Mildura Weekly : Friday August 7 Vol 9 No 39
sport 23 FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2015 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU By ADAM LUITJES AFTER 40 years dedicated to the Nangiloc District Football Netball Club, it’s safe to say the hearts of Peter ‘Pluto’ Christensen, 76, and Eric Hooper, 59, beat true for the red and blue. The pair have been heavily involved with Nangiloc since the club’s inaugural season in 1975, and are considered ‘living leg- ends’ amongst the Demons faith- ful. A founding member of the football club, Pluto’s love and passion for his beloved Demons has seen him miss only 12 games in 40 seasons. A revered figure at the club, Pluto can be found on the De- mons’ bench taping, massaging and passing on encouragement as trainer. Pluto’s good mate Eric was NDFNC’s first life member, and is one of only a few Demons to play in all of the club’s six premier- ships. Debuting with the Demons as a teenager in 1975, Eric’s illustri- ous career ended in 1996 after 321 games. Amazingly Eric isn’t the De- mons’ games record-holder, with that honour going to stalwart Kelly Cox, who has notched up more than 400 games! Born and bred in Nangiloc, Pluto said the club was founded due to the increasing number of men who moved to the district for work. He remembers 60 people turning up to a meeting in 1974 to discuss fielding a team in the Millewa Football League. “We put it out there and had strong turn-up from the locals,” Pluto said. “We were fortunate that we had enough youth get be- hind us, and we had a good mix of blokes from the district.” When it came to building the oval, Pluto recalls the whole com- munity rolling up their sleeves to help out. “We were fortunate that when we decided to build the oval we had strong input from the dis- trict,” he said. “We didn’t know what size oval to have, so we mea- sured Red Cliffs, City Oval and we had the measurements of the MCG, because we didn’t want a small oval.” Coached by former Red Cliffs footballer Barry Woosnam, the Demons were competitive in their first season, making the fi- nals, with the club’s inaugural premiership coming in 1978. Nangiloc’s most successful period came more than a decade later, with the Demons winning premierships in ’89, ’90, ’93, ’94 and ’95 under the guidance of current Red Cliffs president Da- vid Hensgen. Asked his favourite memory during his 40-year association with Nangiloc, Eric fondly re- called Richmond legend Tom Hafey staying at his house after taking the Demons for a training session in the 1990s. Despite a few lean seasons – which resulted in the club go- ing into recess in 2006 – the De- mons have bounced back to be sitting on top of the MFL ladder. Having witnessed the club grow to what it is today, are Pluto and Eric proud to see Nangiloc celebrate 40 years? “There’s no point asking me that, because every Saturday is a proud moment for me!” Pluto laughed. To celebrate the Demons’ 40th anniversary, the club will be holding a reunion at the Red Cliffs Civic Hall on Saturday, Au- gust 29, from 7pm. Expecting between 200 and 300 past netballers and foot- ballers, NDFNC president Bren- dan Cogdell is looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane. “It would be great for myself to meet those people and have a chat with them during the day and night,” Brendan said. “We can see what went on back in the day compared to current times, and vice-versa for them.” Along with the night’s festivi- ties, a barbecue luncheon will be held during the Demons’ home game against fierce rivals Bam- bill, with social tents set up for past players. More information about the reunion is available by contacting Megan Allen on 0407 849 637, Sam Lee on 0459 024 254 or by emailing nangilocfnc@gmail. com. Rugby League finals action • MILESTONE: Nangiloc District Football Netball Club player David Keens, past player Eric Hooper, trainer Peter ‘Pluto’ Christensen and president Brendan Cogdell are looking forward to celebrating the club’s 40th reunion at the end of the month. Photos: PAUL MENSCH Nangiloc Dee-lighted to celebrate 40-year milestone ROUND One of the Sunraysia Rugby League finals will be held tomorrow at Wentworth. 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Friday July 31 Vol 9 No 38
Friday August 14 Vol 9 No 40