Melbourne going green for St Patrick's Day
Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 08:25 am ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The Melbourne Football Club will today unveil an Irish-themed training guernsey, to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The players will train in the guernsey for the first time at Gosch’s Paddock, with the guernsey to feature an Irish green and white colour scheme and shamrock.
“Ireland forms a unique chapter in both our club’s heritage, but also the history of the game,” said CEO Cameron Schwab. “Our home playing strip tells the story of our club, and through this jumper we have an opportunity to highlight and celebrate a unique part of our history.”
The most obvious link is the ‘Irish experiment’ of the 1980s, during which coach Ron Barassi and recruiter Barry Richardson brought the likes of Jim Stynes and Sean Wight to Melbourne.
Barassi had been the captain-coach of the 'Galahs' team in 1967 and 1968, an Australian representative team formed by former umpire and media identity Harry Beitzel.
The Galahs played a series of exhibition matches in Ireland, England, the USA and Romania including a number of games against Gaelic clubs in Ireland.
These tours would inspire what became the International Rules series, and eventually, the 'Irish Experiment'.
But the ties extend back to the very origins of our game - an Irishman, Thomas Smith, was part of the committee that wrote the rules of the Melbourne Football Club in 1858.
In addition to Stynes and Wight, who played 264 and 150 games respectively, there were a number of others to move from the other side of the world to play for the Melbourne Football Club including Anthony Tohill, Paul Earley, James Fahey and Brian Stynes.
The Irish Experiment also paved the way for other clubs to bring Gaelic footballers to Australia.
The guernseys worn by the players at training this week will be auctioned by the club, while a limited number will also be available to purchase from the Demon Shop.
The players will train in the guernsey’s from 11:30am this morning.