Two Corowa-Rutherglen greats have been recognised as champions of the game by the Ovens and Murray Football League.JASON MARKS July 10, 2013 9:24am
Team of the Century Coach Peter Tossol has been inducted into the Hall of Fame while star midfielder Jim Sandral has been elevated to legend status in the league.
The Hall of Fame evening was held at the Albury SS&A Club with a large crowd in attendance.
Sandral, a true gentleman of the game was inducted to the Hall of Fame in the inaugural year of 2005 but his stature in the game has been solidified by the elevation to Legend.
A quality midfielder, Sandral started his career at Rennie before trying his luck with the Corowa Spiders in 1955.
He made an instant impact that year and was then scouted to join the all powerful Melbourne Demons in the VFL the next year.
Tossol, who also played VFL for the Demons, was a star player for the Wangaratta Rovers in the 80s and 90s before he begun a successful coaching career in 1999 with the Corowa-Rutherglen Roos.
Tossol inspired the luckless Roos to their first ever premiership since the amalgamation of the Spiders and Redlegs in his second season.
An inspirational motivator, Tossol led the Roos through a very successful period, including another premiership in 2003.
He was named as the Roos Team of the Century Coach for his efforts.
Both Tossol and Sandral are well recognised as Corowa and Corowa-Rutherglen champions in the community, but their reputations are now etched in the Ovens and Murray folklore amongst the best of the league.
The Free Press congratulates these champions on the achievement.
After joining the Corowa Spiders from nearby Rennie, Jim Sandral made an impression like no other.
Finishing runners up in the club best and fairest award (which is now called the Jim Sandral Medal) in his first year was just the beginning.
His top form with the Spiders caught the attention of many, including VFL side Melbourne who in that era, were perennial powerhouses.
Sandral joined the Demons in 1956 after his success at Corowa and played in the VFL clubs’ premiership of a then record crowd of 115,000.
It seemed Jim would take the VFL by storm with a long and successful career, but home is where the heart is and for Jim, home and family was more important so he moved back to the area.
He coached Corowa for two seasons before relinquishing the role to just play the game in a spectacular 164 game career.
Jim won the best and fairest five times for the club and won the Morris Medal as the league best and fairest three times.
As modest and polite as they come, Jim was always a gentleman on and off the field.
“It is a great honour, to be elevated as a legend of this great football league,” he told the Free Press.
“I didn’t know what to say really, I thought I was too old for these things.”
Jim spoke honestly on the night, thanking all who have been involved in his stellar career and talking about the modern game.
Still and avid supporter of the game, Jim will watch his beloved Melbourne Demons, Corowa-Rutherglen Roos and Rennie as often as he can.
“I still go out to as many games as I can,” he said.
“I enjoy watching the young players run around for the Roos as well as Rennie.
“The current crop of Roos look like they are rebuilding, which takes a while, but there are some terrific kids coming through.
“I’m sure we will pick up.”
Although sharing in some great personal and team success, it was never easy going for the skilful midfielder, having to travel 46kms to and from training by bike while playing for the Spiders.
“I have to thank my family for putting up with it,” Jim said.
“You spend a lot more time there than you think, especially with the amount of travelling time back then.”
Jim is always happy to chat and for someone as accomplished as he is, there are some great stories to be told.
Jim Sandral is most deserving of the title as a legend of the Ovens and Murray.
Corowa-Rutherglen’s Team of the Century Coach Peter Tossol was recognised last week for his playing and coaching career in the Ovens and Murray which was nothing short of brilliant.
An all round sporting genius, Tossol played VFL for Melbourne and is also well renowned for making 70 runs in a tour match against the West Indies.
In Ovens and Murray terms, this icon is well renowned for his intensity and determination.
Beginning his career with the then mighty Wangaratta Rovers, Tossol carved a career that saw him play a pivotal role in three premierships in 1991, 93 and 94.
A player almost unrivalled in his bravery, Tossol’s skills also saw him finish runners up in the Rovers best and fairest award four times and third once.
A strong backer of representative football, Tossol played for the league 12 times and made the Victorian Country team five times, three as captain.
After his stellar playing career, it seemed a given that he would translate his success into his coaching career when he took on the Roos role in 1999.
Under achievers for their entire tenure since merging to become Corowa-Rutherglen, Tossol lead the charge that saw them take home the 2000 and 2003 premierships in convincing fashion.
This success both on and off the field made Tossol a certainty to be named in the Hall of Fame, something he now cherishes dearly.
“It is a very good night, the best footy night in my opinion,” Tossol said of the Hall of Fame.
“To be named alongside these great people is a real honour, even to be mentioned in the same breath.
“It makes me feel a bit embarrassed to tell the truth, but something I definitely will enjoy.”
Aside from making his VFL debut for the Demons, Tossol rates his achievements at both the Rovers and Roos as a career highlight.
“The simple things were really the highlight for me as a player and a coach,” he said.
“I think player progression was something I got a real kick out of, especially when you see guys like Cade Mills and Tyler Bonat running around to play around 200 games and be pivotal to their team.
“From where Cade came from to the player he is now is huge, he has got the most out of himself which is something I always aimed to do.”
Being a coach of such a great team is something Tossol will always hold dearly.
His love for coaching players was a direct correlation to the success the Roos saw in that era.
“It was an exciting place to be around in those times,” he said.
“The people make Corowa-Rutherglen and at that time there were just wonderful people.
“Rod Campbell, Brian Houlihan, John Robinson, Fred Longmire and Paul Rippingale are some that spring to mind.
“I really learned a lot about football through these people.”
His love for the game saw him “out of the house a fair bit” and he credits his wife Bronwyn with bringing up “three wonderful girls” in daughters Kristy, Sarah and Grace.
“The kids loved the game as much as me and the players were all wonderful to them,” he said.
“In the car we would always talk about the games and how it was played.”
But the game has changed from the “natural flair” that Tossol loved, something he hopes can shift back one day.
“I get a bit wound up watching the current day games,” he said.
“I was a bit intense as a coach and player so it gets to me a bit to see the constant floods and press style games, it’s a bit over the top.”
Although he can’t see himself coaching again in the near future, “you never say never” he said.
“It is unlikely, but I still love the game.”
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