Best of the best landing for Shoremen’s Legends Day Battle of the North
By Mark Cashman
Norths versus Gordon, North Sydney Oval on a sunny Saturday afternoon in July, Legends Day – as ‘ScoMo’ would say, how good is that!?
It’s a great coming together of the Norths faithful as the current day heroes battle it out on the field against one of the club’s traditional foes.
While Manly and Warringah’s Battle of the Beaches has got all the media headlines in recent years the Battle of the North has a real sense of history, and with the Highlanders far and away the big improvers of the 2019 Shute Shield there is certainly a welcome edge to this game.
Leading into the big day Norths Legends Club convenor Keith Coassin estimated that there will be close to 8000 games of grade experience watching on by the time first grade runs on to the field at 3pm.
“It’s a great time to come together, compare waist lines as well as hairlines and talk about not only how good we were but to revel in the way that the club has evolved over the years to where it is today,” Coassin said.
“For the first time in the six years that we have been coming together for this day at North Sydney Oval it looks like Gordon will have something to offer this week even if it took the appointment of a former Shoreman in Darren Coleman to get things happening.
“There’s nothing sweeter than a win over Gordon, or ‘The Trash’ as we call them, to make a weekend complete.”
More than 100 Legends have already RSVP’d for the day which will see eight of the club’s 14 life members in attendance.
There will be 36 people who played 100 games or more, eight who played 200 games and two who played more than 300.
Four Wallabies – Andy Town, Reg Smith, Richard Tombs and Peter Carson – will also be there along with the first club 100 member Denis ‘Nugget’ Meares, who was inducted in 1957.
A total of 10 people who have played 100 first grade games for the Shoremen will also attend.
There will also be numerous members of the club’s first grade premiership sides of 1960, 1963, 19645 and 1975 on hand to will on the right result in not only first grade but right throughout the day.
Brad Collins, the club’s top points scorer with 1459 points will also attend along with Mark Tallentire, who holds the record for the most goals kicked in a single season – 86 in all and a few off the posts.
In all there will be players attending that donned the red and blacks from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
In a nod to history the first grade side and the top grade colts side will wear a special jersey that pays tribute to the Pirate club, the junior club that was formed in 1891 and was one of the main movers in the birth of the district club that is now known as Northern Suburbs.
The Norths district club was formed in 1900 and the Pirates went into mothballs until they were revived as a junior club in the 1990s and are still in rude health in 2019.
Festivities kick off from noon at Bon Andrews Oval from noon before the main party heads down to the main oval at 2.30pm in time for first grade.
After the game the Legends have been invited into the Norths dressing rooms for a debrief and hopefully hear the Shoremen’s victory song.