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Benalla trainer farewelled

Benalla Saints Sports Club head trainer Robert ‘Robbo’ Robinson died suddenly on March 25.

MONIQUE FREER April 9, 2014 8:40am

Beloved Saint: Robert 'Robbo' Robinson (left) with Benalla Saints player Alistair Jacka after the 2012 Goulburn Valley interleague match.


Footballers and netballers from Benalla and Euroa formed a guard of honour last Tuesday to farewell their beloved trainer and friend Robert ‘Robbo’ Robinson.

The Benalla Saints Sports Club head trainer died suddenly on March 25 after a short illness, aged 59.

His wife of 24 years, Jan-debbie (JD), said Robert would have been incredibly humbled to see more than 350 pay their respects at his funeral.

‘‘He wasn’t a loud man, he took in a lot and observed a lot,’’ she said.

Robert met JD in 1986 through a mutual friend at a football function in Bulleen, before marrying her on his birthday, November 18, 1989.

Originally from England, Robert grew up in Melbourne and relocated to JD’s hometown of Euroa in 1988.

Their daughter Tayla was born on August 24, 1994, and shortly after, he began working as a trainer for Euroa Football Club.

‘‘He started with Euroa somewhere between 1995 and 1997 — if he was here he’d know exact dates. He knew every date possible,’’ JD said.

The Robinsons relocated to Benalla in 2004 so Tayla could attend FCJ College.

‘‘Tayla and I were everything, his world,’’ JD said.

‘‘He loved to laugh and he loved to watch us laugh, he had a really good sense of humour. He loved to go to the Melbourne footy with Tayla because he and her are both Demons (fans).

‘‘He loved, loved old movies, he was right into them. He was absolutely obsessed with the JFK assassination. He loved history and movies and his music.’’

Robert also loved the football, and began working as a trainer at Benalla Saints Sports Club in 2006.

‘‘He used to always try to drill into (the players) that there was life after football and they had to be fit to do that; he took a lot of care in them,’’ JD said.

Benalla Saints president Bruce Biggs said the preparation Robert put into his role as a trainer was admired around the club.

‘‘He was fairly meticulous and always fairly organised and he was a fantastic family man,’’ Bruce said.

‘‘He was fantastic with his strapping which was a highlight for what he did. Jimmy (James) Martiniello was always his favourite, which was always a joke around the place.’’

Around the football club Robert was nicknamed ‘The Chief’ for his professional approach to the role.

‘‘He was the boss — he was pretty particular the way he ran his trainer’s room and you had to seek permission to use something,’’ Benalla Saints senior captain James Martiniello said.

‘‘We got on pretty well, me and Robbo, and unfortunately it was because I spent too much time in the medical rooms.

‘‘He always looked after me ... he’d strap me first and we’d spend a good 10, 15 minutes chatting each week.’’

JD said Robert spent many years as the sole trainer for the three football and four netball sides, through which he developed a strong appreciation for the Saints’ netballers.

‘‘He loved the Benalla Saints netball girls — he loved his girls because they respected him for what he did,’’ she said.

Robert was also selected as a trainer for the Goulburn Valley interleague squad in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and as a trainer for the Disabled Olympics in 2005.

‘‘He was always a trainer and many years before he met me he was a trainer with ice hockey. He loved ice hockey,’’JD said.

‘‘He’s just sadly missed and gone too soon.’’

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