Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy and journalist Martin Flanagan were guests at Moyston-Willaura Football and Netball club’s annual Tom Wills Dinner on Wednesday night.
The night celebrates the rich history of Australian rules football.
The game was started in the Moyston area by Tom Wills in the 1800s.
Murphy said it was important to not lose sight of what football meant at a grassroots level.
“It is always nice to get back to a country footy club with a friend and talk about footy to some new friends,” he said.
“Just that idea of community and the social interaction that football brings is important.
“I’m sure once life quietens down in a few years I will get back to the country footy a lot more.”
Moyston-Willaura Football Club’s number one ticket holder Martin Flanagan returned for the dinner as well.
He interviewed Murphy after the two course meal about his experiences in football.
Many stories were shared prompting plenty of laughs.
Flanagan said that the unique game must be embraced or it will be lost.
“Australian football is not like American football,” he said.
“Our game has only got two levels which are elite and grassroots.
“If we don’t look after it at the grassroots level it is going to die.”
Flanagan is an enthusastic writer about the history of the game.
He is not afraid to open a debate about different topics within the sport.
He said he looks forward to the Tom Wills dinner each year because he can share his knowledge and thoughts on the history of the game with the Moyston community.
“It is a real privilege to bring someone like Bob up here,” he said.
“Bob, Nathan Buckley, Peter Schwab, Matthew Richardson and everyone else have all come up here because they believe in footy the way I do.”
Murphy got a rousing reception from the Moyston-Willaura crowd.
He said everyone was tired of the Hawthorn’s dominance and potential fourth consecutive premiership in 2016.
Tom Wills dinner organiser Cheryle Stapleton said the night was a big success.
“We sold around 75 tickets for the night so we are extremely happy with how the night went,” she said. “All the feedback from the people has been very positive.”