Life Member

Inducted 2018

Nicknamed  the “The Ox” is pictured right rear amongst 60s team mates

From the citation at the Annual Dinner (provided by Arch Cameron);

As you would no doubt be aware, he has not had an easy life and had to fight many battles

His father was interned during the war at a camp near Barmera for four years when Tony was in his formative years.

Tony always shown great loyalty and appreciation to the Christian Brothers for his pre-tertiary education, although not altogether undivided, given all the encouragement he has given their former students to play for the Blacks rather than the old scholars teams.

Like two of this year’s recruits, Tony joined the Blacks in preference to continuing at West Adelaide where he had played reserves with distinction.

He undertook national service when he won the services heavyweight boxing championship: a source of great pride for him

His extraordinary levels of strength and fitness came through persistence, effort and blood sweat and tears as they say, and he became well known for his prowess as a handball champion and the success he enjoyed in that sport with his brother Lou – they were both state and national handball doubles champions.

Long ago former Supreme Court Justice Michael David told me that in a game at Riverside oval Tony, single- handed (perhaps not an entirely accurate description), took on the entire Riverside team when it was necessary to stand up for his teammates when the wharfies, as he called them, tried to throw their weight around in the days before the video and the send-off: if not before, this earned him the nickname the Moge, or more particularly, the Black Mogul.

Tony has a great fondness for former Blacks coach Alan Greer (who, like Tony, saw the game against Port Districts at their oval earlier this year)

Those successes came when, as Tony recounts, the Blacks players achieved their successes with many freshers, year after year, and following their exertions in the sandhills and the parklands over summer, led by a coach in Alan Greer, whom none of them could ever catch.

Just as in his playing days Tony has been the driving force in many of their reunions.

Sadly, his life has been a constant struggle for him since illness struck him down whilst he was a student in fifth year medicine and dominating the amateur league from full forward with his torpedoes: advances in medical science have provided him with much support but a struggle nonetheless.

He is a proud father of a son and daughter.

His son Paul Anthony followed him to West Adelaide where he was a star and but for a minor indiscretion would have won a Magarey Medal

His encouragement if not downright exhortation to so many to join and stay with the Blacks can never be underestimated.

Earlier in the 70s uniformed St John’s ambulance volunteers would attend each A1-game, and stand near the scoreboard, usually next to the lecturer in politics Jeff Scott and the lecturer in Classics Ron Corney, both, like Tony, also legends at the University: on the comparatively rare occasions that I played A1, this provided a measure of assurance in case of injury that help would be at hand

In the late 70s, they no longer did so: however, at least at the A3 games on beautiful University Oval: Tony had taken their place, again providing comfort for those in need – invariably with a large bottle of Mercurochrome solution in his hand, Tony would rush onto the University Oval to treat, or should I say splash , with considerable generosity in the administered doses of the solution, any of the Blacks who had been bloodied in the fight and, whilst doing so, exhort them, in his own inimitable way, to continue their fight by drawing the blood of their opponents

Ever since got getting to know Tony at that time, whenever I have attended a game at Uni Oval, often just once a year, Tony has always been there supporting his beloved team and entertaining those supporting the team with his colourful commentary, always emphatic, and emphatically more so as the years have progressed

This year Tony was notable not so much for his commentary but for the emphatic use of the horn on Dave Gordon’s car: perhaps out doing whoever was belting the horn on Conor Noonan’s dad’s car at the Tea Tree Gully oval, and he was thumping the horn energetically at the game at Modbury a month later as Jack Paynter’s Blacks continued winning week after week and to his great delight.

Tony has exemplified extraordinary loyalty to the University and his beloved football club: he has given far more back to the University Blacks than he ever received.

(Written  by Arch Cameron)