Demons reflect on the glory days

From left, 1981 senior coach John McKenzie with Gavin Pellissier and Gary O’Hehir.

By David Nagel

Cuddles and hearty handshakes were only outnumbered by the laughs as Kooweerup celebrated its 1981 premiership clean-sweep with a 40-year-reunion at Denhams Road on Saturday.

Players and administrators came from all over the country – from as far and wide as Perth and Brisbane – to reflect on one of the greatest days in the club’s history, winning premierships in the seniors, reserves and under-18s.

Senior premiership coach John McKenzie said it was great to see so many of his past players assemble for the day.

“It’s just great to see everyone again and I’m just so proud of them because they were a great team, a coaches delight,” McKenzie said.

“Coaching Kooweerup was my first stint at coaching and it was all new to me. I had to learn from the start, but Kooweerup as a club loved me and that made things a lot easier and I really enjoyed my time here.

“It was a challenge and that’s what I enjoyed. We only had local boys, we never paid money, and they all got behind me and we did a lot of fitness, did a lot of miles, and it proved to be successful at the end. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

Life-member and senior runner in 1981, Gary King, also enjoyed the day but said it would be nice to add another piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet in the coming years.

“It’s like going back 40 years to be honest, like being in a time warp” King said as he pointed and looked around the room.

“It’s the amazing thing about football…how it brings people together and it keeps people in touch, you can just feel the special bond and camaraderie in here today.

“I consider Kooweerup to be a football town so it’s not nice to say we haven’t won a premiership in 40 years.

“We’ve tried, and with the same model, but it’s very rare you get a bunch of guys come through the ranks together like we did in 1979 and ’81.

“Hopefully we have some similar great days ahead.”

Read some more stories from the day in this week’s Footy Shorts.

1981 Grand Final Scores


KOOWEERUP 2.4 5.8 8.10 11.13 (79)

DROUIN 3.6 4.8 8.13 10.16 (76)


KOOWEERUP 4.1 5.5 6.7 9.8 (62)

PAKENHAM 1.1 2.3 4.5 5.5 (35)


KOOWEERUP 1.2 1.4 3.7 7.8 (50)

PAKENHAM 1.2 3.4 4.6 7.7 (49)