FOR more than 30 seasons, Jock Clark has called the Bendigo Football Netball League’s footy action for radio station Fresh fm 101.5.
Clark will do so again this Saturday when Strathfieldsaye takes on Gisborne at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
In a footy calling career of 35 years, Clark has witnessed and called many memorable grand finals.
“The grand final between Castlemaine and Golden Square in 1992 had it all.
“It was an absolute ripping contest from just before the first bounce until the last minute,” he said of a match the Magpies won 97-92.
“There were so many skilful and tough players on both teams, and they were brilliantly coached by Matt Scully (Castlemaine) and Stan Leahy (Golden Square).”
Another clash Clark fondly recalled was the 2007 grand final between Eaglehawk and Gisborne.
“At three quarter-time, Eaglehawk was down by five goals and kicking into a strong breeze in the last quarter.
“Eaglehawk coach Derrick Filo stepped up do something about it and played one of the most remarkable quarters of football I have seen.”
Filo’s feats included a goal from well outside the 50m arc to the Barnard Street end as the Hawks soared to an 84-82 victory.
The long-running association between Clark and Fresh fm, previously 3CCC, began in the station’s first year of 1983.
“Bev Ellis was doing a half-hour sports show on a Saturday morning and I would go into the studio for a five minute chat about local footy,” Clark said.
“By the end of the year I spoke to station management about taking this further and doing live broadcasts of matches.
“The station manager said it would take at least $20,000 in sponsorship to get up and running.
“For a community radio station that was a lot of money.
“Within a week I had the sponsorship and we went from there.”
Clark said so many businesses and individuals had played a big part in sponsorship of the radio station.
“For the early years of football it was Tony and June Power from Forty Winks that did so much to support our footy broadcasts.”
Thousands of matches later and Clark is still going strong.
General manager of Bendigo’s Fresh fm, Wallace Teasdale praised Clark’s long-time commitment to the station and to football.
“I believe Jock has contributed more than any other person as a local sports commentator at community level than anyone in the state,” Teasdale said.
“He calls with passion and a professional approach, and has called local footy for more than 30 years.”
When asked about the best players he had called in Bendigo FNL action, Clark nominated Derrick Filo, Castlemaine gun forward Stephen Oliver, and Golden Square ruck-rover Dean Strauch.
“They were brilliant players in their day, and would be if playing today.
“The game has changed a lot, but players like Lachlan Sharp, Kallen Geary and Jake Moorhead not only star in this era, but would also if they were playing 30 years ago.”
Among the many highs of Clark’s calling career was Bendigo’s inter-league win against Ballarat at Bacchus Marsh.
“It was mainly a bunch of young blokes who played, and Stephen Oliver who had retired but played a one-off match and kicked four goals.
“It was an amazing day.”
For Saturday’s grand final, Clark will team up with Johnny Hunter, Don Moran and Wallace Teasdale.
“I have called with so many talented people over the years,” said Clark.
Among them have been Anthony Hudson, Joel Peterson, Barry Denner and Ron Rogers.
The Fresh fm (101.5) commentary line-ups for Saturday’s grand finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Under-18s at 9am: Sandhurst v Gisborne – Johnny Hunter, Joel Peterson and Ben Dyett.
Reserves at 11.50am: Gisborne v Golden Square – Billy Hewitt, Cameron Power and Nicholas Churchill.
Seniors at 2.20pm: Strathfieldsaye v Gisborne – Jock Clark, Johnny Hunter, Don Moran and Wallace Teasdale.
Written by Nathan Dole.