Saturday's Picola District Football League south-east grand final rematch between Tungamah and Waaia will be a tribute to Bears legend Rod Stacey.MATTHEW GALEA April 3, 2014 4:05am
Tungamah will pay tribute to club legend Rod Stacey in style on Saturday, with the help of opponent Waaia.
The two clubs might enjoy a fierce rivalry on the ground, which harks back to the Bears’ entrance into the competition in 1995, but the underlying respect between them has come to the fore in recent weeks.
Stacey died last month after a car hit him while he was riding his bike on the Murray Valley Hwy.
In response, Waaia president Richard Trimby approached the Bears and offered them the opportunity to play the round one fixture — which was originally meant to take place at Waaia — at Jubilee Park.
‘‘I played a lot of football and a lot of the guys on the committee played a lot of football against Rod,’’ Trimby said.
‘‘We thought we should do the right thing and with us having the game, we thought they might have wanted to do something for Rod for their first home game of the season, so we offered them the game.
‘‘We’ve had a great rivalry, and we’ve both been competitive having played off for a grand final last year, and we just thought it would be nice.’’
Tungamah president Troy Costigan said the gesture was a touching one.
‘‘It was their suggestion, they actually offered it to us,’’ Costigan said.
‘‘They’ve been great through this whole thing and they will be included in the tribute.’’
Club secretary Deanne Einsporn has been directing proceedings and expects huge numbers at the match to pay their respects to a club legend.
‘‘Tungamah has a huge following as it is and with this being the first home game and with Murray (Football Netball) league not on yet, it’s going to be a massive home game,’’ Einsporn said.
The senior football premiership flag will be unveiled, alongside the reserves and under-17 football premiership flags.
The 17-and-under netball premiership flag will also be unfurled.
A guard of honour will be formed around the centre square, with Stacey’s under-14 premiership winning team and their families releasing balloons from the centre circle while singing a slightly edited version of the club song.
Paul Sidebottom, the under-17 coach will read a brief history of Stacey’s playing career.
Stacey’s children, Brittany and Christopher, will also carry a jumper and photos from his playing career to the centre as well.
Netballer Sophie Lidgerwood will sing the national anthem before the opening bounce.
The tribute will start at 2
Under-14s football will begin 20 minutes earlier than usual to accommodate the tribute as will junior netball, which will start 10 minutes earlier.
Senior netball will begin 10 minutes late, following the completion of the tribute.
One person is dead after a collision between a car and a truck on the Murray Valley Highway and Waaia Bearii Rd. Traffic is being diverted around the scene.
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