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Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19925


Mr TANNER (9:46 AM) —I want to pay tribute to a great Australian icon who died recently and who had represented a football team based in my electorate—that is, Jack Dyer, who died at the age of 89 only a few weeks ago. Jack Dyer played 312 games for Richmond between 1931 and 1949. He grew into the game in the Depression era. He was the captain of Richmond for many years, he led them to two premierships and he was a great icon of Australian rules football. He was my father's hero when he was a kid. As a Richmond supporter, Jack Dyer acquired the nickname `Captain Blood' and ultimately became one of the most representative figures of Australian football.

There are still older people living in Richmond, in my electorate, who have very great and fond memories of Jack Dyer as a great figure from the AFL game in an era that was very different from the modern era. Players literally played in order to get enough money to feed their families—whereas now they are often paid huge sums of money—at a time when the game was extremely tough and hard, when no quarter was given and when great reputations were made and unmade.

It is a lesser known fact that Jack Dyer was a member of the Labor Party and stood for state parliament—unsuccessfully, unfortunately—as a Labor candidate. He was also a tremendous entertainer, somebody who developed an extraordinary ability to mangle the English language and to mispronounce names, particularly those of migrant footballers, who had slightly unusual names for Jack. He had a great ability for self-mockery and for not taking himself seriously. For a number of years he wrote a column in the Melbourne Truth under the title “Dyer `ere”. He was renowned for his amusing and often incomprehensible calling of the game on 3KZ and for his appearances on the long-running program League Teams with Lou Richards and Bob Davis.

Jack Dyer was also renowned for some great sayings—for example, the `good ordinary' player, `If you don't mind, umpire' and `Being where the ball ain't,' which was his explanation for why a player had not played well. He came up with some great sayings that were very similar to those of the famous Yogi Berra of American baseball fame, such as, `I won't say anything in case I say something,' `Bartlett's older than he's ever been before,' `Bamblett made a great debut today and an even better one last week,' `Mark Lee's long arms reached up like giant testicles,' and, finally, that Fitzroy had `copulated' to the opposition. So Mr Dyer had an ability with the English language to get things a little confused, but he was a great entertainer, a great Australian, a great footballer and also a great member of the Labor Party. My condolences go to his family. He has left a lasting legacy to Australian football. (Time expired)