Photos and text by Wayde Petersen
Mernda Football and Netball Club played its last games at its Schotters Road home on Saturday 23 August. Next year the club moves to brand new premises at Woodlands Waters Estate.
The Mernda Recreation Reserve may look to untrained eyes like a ramshackle collection of old portables, add-on buildings (including the old Mernda Railway Station Masters Building), an ancient scoreboard and a ground that turns into mush at the first sign of rain, but I will be sad to see the home of the mighty Mernda Demons Football, Netball & Cricket Clubs become just another block of McMansions, because it is here where I began my life long love affair with our indigenous game.
Life member Charlie Moore proudly wearing his 1964 premiership jumper, even if the white letters on the front have pretty much disappeared. Charlie played in that premiership with my dad’s cousin, Detlef Petersen, whom I mentioned on The Footy Almanac site recently.
At the last game at Schotters Road there were a few guys in their old jumpers: Maroon & White M from the 70’s, the Royal Blue & Red Yoke from the 80’s, the Red & Blue Sash from the 90’s, and the Red with Blue Spikes from the 00’s, but Charlie’s was the oldest and this was the most ratty looking!
But we brought it back for about an hour after the game and the club made a good $700 on the table.
I had to play for old time’s sake – Dad ran it after the games, and a lot of the kids, including me would put in 20 or 50 cents a throw.
If you did that now, you would have your arse sued!
Below is the final scores for the reserves.
A big win indeed. I hope the young boys can still do the new scoreboard at the new ground.
The club was formed in 1891 as the South Yan Yean F.C before changing to Mernda before World War 1, then to the Plenty Rovers Football Club in 1932, when Mernda merged and moved out to Doreen. It returned to the name of Mernda in 1965 when the State Electricity Commission forced the club out of Doreen and back to the Mernda Recreation Reserve, after the SEC extended the power lines over the Doreen ground, making playing football almost impossible.
The club has collected 21 senior premierships in various local competitions, the most recent in 2012.
What was once a small country club in dairy country with two teams (Seniors & Under 17’s), is now a large suburban club with three senior football teams, a full list of junior sides, a newly formed youth girls team, and a thriving netball club. But the facilities at the Schotters Road ground were probably the one of the worst in suburban football. Well, not he best anyway, Not much had changed there since the 1960s
The seniors lost to Panton Hill. The final score for the final game was Mernda 6.10 (46) Panton Hill 7.8 (50).