Premierships are the goal for every football and netball club around the land, and when you win one, when all the hard work comes to fruition, it creates a memory and bond that can never be broken.
The Navarre Football Netball Club was, and still is, the backbone of the farming community, and throughout their playing history, they have been a club which has created success, regardless of the circumstances.
In 2021, after the COVID-19 related challenges of 2020, the club will host 20 premiership reunions for flags won across both sports.
Unfortunately, the formal event, which was scheduled for Saturday July 24, has been forced to be postponed until Saturday August 14, but when the circumstances allow it, players and coaches who were involved with the club will gather to reminisce on their successes.
Multiple Golden Eras
2021 Navarre president Tim Bibby also is a former player, who's looking forward to gathering with others that are a part of the Grasshoppers' premiership history.
Bibby played in a golden era for Navarre, with the club reaching five consecutive senior grand finals between 1988 and 1992, and winning three in a row in 1989, 1990 and 1991 in the Lexton Football Netball League.
When reflecting on that time in the club's history Bibby looks back fondly.
"After winning in 1989, it (1990) was a special year because we never lost a game all year," he said.
"When you go through a season undefeated it just gets harder and harder because as you're playing those top few sides they come at you pretty hard.
"It was a great time to be around the Navarre Football Club and one thing that made it more special was that the reserves won every year as well and so they are celebrating their 1990 and 1991 flags as well."
At the time Bibby was just in his early twenties and he said the club's success was built from a powerful coach, some talented recruits and a host of local talent.
The Grasshoppers were led by coach Brent Dyer and the much-admired skill of Tony Beck on the field, which Bibby said helped create the environment for success.
2021 Navarre Premiership reunions
- 1951 Seniors
- 1961 Seniors
- 1990 Seniors & Reserves
- 1991 Seniors & Reserves
"He (Dyer) was a hard man and he never talked for the sake of talking and he was always on the money," he said.
"I'm damn sure he made better players out of us local lads and younger players, I'm damn sure of that.
"We probably thought we were going along alright at times and when we got into that comfort zone he soon pulled our heads in and he was a very, very good player himself."
In both 1990 and 1991, Navarre had to overcome halftime deficits to claim the premiership.
Bibby said in 1990 he remembered having some doubts.
"I can remember having some negative thoughts at halftime, but after the main break our experienced players and leaders really stood up," he said.
"We kicked some silly score after halftime."
And Bibby was right. In the third term, Navarre blew Avoca away as they kicked 10 goals to 1.1, ultimately running away with the game to a final score of 21.11 (137) to 9.8 (62).
"In 1991 we were pretty confident in that one. We had lost a few games, but Lexton who had got through had to win every week," Bibby said.
"But once again we found ourselves in a pretty tight game and it was a very physical game we'll call it.
"There were a couple of local lads that got a game in that one that may have missed out on the years before so that was good."
Despite some inaccurate kicking in 1991, Navarre was clearly the better side, putting together another clinical second half to win 15.19 (109) to 11.9 (75) to score a historic hat-trick of senior premierships.
To be a part of the premierships is something Bibby reflects upon sweetly, especially the support they received from the town.
"I'm damn sure he made better players out of us local lads and younger players, I'm damn sure of that."Tim Bibby
"In a little town that's all everyone talked about going into finals and then grand final week when you're through everyone is behind you," he said.
"I used to get that nervous I never used to take it in as much as I should've."
As part of the celebrations, the club is also recognising some of its earliest premierships.
The 1951 senior premiership was the fifth in the club's history, with a thrilling game played to decide the premiership.
The game of football was different 60 years ago, with Navarre able to overcome a 40-point halftime deficit with some astounding play.
Trailing Waubra 12.7 (79) to 6.3 (39) Navarre looked in all sorts of trouble, before a nail-biting finish saw the Grasshoppers claim a four-point win, 18.18 (126) to 18.14 (122).
This was a game of football that had to be seen to be believed.
The club is also celebrating its tenth premiership with the 1961 flag, where the Grasshoppers also denied Waubra in the decider.
In a convincing victory on a day with tough conditions, Navarre kicked truly to win 12.10 (82) to 5.15 (45).
Ending a drought for the pioneers
Navarre will also be celebrating a suite of netball success in 2021 with a range of premierships from junior and seniors grades to be commemorated.
Jackie Parry who was a Navarre senior netball premiership player in 1980 and 1981 said growing up and playing sport with the club was an "amazing" experience.
"I was born there, I grew up in Navarre and like most Navarre kids you spent your Saturday's getting up and heading off to the football and netball it was amazing," she said.
Parry said Navarre was heavily involved with the inception of netball into Lexton League in the 1950's and 60's, with some of the Grasshoppers teaching the other clubs how to play the game.
- 1970 Under-15 reserves
- 1971 Under-15 reserves & Reserves
- 1980 Under-14s, Under-16s & Seniors
- 1981 Under-16's, Reserves & Seniors
- 1990 Under-17's & Reserves
- 1991 Seniors
- 2011 Under-13's & Under-17's
Navarre claimed their first senior netball premiership in 1962, but it was Parry and her teammates who were able to break the senior netball drought in 1980 after a long wait.
"I remember in 1980 there were lots of tears from the older woman and the mums who had been around for years," she said.
"There was a lot of pride and a lot of pride in winning that and bringing it home.
"It was a pretty amazing season."
Parry, who was in goal defence for much of her playing career, said the Grasshoppers defeated Marnoo on grand final day in 1980, with a team of mostly Navarre homegrown talent taking out the crown.
"There was only one player in that team that didn't live in Navarre so it was very much a local premiership I guess you could say," she said.
"That premiership was purely made up of homegrown girls which was pretty amazing.
"The Marnoo games were always really tough and really hard games.
Parry moved to Melbourne in the 1980's, but said she was looking forward to returning to Navarre to celebrate the premierships with her teammates.
"Absolutely, it just gives us more time to reminisce and think of the good times we can have when we all get back to Navarre to celebrate."
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