Props' premiership players relive glory in Pirie

MEMORIES: Former Proprietary footballers 'bounced' off each other with an avalanche of memories at the 50-year reunion for the 1968 premiership team at the Lions Football Club on Saturday. See report below for caption.
MEMORIES: Former Proprietary footballers 'bounced' off each other with an avalanche of memories at the 50-year reunion for the 1968 premiership team at the Lions Football Club on Saturday. See report below for caption.

A small but select group of former footballers gathered in Port Pirie on Saturday for what might have been a “Last Supper”.

ORGANISERS: Former premiership full-back and English teacher at Port Pirie High School Chris McCabe, left, and Graeme Wiskar organised the event.

ORGANISERS: Former premiership full-back and English teacher at Port Pirie High School Chris McCabe, left, and Graeme Wiskar organised the event.

The 1968 Proprietary premiership team was celebrating 50 years since their triumph in the Spencer Gulf League grand final at Memorial Oval.

Thanks to former full-back and local teacher Chris McCabe and Panthers supporter Graeme Wiskar about 15 ex-footballers gathered at the Lions Football Club for a meal and recollections.

Mr McCabe said that “lots of happy memories” were shared.

“It was a bit like the Last Supper because we didn’t know whether we would be back together in 10 years’ time,” he said.

“It was good to be back in the clubrooms. It was a great era for Props and the past players association was generous in funding the occasion.

“Thanks to Graeme Wiskar for all the co-ordination work.”

Members of the team walked onto the new Memorial Oval turf to relive their exploits in the famous grand final.

Mr Wiskar said the group was “happy about that because they had been kicking goals there 50 years ago":.

“There were some handshakes, beers and welcomes and thank you to the Proprietary Football Club Past Players Association for buying the drinks,” he said. “The Lions Football Club put on a smorgasbord.

“I thought everyone would be in in bed by 8pm, but they were still there until 10.30pm sitting around a table and reminiscing. We were so happy everything went so well.”

Mr McCabe, of Adelaide, said the oval had looked “sensational.”

“There is a Crows-Power game coming up so all power to Pirie,” he said.

“It is a good sign that these kind of positive developments are happening.

“We had a memorable evening with lots of happy stories and obviously some sad ones for people who could not be there for a variety of reasons.”

While discussing stadiums, Mr McCabe revealed that he had been at Cape Town, South Africa, when the Australian Test cricketers became embroiled in the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year

“My wife Denise and I kept a low profile the next day after the dastardly deed,” he said.

PHOTO: Members of the premiership team who gathered at the Lions clubrooms included Chris McCabe, left, Barry Short, Dennis Sampson, John Gilchrist, Jeff Clifford, Barry Atkins, sitting, Ken Bessen, Robert Sawyer, Kevin MacCormack, Trevor Chandler, Don Martens, Garry Williamson. Absent: Ron Markham and Kenton Franks.

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