Darlot Street was packed with everyone right behind us.
“Horsham went through a big re-structure of its board after 1959 and it really put the club on the map. About every second year after that we won a premiership.”
The 1960 premiership was the peak of my career. It was at Dimboola against Stawell and there was a hell of a brawl in that game in the third quarter. It was probably known as the best brawl in Wimmera football.Kevin Dellar
Dellar had plenty of success in his time at Horsham.
“I played in about five premierships and I coached a flag too for Horsham in 1972,” he said.
Dellar has fond memories of a close group at Horsham. He said he became great friends with Ronnie Kemp, who played on the wing.
“I played a lot of football with Ronnie Kemp and we became close,” he said.
“Hardly a week would go by when we wouldn’t call each other. We played together at Horsham. We had a good group at Horsham in the ‘60s and there are still a lot of them around. We had a reunion and there were about 15 of them there.”
Dellar also had coaching experience at Miga Lake and Noradjuha in between his stints at Horsham.
“Miga Lake were probably some of the best couple of years and I won a premiership there,” he said.
“Everyone was behind the club like glue. Everyone was there at every training and if you had a working bee everyone was there.
“I earned about 20 pounds a week at Miga Lake and travelled twice a week from Horsham. That was a fair bit of money then and the coach was the only person who was paid. You always just played for the honour and you had far more patriotism and loyal players.”
Dellar then coached at Noradjuha.
“They were a good club,” he said.
“They were very young. I think there were two of us over 21. We finished top of the ladder but then bombed out in the finals.
“After that those youngsters stayed through and they really had a good era.
“Then I came back to Horsham as a non-playing coach for a couple of years and I played my last season for St Michael’s in the Horsham District league.”
I got involved with the league and I just kept on giving to them. We had a good committee and with what you were achieving you felt like you didn’t want to do much else.Kevin Dellar
After Dellar’s playing career, his involvement with football in the region didn’t diminish.
Dellar quickly stepped into an administrative roll with the Horsham District league board.
“I gave away playing and I was talked into being the president of the league,” he said. “I spent 10 or 11 years as president of the league. That was about 1975-1985.”
Dellar said during that time, the league experienced a positive period.
“That period was when the league came alive,” he said.
“The secretary when I was there was Tony Campesato and he was the leader of all things. We had a lot of things with teams coming and going. It was always known as a very strong league.
“I got involved and I just kept on giving to them. We had a good committee and with what you were achieving you felt like you didn’t want to do much else.
“You put a lot of work into football in a country area like this.”
Nowadays, Dellar continues to hand out the medal named after his family but his involvement with football and netball is simply as a supporter on the sidelines. After decades of playing football and then giving back as an administrator, he thinks the Horsham District league is in a good position.
“The medal was about our association with the Horsham District league,” he said. “It was an acknowledgement towards the end of my time with the board. It’s named after the family so when we aren’t here it will continue to go on.
“I don’t support one club now – we usually go to finals and the grand final. Since they combined the netball and football leagues it’s really given the league some teeth. I think the Horsham District league is in a pretty strong place.”