A friendship and community focus over time
From the football field to the divisional van where two young policeman were asked to share a patrol van, this is a bond that endures.
Brades is about 5 years older than me and my first memory of him was as a gun junior footballer with Mount Martha.
He played against my older brother, Steve. Brades was and still is the best junior footballer in the history of the MPJFL. He won numerous league B&F’s in all age groups.
I never really played a lot of footy against Brades but I do recall a practice match when I played at Hastings where we played against a team up the line, that Brades was coaching. I was only 16 at the time but these guys Brades coached were mad. There were fights all day and I was pretty scared and worried for my own safety.
I remember playing against Brades when he coached Tyabb, but it was through my work as a Policeman at Rosebud that I got to know Brades well.
My first ever van shift was with Brades. We had a job for cows on a road and whilst we were herding them up, Brades sprained his ankle and had to go to hospital. Working together at Rosebud we also became rival coaches. I was playing coach at Crib Point and Brades was a non-playing coach at Red Hill. We had a fair share of wins and losses over the journey but I feel as though I have bragging rights as in 1999 we made the Grand Final and Red Hill fell short, losing to Keysborough in the first semi.
After many years as adversaries it is great to be working together with Brades. He is a footy ‘nuffy’ and very passionate about junior development. You can’t stop learning in footy and in the short time we have worked together I have learnt a lot from him and just maybe he has from me. It’s great to have Brades on board.
Looking back over our football journey I would have to say that Wiskas and I have had a ‘Chester (the Terrier) and Spike (the Bulldog)’ type relationship.
I am six years older than Wiskas and had won three league Best and Fairests playing for Mount Martha in the MPJFL before he ran out for his first game for Hastings in the Under 11’s wearing a very big pair of white shorts. Our families were very similar with my three brothers all playing at Mount Martha and Wiskas brothers playing at Hastings. I was the same age as Wiskas brother Steve and played all my junior football against him. Steve played alongside ‘Kong’, ‘Caveman’ and ‘Brick’ at Hastings which sums up the sort of character that used to play for Hastings back then. Our parents were also very community-minded and heavily involved in their respective clubs. The social rooms at Mount Martha are named after my father, Bob who also started the Mount Martha Cricket Club back in 1979.
Whilst Wiskas was struggling to get a kick against much taller opponents at junior level I moved onto Mornington where at seventeen I became the youngest player to win the First XVIII Best and Fairest in 1981.
From that point on our careers both on and off the field took similar paths. In 1982 I played at Frankston Dolphins managing four games in the 1sts and six in the 2nds and was fortunate enough to win the 2nds Best and Fairest from these six games. Unfortunately in my first senior game my knee cap badly dislocated and I missed half of the season.
It is fair to say that I have always managed to ‘go one better’ than Wiskas. I was shown the door from two VFL clubs (Swans and Saints) and Wiskas was given his ‘marching orders’ from just the one club, the Tigers.
I subsequently returned to Mornington where in an early round my knee cap again dislocated requiring surgery and my season came to an abrupt end.
I won the Best and Fairest again at Mornington in 1984 playing under VFL/AFL Hall of Famer, Garry Wilson. I then coached Sandringham in the East Suburban Churches League for two seasons before playing at Rye for two seasons winning the Best and Fairest both years.
In 1989 I was appointed Captain-Coach of Tyabb. Wiskas was back playing at Hastings this year after finishing up at the Dolphins. In Round 3 we played Hastings at Hastings and in probably the highlight of my coaching career, the Yabbies had a great win. Tyabb was always the poor relation to Hastings and I still remember the tears running down the faces of our ‘die-hard’ supporters when we sang the song after the game. Wiskas tasted premiership success playing at Hastings the following season under Pat Foy.
At this time I was in the Police Force and working at Rosebud. A few years later Wiskas followed me into the Police Force and arrived at Rosebud as a trainee Constable. Wiskas’ brother Mark was also in the Police Force and was working at Rosebud too. My ‘boss’ at the time asked me to take Wiskas ‘under my wing’ and he worked his first Divisional Van shift with me.
Early in our shift we received a call to attend in Rye where a herd of bulls had escaped a paddock. I parked the van and as I got out of the driver’s seat I saw that Wiskas was standing in the middle of the road and that this great herd of bulls were charging straight at him. I could see the whites in Wiskas’ eyes and that he appeared ‘stunned’ with no motor reaction whatsoever. I ran straight at Wiskas lifting him from the roadway and carrying him to safety narrowly escaping the charging animals. In the process I badly injured my ankle and was off work for a number of weeks.
Our footy careers from a coaching perspective crossed paths again in 1999 when I was the non-playing coach of Red Hill and Wiskas was appointed coach of Crib Point. It was at Crib Point this season that I enjoyed another highlight in my coaching career. We were ten goals down at half-time and Cribby were playing us like we were witches hats. We came out after half-time and were a completely different outfit and went on to win the game by fourteen points. All our supporters ran out onto the ground and swamped the players and I am pretty sure that it was this game that started the ‘love-hate’ relationship that exists between both clubs. I remember ‘Wokka’ Graham telling me in the Cribby social rooms afterwards, “You only came into the rooms Brady because you won!” I replied to ‘Wokka’, “You know something Wokka? I reckon you might be right.” That nearly topped Wiska's line to me, "You might be a good footballer Brades but you'll only be remembered for being a squealer".
Both sides played finals that year and Crib went on to lose the Grand Final against Berwick who were coached by Tony Blackford.
I coached Red Hill the following year and again in