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Former Rochester great remembered

Former Rochester great Herb Zegelin passed away, aged 88, on December 22.

January 9, 2014 4:01am

Former Rochester Football Club players (from left) Bob Kelly, Fred Rodda and Herb Zegelin catch up at the 1959 premiership reunion in 2009. Photo submitted

Rochester Football Club mourned the passing of a former great after Herb Zegelin died, aged 88, on December 22.

The sleek centreman collected two Bendigo Football League best and fairest medals during his 313-game career with the Demons and was later named in the league’s Hall of Fame.

Born in Rochester, Zegelin first played football at Rochester High School and, after a break for World War II, he was picked up by VFL club Melbourne in 1946.

At the age of 21, Zegelin played in the club’s practice matches and the first six games with the Demons’ reserves team but rejoined Rochester during the year.

Zegelin won his first Davies medal in a four-way tie in 1947 before winning it outright in 1950.

He racked up many Rochester best-and-fairest awards and was also a regular member of the interleague team.

A key role in the centre during Rochester’s premiership win in 1959 was a highlight.

Unable to attend training often, the farmer was forced to develop his own training routine on the farm.

On the field, he was known for his strong marking ability, superb ball-handling and pace, while he was also known for his long handballing skills.

Zegelin also became a top cricket and tennis player, including a stint at Bendigo Country Week for Rochester cricket.

Former Rochester footballer and fellow player Spencer Broom remembers Zegelin well.

‘‘He had a lovely personality,’’ he said.

‘‘A very laid-back sort of a guy and, a bit like me, he used to arrive fairly late to the game.

‘‘There was one occasion where I think he might have forgotten it was a Saturday.’’

Broom also recalled Zegelin as a fine cricket player.

‘‘We played in the same Country Week Cricket game in Melbourne one year, between about 1958 and 1960.

‘‘He actually drove me back home.’’

Broom said Zegelin was an unforgettable player.

‘‘He had played most of his football when I started,’’ he said.

‘‘He was the first player ever to play 200 games at Rochester.

‘‘I know that because I was the second to play 200 games.

‘‘He was a clever player. Not the fastest, but with his big hands he had great control of the ball.

‘‘Herb was one of the best players to play with Rochester. There’s no doubt about that.’’

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