Neitz pulls on the boots one last time

Paul Amy and Daryl Pitman

Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader

August 12, 2013


THE ton is up for the Tunners.

The centrepiece of Heatherton Football Club's 100th year comes this Saturday when it hosts Highett at the Ross St ground.

The centenary match will also serve as a fundraiser for former player Rick Crowe, who became a quadriplegic at the start of the year.

Crowe's great mates and former junior football teammates David Neitz and John Georgiou will turn out for Heatherton.

Former Melbourne champion Neitz, 38, told Leader he last played three years ago in a charity match in South Australia.

"And I wasn't all that impressive,'' he said with a chuckle.

"I'm hoping for a better return this time around.''

He said he had stayed reasonably fit "but I think I'm going to have my work cut out next weekend.''

Neitz said it was important to support Crowe, with whom he went to primary and high school and played junior football at Parkmore.

Crowe was injured in a jumping-castle mishap early in the year.

"It was a shocking life-changing incident for him,'' Neitz said.

"Such a simple thing as jumping around in a jumping castle has had a huge affect on him."

"But he's been phenomenal in his attitude towards getting the most out of everything he's got. He's inspiring the way he's approaching his challenges.''

Heatherton coach Clint Einsiedel said that while it was excellent to have Neitz and Georgiou in the line-up, the club had to ensure the match "doesn't become a circus''.

He pointed out only one game separated Heatherton and Highett in a fight to avoid relegation.

"It's a huge game for the footy club's future," Enseidel said.

"It's the celebration of 100 years but it could end up being a really bad day if we don't concentrate on what's important and that's getting the four points."

"So we don't want to have too much of a focus on the two fellas coming in."

"We'll work out their best roles and go about getting the job done."

"Then we can have a good celebration.''

Heatherton was formed in 1913 and has been affiliated with a string of competitions, including Federal, Berwick District, Caulfield Oakleigh, CYMS, VAFA, Eastern Suburban Churches and Southern (since 1992).

It was known as the the Freighters (officially Mentone Freighters) in 1951-52.

Southern league historian Daryl Pitman said the club failed to win a match in its first two years, enduring 32 straight losses before going into recess for WWI.

It resumed in the Federal in 1920 and its first "victory'' was on June 5, 1920, when it won by forfeit against Bentleigh.

Its first proper victory came on May 21, 1921 when it defeated Edithvale 9.5 (59) to 7.6 (48).

As a result of Moorabbin joining the VFA in 1950, the Bloodhounds' Under 18 team merged with Heatherton.

With support from a major employer in the district, Heatherton FC became the Mentone Freighters FC in 1951, going down in the grand final to Mordialloc, 6.11 (47) to 21.18 (106).

Later, the club was known as Mentone CYMS when it competed in the CYMS and YCW competitions.

It reverted to the name of Heatherton in 1974 and crossed to the VAFA in 1975.

The Tunners' first premiership came in the Caulfield Oakleigh league, defeating Oakleigh District in 1938.

Donations for Rick Crowe can be made at the gate, and there will be a luncheon, guest speakers and an auction of sporting and other goods.


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