The 1948/49 season of the NSW premiership was conducted over 4 grades with Drummoyne teams entered in both the 2nd and 3rd grade. In 2nd grade, Drummoyne finished 3rd in the table with 24 points with Balmain on 29, Northbridge on 26 and Bondi on 21. In the finals, the first semi was between Drummoyne and Balmain with Drummoyne winning 4-2. The second semi was between Northbridge and Bondi with Northbridge winning 5-1. The next game was the final between Northbridge & Drummoyne which Drummoyne won 2-0. In the Grand Final, Drummoyne 6 defeated Balmain 4 to be named the Second Grade Premiers for 1948/49. One of the players for Drummoyne was Ron Lord, the goalkeeper. Ron’s other claim to fame was as a both a state and Australian representative player in football (soccer).
Born in Sydney in 1929, Ron Lord was recognised as one of the finest goalkeepers produced in Australia. Brave, athletic, cool under pressure and a fitness fanatic, Lord made his debut at age 17 with Rozelle, making his senior debut the following year with Drummoyne and eventually retired at the age of 35 in 1965.His first representative honour was in 1950 when he was chosen for NSW against Queensland and followed with matches against clubs from Austria, China and the United Kingdom, as well as against England in 1951 and the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. Lord recorded 339 first grade appearances with Drummoyne, Auburn and Prague and played 10 times for the national team when Australia had few international matches whilst under a three year FIFA ban. After retiring, Lord became an established specialist goal keeping coach, mostly with National Soccer League clubs. Two of his protégé, Greg Woodhouse and Gary Meier, went on to gain national team selection. (Extracted from Football Australia Hall of Fame.) Drummoyne’s other team in the in the competition that year – 3rd grade finished unplaced on 11 points. Ron presented the club with a picture of the winning Drummoyne team in 2003 and this now hangs on the club wall.
So who was Mirko SANDIC and what the hell did he have to do with Drummoyne Water Polo Club?
Mirko was a Yugoslavian National player who played in four Olympic Games winning Gold in Mexico City in 1968. Born in Belgrade in 1942 he represented his country no less that 235 times. He stood over 2 metres tall and weighed 120kgs yet could still swim 100m in 58 secs with his head out. Apart from his Olympic representations, Mirko won numerous European competitions and was as well known in his homeland as Ian Thorpe or Dougie Walters is here. But finest amongst his credentials is the one season he played for Drummoyne during his vacation here in 1968.
THE TRUTH REVEALED.
Was he the son of the council gardener who while working in Brett Park wandered over and politely asked if he could get a game? Or was he secretly recruited by the cunning committee then in charge of the Drummoyne Club?
In a conversation with Brian Hamill, finally uncovers the truth behind the urban legend. The following is an excerpt of a conversation I had with Brian Hamill earlier this year:
BH …… his father-in-law, Carl, lived down at Meadowbank and he actually was a barber in Meadowbank but he finished up down at White Bay there, opposite the pub there was a little shop and that was a barber shop and that was his barber shop and I used to go there and he and I would get on…we were good friends…and he said “How’s the Water Polo going?” so I said yeah and talked about it and he said “My son-in-law is Water Polo player.” And I said “Oh yeah. Who with?” and he said “For Yugoslavia.” And I thought that was interesting…anyway we would just chitter chatter on and about three years later he said “My son-in-law is coming out for a holiday to stay at my place.” And I said “Does he want to play Water Polo?” “I’ll ask him” he says. Anyway the day he arrived from Yugoslavia it was a Tuesday night and we were playing at Balmain pool and I went over to pick him up and I said “Are you set Mirko?”…and that was the first time I had met him……”yep, yep, yep” We were walking out the door and I says “Hang on. Where’s your towel? Where’s your swimmers?”….”I need towel? I need swimmers?” I said “Yeah. You’ve got to bring your own gear.” “Oooooohhhh….so”. So anyway he went back inside and he got a towel and a pair of swimmers..
LRP He thought he was going to be supplied with all of this?
BH Yeah…and down we went to Balmain pool and we lined up at the turnstiles going through and I said “I’ll pay for you Mirko.”…..”PAY?…pay?”…anyway we went in and it was Bronte we were playing and Donny Sarkis was in goals…and there were a couple of blokes in the Drummoyne team who weren’t very happy about having Mirko just lob up, never been to a training program, we didn’t know how good he was, and I said “Just trust me.” Anyway we got in and he got the ball about half way and went ‘Zang’ and he popped the ball into the top right hand corner. Donny Sarkis just couldn’t believe it and they started to protest..”Where did he come from? He’s not a registered player” Fortunately we had all the paperwork done...well I think he scored probably about four goals that night…
And so Mirko played the rest of the season taking Drummoyne through to the Finals. Unfortunately his visa ran out and Mirko had to return home and Drummoyne failed to progress further. Brian went on to say that during the few months Mirko played with Drummoyne it created some resentment within the Sydney Water Polo circles and I may be wrong but do I detect some lingering resentment in Peter Montgomery’s article. At the time Brian attempted to have Mirko assist the NSW officials in the preparation of their representative teams but they were not interested then nor were they during future visits as acknowledged by Mark Persi in his annual report of the 76-77 season.
The truth is that it was just blind luck that Mirko came to play with Drummoyne, but by all accounts he did enjoy his time here and he enjoyed the company of gentlemen who played the game just for the pleasure of it and who formed a true ‘club’ atmosphere. It is worthy to note that when Mirko started plying water polo in 1956, his home club, Partizan, was a second division club, much like Drummoyne was during his ‘career’ here.
P.S. Belgrade 26 December 2006 – His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II received with much sadness news about the death of Mr. Mirko Sandic our famous water polo player, member of the House of Famous who died in Belgrade on Sunday night.
"Serbia has lost one of its best sportsmen who left behind gold and silver medals from various competitions and more than 235 matches for our National Team. It’s no wonder that he was well known as a man of biggest heart, since he was dedicated to this sport investing both, skills and devotion” - emphasized HRH Crown Prince Alexander II in his letter of condolences.
I attended the NSW Water Polo AGM yesterday and am pleased to advise that Drummoyne Life Member Dave Henricks was appointed a Life Member of NSW Water Polo. This is a well deserved recognition for almost 50 years of service to water polo in NSW and the Drummoyne Club.
Dave is still an active player with Drummoyne Water Polo Club plying his trade most Tuesdays in the M6 team. Dave has been playing for Drummoyne since the early 1960s and was a member of the last Drummoyne 1st Grade team that played in 1st Division. Dave was a member of the first CHS water polo team to travel overseas in 1970 that played in a Test series against New Zealand, CHS won 2-1.
His service to the Drummoyne Water Polo Club was recognised in 1982 when he became the first Life Member of the Drummoyne Water Polo Club. As well as playing many memorable games Dave has held positions of Club Secretary, and was the Drummoyne President 1992-94.
Dave has been a long term Board Member of NSW Water Polo and is the current President having previously been the Secretary and Treasurer.
On behalf of everyone at Drummoyne Water Polo Club we congratulate Dave on this most deserved recognition.