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Murray football great remembered

Les Mogg earned respect from more than just his players as Cobram Football Club coach. The club legend died at a Cobram hospital on Wednesday afternoon after battling brain cancer. He was 82.

May 7, 2012 5:00am

Les Mogg playing football in 1955.


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Les Mogg earned respect from more than just his players as Cobram Football Club coach.

Former teammate Col Barton said Mogg ensured his players always stuck together after games.

‘‘We would stay at the footy club, then go to someone’s house and have a beer,’’ Barton, 74, said.

‘‘All the umpires would turn up about 9.30pm.

‘‘I don’t know if that was for Les to get on the better side of them, but they were always there because they respected him.’’

Mogg died at a Cobram hospital on Wednesday afternoon after battling brain cancer. He was 82.

He enjoyed a decorated Murray Football League career after joining Cobram from VFL club North Melbourne in 1955.

Cobram won the 1955, 1959, 1960 and 1961 premierships with Mogg as playing coach.

He won the league goalkicking — an award that became known as the Les Mogg Cup — in 1960 and 1961 and the 1961 O’Dwyer Medal as league best and fairest.

Mogg also coached a Murray league representative side to a practice match victory against St Kilda at Tocumwal in 1960.

He came out of coaching retirement to lead Cobram to the 1984 premiership, a side that included his sons Peter and Anton.

‘‘The modern era of football would not know how great Les was,’’ Barton said.

‘‘He would be the greatest player the Murray league has ever seen.’’

Leslie Thomas Mogg was the oldest of three sons Thomas and Doris raised at Pascoe Vale.

Mogg attended St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, where he was named at centre half-forward in its football team of the century.

He worked for the tax office in Melbourne before joining North Melbourne in 1949.

North coach Wally Carter picked Mogg for his debut against Collingwood at Arden St in round 12 that year.

Mogg played 75 VFL games from 1949 to 1954, including the club’s first grand final in 1950.

The legendary John Coleman kicked four goals to lead Essendon to a 13.14 (92) to 7.12 (54) win in that decider.

Mogg married his late wife Joan Silk at Moonee Ponds in 1952, the same year he represented Victoria against Western Australia.

The couple moved to Cobram in 1955 and Mogg established an accountancy firm his son Peter still operates.

George Hocking — an uncle of Geelong champions Garry and Steve — was among a group of teenagers in the 1955 Cobram premiership side.

‘‘If Les moved himself out of the centre to a position where we were getting beaten, everyone knew they had to step up,’’ Hocking, 75, said.

Mogg eventually settled at full-forward and kicked 132 goals in 1960, a league record until country football nomad Trevor Sutton kicked an Australian record 249 goals for Deniliquin in 1982.

Injury stopped Mogg playing in the 1961 grand final against Deniliquin.

Barton, who joined Cobram in 1960 after playing 38 VFL games for Geelong, led the side on-field that day and coached in 1962 and 1963 after Mogg retired.

‘‘I never heard him swear once in the 40-odd games I played under him,’’ Barton said.

‘‘He knew the players had the ability upfield and he placed himself at full-forward because he knew the ball would get to him.’’

Mogg and Joan raised five children — Jane Mary, 55, Peter, 53, Louise, 51, Anton, 47 and Bernard, 44.

‘‘Dad was a pretty humble, quiet sort of fella,’’ Peter said.

‘‘When you’re really good at something, you don’t have to tell everybody about it.’’

Then Cobram club president and caravan salesman Peter Ennals lured Mogg out of retirement to coach in 1984.

The Tigers fell 13 points behind Deniliquin at three-quarter-time of the grand final.

Peter goaled with less than 10 seconds remaining to complete Cobram’s undefeated season 15.13 (103) to 15.8 (98).

‘‘Dad didn’t really play on (coaching his sons) too much at all,’’ Peter said.

‘‘I think everybody respected him, including myself, because of the aura he had.’’

Mogg was discharged from hospital to attend the opening of a stand named after him at Scott Oval last month.

‘‘As soon as I went over and shook his hand, he just broke out and cried,’’ Barton said.

‘‘We knew he wasn’t well, but didn’t think it would come to a head as quickly as it did.’’

Les Mogg is survived by his brothers Kevin and Russell, his five children and 10 grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, William St, Cobram from 1pm today.

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