The value of winning
The Value of Winning
A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
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Malcolm McKinnon, 2006.
To combat a declining number of players in the local community and to add talent to their team, many football clubs are buying in star players to boost their chance of winning a flag.
Thank you to Graham Campbell, Rob Barrett, and Merv Neagle. Premiership flag footage by John Teasdale, used with permission. All still images reproduced courtesy of Balranald Football Club.
GRAHAM "JOCK" CAMPBELL: We've won three premierships. And really, it looks like it's a cycle of about every 10 years that someone decides, well, it's time that we had another go, so. I've been involved in the three premierships that we have won and involved again at the moment. Balranald's a town of 1,400 people. Virtually impossible to keep the young people here. So it makes it pretty hard that way.
-To get the success-- and I mean, the great form of success-- you've got to bring some players in. And I'm not being derogative to our boys, but we just haven't got the overall talent and the numbers of talented players to win a flag.
All Central Murray clubs would be spending, at the moment-- the majority of them, anyway, the successful ones, say, 6 or 8 of the top 12, would spend in excess of $100,000 a year on players alone.
GRAHAM "JOCK" CAMPBELL: It's not unreasonable to pay players, $700, $800, $900, or $1,000 a game to be competitive. I have contributed large sums of money. But we've certainly done our homework. We've gone around metro Melbourne and Mildura and hand-picked the players that we reckoned wood do the job.
MERV NEAGLE: I think after the '94 Premiership, this club won 14 games in 10 years. You know, I mean, and you get sick of it. You don't want to go along and the players get sick of it. The all the supporters get sick of it.
So when all of a sudden, they decided, OK let's have another crack at it, it's just like a breath of fresh air, isn't it? OK, we've got a good side. We're going to win. Let's go to the footy.
And the whole town on a Saturday when the team plays away-- like we went to Tooleybuc on Saturday. You could have fired a gun up the Main Street of this town and you wouldn't have hit anyone. There's just a different hype around the place when your football side's winning. That's how important it is to the town, you know?
So at the moment, all's-- well, we were runners-up last year. And hopefully we have a side good enough to go one step better this year.
ROB BARRETT: A lot of people don't like what we do. And I mean, that's the jealousy thing comes into it. And yeah, each time that we've one a premiership, there's been money involved. So you do tend to get that. Oh, well, they bought a premiership. Yeah, there's a fair bit of feeling comes about. I mean, yeah, you talk about these country teams and country footy clubs, money's a big thing.