‘‘She is the greatest identity the football club has ever had.’’ It says it all, really. Those were the words of Shepparton coach Matt Byers reflecting on the unparalleled contribution of Bears’ stalwart Val Dominelli (nee Ohrt), who died aged 74 yesterday.PATRICK O'MEARA July 13, 2012 4:09am
Shepparton Football Club is forever indebted to stalwart Val Dominelli, say Shepparton coach Matt Byers and president Geoff Everist.
‘‘She is the greatest identity the football club has ever had.’’
It says it all, really.
Those were the words of Shepparton coach Matt Byers reflecting on the unparalleled contribution of Bears’ stalwart Val Dominelli (nee Ohrt), who died aged 74 yesterday.
There are many tales that flow about the long-time Bears servant, including one Byers, a 2000 premiership player and Morrison medallist, had heard of her putting a mortgage on her house to help the club during a financial crisis.
‘‘I am not sure whether that is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me,’’ Byers said.
‘‘She did everything for the club.
‘‘It is definitely a very sad loss.’’
Dominelli served many roles at the Bears from when she first walked into the club in 1956.
She served 25 years as the Ladies’ Committee president (1960-62, 1986-2007) and 50 years as treasurer (1957-60, 1963-2008).
Dominelli also served on the Bears’ main committee.
She is one of just four Bears who have exemplary life memberships and is a life member of the Goulburn Valley Football League and Victorian Country Football League.
Dominelli was also named the VCFL’s Volunteer of the Year in 2005.
In a 2009 VCFL video promoting Country Football Legends, Dominelli joked that she had even been asked to play.
‘‘Actually last week we were very short in the seconds and I was named as an emergency on the bench,’’ she said.
Shepparton president Geoff Everist described Dominelli, who has battled a variety of illnesses across the past 12 months, as an ‘‘icon’’ of the club and a ‘‘very special’’ person.
‘‘People like Val are very rare,’’ Everist said.
‘‘What they do for the club and what they do without even thinking about it, it is very hard to find people like that.’’
The Bears’ Ladies’ Committee is one of the club’s biggest fundraisers, catering for events in their FJ Edwards Social Rooms.
Everist said it was near-impossible to summarise the significance of Dominelli’s contribution.
‘‘It would be hard work to know the true history of Val,’’ he said.
‘‘She has done so much.
‘‘She is one of those very special people that don’t come around that often.
‘‘We are very proud that she was a part of the Shepparton Football Club.’’
He said even in ill-health, Dominelli was still a constant at the football club.
‘‘If she wasn’t in hospital, she was down at the club,’’ he said.
‘‘She just loved it.’’
Dominelli put her love for the Bears in her own words during an interview with The News in June last year.
‘‘The club means everything to me,’’ Dominelli said.
‘‘As you can see (pointing to the honour board), it’s been nearly a lifetime of involvement for me.
‘‘All the women are good friends and we get along well with the men in the club. I like when we have reunions how the players still remember you — it’s great.’’
Goulburn Valley Football League general manager Keith Wellman said he could not speak fondly enough of Dominelli.
‘‘She was the first person we looked for when we went down to Deakin Reserve and into the FJ Edwards clubrooms,’’ Wellman said.
‘‘Nothing was ever too much fuss for her, she would just do whatever needed to be done for you.
‘‘There is no doubt that she will be very sadly missed by all, not only at the Shepparton Football Club, but also the Goulburn Valley Football League.’’
Dominelli is survived by her husband Kevin and daughter Kim.
A SBS documentary examining Shepparton's issues, such as high youth unemployment, drug use, school retention rates and poverty, will screen on Tuesday.
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