Mildura Weekly : Friday January 13 Vol 11 No 10
news 17 FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU • From Page 15 With the Tigers under- performing last season, Dale is confident Rich- mond’s recent recruiting drive – which netted Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy and Toby Nankervis – will see them climb back up the ladder. “Last year I think we lost our way in a few differ- ent areas,” he said. “In the last five or six games of the year I was thinking these blokes aren’t in it! “Damien (Hardwick, Richmond’s coach) would have been under the pump, and they decided they needed more help behind the scenes, and went out and targeted a number of blokes who could help.” Witnessing first-hand football’s transition into the modern era, Dale said the game has become so much more professional since his playing days. “When I first came down you had to work and work to get an end result, and you didn’t get much money out of it,” he said. “Now the players get a big slice of the pie, and they haven’t done anything yet, and you have to try and keep a lid on them. “All I did was play footy a bit better than someone else, that’s all I did, but some of them think they are superstars, and you think hang on a minute.” Making his VFL debut in Round One of the 1978 season as an 18-year-old, Dale has fond memories of his early days at Punt Road. “I remember in the Under 19s I was lucky to play in the 1977 premier- ship, and you’ll find there were about six guys that went on to play in the 1980 (Senior) premiership,” he said. “The next year I was playing in the Seniors, and the guy who made me feel the most welcome was Neil Balme, who is a magnifi- cent bloke. “He made you feel a part of the club, and the good thing about him was that he protected you when you were playing, and there were a lot of people who were scared of ‘Balmey’. “I was lucky enough I started in a successful era, and we had some charac- ters who were mean and tough.” Playing in an era that featured some of the great- est players in VFL/AFL his- tory, Dale said Geelong leg- end Gary Ablett Snr was in a league of his own. “I think in the 10 games in the 1980s that he played against us, he averaged 10 goals a game,” he said. “I still remember one game on the MCG, he kicked 15 goals on the wing, he was just too good for us. “He was so big and strong, did whatever he liked, he must have thought he was playing against kin- dergarten kids, because we had a fairly ordinary side.” Having made the most out of his playing career, Dale said the region’s as- piring footballers need to ensure they give themselves every chance to succeed. “You have to be profi- cient in kicking the footy, especially at a young age,” he said. “You have to be profes- sional, look after your diet, and I suppose if you have a bit of talent make sure you surround yourself with people who are going to support you.” ‘Flea’ still loves his AFL • MEMORIES: Richmond Football Club Team of the Century member – and AFL Hall of Fame inductee – Dale ‘Flea’ Weightman shared tales from his footy past during a recent visit to Mildura. ABOVE: Dale during his playing days.
Friday January 6 Vol 11 No 9
Friday January 20 Vol 11 No 11