After nearly 120 years of action on and off the field, South Bunbury Football Club have a rich history that was honoured on Saturday night.
A formal dinner in the club’s Sav Davies lounge hosted by Swan Districts chief executive officer Tom Bottrell paid tribute to the thousands of players who have helped make the club the most successful in Australia with 44 league premierships since 1898.
A committee tasked with selecting a handful of the club’s hundreds of champions for elevation into the inaugural hall of fame whittled more than 60 nominations down to 11 inductees.
The first name on the list was Ron Buswell, a veteran of 301 league games who claimed nine premiership titles from 13 grand finals with the Tigers.
Buswell was a one-club player for his entire career across the 1930s and 40s, turning down offers to play for WAFL clubs and South Melbourne in the VFL. Buswell was fondly remembered as perhaps the best rover to don a South Bunbury guernsey.
When Bruce Crabb took the stage as the second inductee, he quickly led the room in an impromptu rendition of South Bunbury’s club song.
Crabb spoke passionately of meeting a number of character in the club and forming life-long friendship in a career spanning 21 years and 252 league games. In that time he notched up three fairest-and-best awards, four premiership medals and 333 goals.
Ronald ‘Sav’ Davies who gave nearly five decades to the club as a player, junior coach and administrator was named the third hall of famer. Davies made his league debut in 1932 and played through to 1946 when a knee injury ended his career.
Just two years later he coached the South Bunbury juniors to an undefeated premiership. After his retirement, Davies held a number of roles for the club including president, vice president, club director and delegate to the association.
John ‘Dupa’ Depiazzi was added to the list having played 17 seasons for South Bunbury between 1956 and 1973 which included five premierships. He also claimed two best-and-fairest titles and went on to coach two more league premierships in 1980 and 1981.
Teammate Mike Brennan accepted the award, noting Depiazzi was a highly regarded player and friend.
“Champions show their quality in times of adversity and this is what made Dupa such a tremendous teammate,” Brennan said.
The phrase ‘a gentleman on and off the field’ was used to describe the fifth inductee Robert Farquhar.
The first man to win two Hayward Medals, Farquhar claimed nine league premierships including the 1957 title where he was the club’s captain. ‘Hungry Bob’ never missed a game through injury in his 230 match career.
A member of the WA Football Hall of Fame was next in Syd Jackson, who left a lasting legacy at the club despite only playing two seasons with South Bunbury.
Jackson debuted for the Tigers’ league side aged 18 in 1961 and finished the season by winning the Hayward Medal. He repeated the performance in 1962.
From 1963 to 1968, Jackson played 104 games for East Perth before being signed to Carlton. Jackson played 136 games for the Blues over eight seasons, kicked 165 goals and claimed two AFL premiership medals in 1970 and 1972.
Jackson told the 150 guests present on Saturday night he doesn’t focus too much on his achievements which include being named in the AFL Indigenous Team of the Century.
Iver Robertson impressed the room with his memories of South Bunbury Football Club along with playing football in the army during World War II. The 96-year-old’s career was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939 and while serving overseas, Robertson played in the army’s 2nd 11th football side.
Returning to the club in 1946, Robertson won the 1947 Hayward Medal and coached three premierships.
Wayne ‘Watto’ Watterson joined the South West Football League in 1978 with Busselton, which included the Hayward Medal, and switched to the Tigers at the end of the season.
Over the next eight seasons, Watterson played 125 games for South Bunbury which included four premiership titles. He told the room the club was one incredible family he was very fortunate to have been part of.
The final three hall of fame inductees were also elevated to legend status.
The first, John Scott, never actually played football as a main sport but goes down in history as a wonderful administrator. In total, Scott served 24 years as club president. Known as a real innovator, Scott saw the club leave and reenter the then Bunbury Football Association on two occasions and attended to the club during World War II.
He even helped give the daughters of South Bunbury players away on their wedding days while their fathers were serving the nation.
Club stalwart Arthur Buswell said Scott’s slogan was always ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ and had phenomenal foresight in building the club up for ongoing success.
Clarence Parker was named as the second legend for his abilities as a ‘miracle footballer’. Born in 1907, Parker debuted in 1929 and went on to both captain and coach a number of premiership winning sides.
At the club’s 60th anniversary, Parker was named the club’s greatest player and is still considered to be one of the best to ever don the red and white.
Perhaps the biggest cheer of the night rang out when Peter Old was named the club’s third legend in recognition of his 251 league games between 1976 and 1991. Winning his first league premiership aged 17, Old went on to capture five more including as captain and coach of the 1989 side. He also won the 1984 Hayward Medal and Pike Medal as best-on-ground during a grand final.
The loveable and humble Old spoke about everyone except himself and told the room his success came from being in a great team.