BY BROOKE VARNEY.
A number of past Coburg players were recognised for their contributions to the club at the annual Jim Sullivan Best and Fairest Medal Count on Friday night at Aurora Receptions.
President Kevin Breen, dual-premiership players Gary Sheldon and Allen Eade, and triple-Jim Sullivan medallist Daniel Venditti were among the recipients.
Fresh after receiving his VFL Life Membership at the JJ Liston Trophy Night earlier in the week, Kevin Breen was inducted into Coburg FC Legend Status.
Breen came to Coburg as a junior in 1971, and was placed on the senior list in 1973 after winning the Gillon Medal for the VFA competition.
A member of the 1974 premiership side, Breen left Coburg the following year to join East Fremantle, before returning to win the reserves’ best and fairest in 1977.
Other roles Breen filled at Coburg during his four decades of contribution include senior runner, reserves coach, senior coach and more recently board member.
He received Coburg FC Life Membership in 1990, and was elected President in 2015.
“I’m obviously very honoured to be up here tonight, and I just want to thank all the past players for being here tonight,” Breen said.
“The Coburg Football Club has been a wonderful part of my life, for over 40 years now, and I mean it when I say I love the club and I love all the people involved.”
Gary Sheldon was another icon to be inducted into Coburg FC Legend Status, playing 159 games with the club during the ‘80s and ‘90s.
In his debut season in 1980, Sheldon finished third in the reserves best and fairest, before coming runner-up in 1981 and winning the senior best and fairest in 1982.
The following year saw him have a brief run with Essendon in the AFL but returned to Coburg two years later, taking home not only the club’s best and fairest again but also the coveted JJ Liston Trophy in 1988.
He was a member of the 1988-89 premierships, named in Coburg’s Team of the Century, and awarded Coburg FC life membership in 1991.
“Thankyou to the club, and to my Dad and my brother for attending tonight; my Dad used to follow me to games wherever I went, that’s just the sort of bloke he was,” Sheldon said on the night.
“(Coburg) is a great football club, and I am privileged to have worn the jumper.”
119-gamer and dual-premiership player Allen Eade was awarded Coburg FC life membership, after becoming a Hall of Fame member in 2015.
Eade began at Coburg in 1980 and was off to a flying start; taking home back-to-back VFL reserves A.Todd medals in 1980 and 1981.
After making his senior debut in 1982, he went on to win the 1983 best and fairest before spending two seasons at Collingwood.
He then re-joined the Lions however, coming runner-up in the 1986 best and fairest, and winning his second best and fairest in 1987.
He was a five-time VFA state representative and also listed as one of three emergencies in Coburg’s Team of the Century.
“It was a fantastic era that we played in, and it’s fantastic to see a number of past players here to share this with,” Eade said.
“Thankyou to the club, and good luck to all other award-winners.”
The final Coburg great to be recognised on the night was triple-Jim Sullivan medallist Daniel Venditti, elevated into the Coburg Hall of Fame.
Venditti claimed three consecutive best-and-fairest awards from 2013 to 2015, joining just two other Coburg legends in Ray Jordan (1959-61) and Laurie Burt (1978-79, 1981) to become three-time best and fairest winners.
Arriving at Coburg from Perth Demons in the WAFL, he made his debut in Round 2 of the 2012 VFL season.
After being dropped from the side early in his maiden season, he eventually broke back in round 12 and didn’t look back.
His 2014 season was one of his best however, as he fast became one of the VFL’s premier on-ballers and attracted great attention from opposition clubs.
He was also elected vice-captain in 2014 and 2015, before ending his career with 67 games for 30 goals.
“Thanks to Coburg FC for tonight; it’s really great to be thought of in the same group as other legends of the club like Phil Cleary, Brad Nimmo and Vin Taranto,” he said on Friday night.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a Hall-of-Famer, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
The Coburg Football Club is proud to acknowledge these four new inductees, and thanks them greatly for their service and contribution to the club.
Congratulations to Kevin, Gary, Allen, and Daniel!
Photos thanks to Mozzed Video & Photography.