A week off – a Demons fan reflects

June 18, 2019 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

A week off – A Demons fan reflects

Nigel Dawe

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.”
– Victor Hugo (who did he coach? – Ed)

It’s funny in life, how loose ends can sometimes take years to
connect or come to reveal and intertwine themselves of their own
volition. In 2004, I drafted an article for ‘Inside Football’ (which I still
can’t believe fell by the wayside as a publication last year) however it
was an article I never got around to submitting, it was all about our
great Vin Coutie and how 100 years prior in 1904 he had topped the
League with a then competition record haul of 39 goals.

As an early captain and much revered club stalwart, Vin was also the
first player in VFL history to kick 8 goals on two occasions. His career
finished up with a then club record 152 games at the end of 1911
(one season shy of the adoption of ‘A Grand Old Flag’ as our team
song). So he has been a figure in Melbourne’s long history that I have
always had an interest in and one that I’ve sought out in terms of
items to collect from his playing days.

Now, that’s the back-story, but the real story was my attempt to get
hold of a 1973 ‘Big Ben Pies’ Demons drawing from ‘Memorabilia on
Smith’, an absolute Mecca of a store for die-hard footy buffs, located
in Fitzroy. So I rang Cameron Doyle there (who is also an ex-
Collingwood player and now the penultimate VFL/AFL heritage
supremo, not to mention the only bloke I know who owns over 300
game worn guernseys) to check whether he might have the above
said item, which he didn’t.

But what he did have, and much to my immediate lotto winning-like
response, was an incredibly rare 1909 Melbourne team photo that
includes, of course, the great Vin Coutie (fourth from the left, middle
row) and also Joe Pearce on the far right of the back row (who lost
his life at Gallipoli on the day of the original landings in 1915 and was
also the much older cousin of club legend Jack Mueller). ‘Book-
ending’ the back row on the opposite far left is none other than
Harry Brereton, our ace forward of focus, if you recall from my last

Needless to say this incredible ‘snapshot’ and integral ‘thread’ in our
Grand Old Flag is now mine, but it got me reflecting on how none of
us ever really ‘own’ things like this, we merely ‘look after’ them so
that they may continue to evoke and ‘keep alive’ the legacy and
memory of those that have gone before. Rather like the scene from
the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’, gazing at my newly acquired
treasure, I can still hear our heroes of 110 years ago, and none more
so than the smirking ‘cap-wearing’ Joey Hodgkins up in the back row
of the shot, distinctly chime: “Seize the day boys, Seize the day!”


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