It is often said of children growing up in Australia that they play footy in the Winter and cricket in the Summer. Growing up in the Riverina, straddling 'The Barassi Line', it is more like cricket, maybe golf, and a bit of basketball in the Summer. In the Winter, for many, it is league on Saturdays and 'aussie' on Sundays.
Put simply, sport is a way of life in the Riverina. Not surprisingly, the region has produced a wealth of champion sportspeople. What is surprising, given that 'Teams of the Century' are numerous, an official team of the all-time best Riverina Australian footballers has never been announced.
With a figure such as Sheedy taking the helm, surely the idea of a celebratory Riverina team will become a reality. As it is, I will put forward my nomination of best 22 from the area and hopefully encourage some debate.
One of the factors potentially working against the idea is defining what is the Riverina. Essentially it is the area bordered by the Great Dividing Range to the East, the Lachlan River in the North and West, and the Victorian border in the South. Thus, towns and cities include Albury, Wagga, Deniliquin, Finley, Corowa, Griffith, Hay and anywhere in between.
So, here it is: my Riverina 'Team of All-time.'* You can click on the players' names to view their profile on AustralianFootball.com
Back Pocket: Frank Gumbleton (Ganmain/North Melbourne)
Full Back: Anthony Daniher (Ungarie/Turvey Park/South Melbourne/Sydney/Essendon)
Back Pocket: Leo Barry (Deniliquin/Sydney)
Back Flank: Neale Daniher (Ungarie/Essendon)
Centre Half Back: Bernard Toohey (Barooga/Geelong/Sydney/Footscray)
Back Flank: Dennis 'Dinny' Ryan (Albury/Fitzroy)
Wing: David Murphy (Turvey Park/Sydney)
Centre: Brett Kirk (North Albury/Sydney)
Wing: Shane Crawford (Finley/Hawthorn)
Forward Flank: Terry Daniher (Ungarie/Ariah Park-Mirrool/South Melbourne/Essendon)
Centre Half Forward: Wayne Carey (North Wagga/North Melbourne/Adelaide)
Forward Flank: Dennis Carroll (Ganmain/South Melbourne/Sydney)
Forward Pocket: John Longmire (Corowa-Rutherglen/North Melbourne)
Full Forward: Bill Mohr (Wagga/St. Kilda)
Forward Pocket: Luke Breust (Temora/Hawthorn)
Ruck: Brian Gleeson (Berrigan/St. Kilda)
Ruck-Rover: Paul Kelly (Wagga Tigers/Sydney)
Rover: Haydn Bunton, Sr. (Albury/Fitzroy)
Interchange: Bill Brownless (Jerilderie/Geelong)
Harry Lampe (Wagga/South Melbourne)
Gordon Strang (East Albury/Richmond)
Cameron Mooney (Turvey Park/North Melbourne/Geelong)
Captain: Wayne Carey
Vice-Captain: Terry Daniher
Coach: Allan Jeans (Finley/St. Kilda/Hawthorn/Richmond)
*The reason for calling it the 'Team of All-Time', rather than 'Team of the Century', is that Harry Lampe retired from the VFL in 1907 and was a necessary inclusion, thus 'Team of the Century' would be redundant.