Sport

Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club president Graham Hosier stepping down

By Robert Muir

After seven years at the helm, Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club President Graham Hosier will step down at the club’s AGM in October.

In 1982, as a New Zealander, meeting his wife-to-be, Corowa girl Kerry Rippingale in London, proved to be quite a remarkable story for the football netball club’s outgoing president and club.

“I followed her back to Corowa, I was a Kiwi and we married in 1983,” he told The Free Press.

“The first game I watched Corowa play was in a practice match against Heidelberg and I thought what a stupid game this is! I went and played for the Steamers in rugby union in Albury.”

Mr Hosier, who played at senior rugby level for Petone in New Zealand, won a best and fairest with Steamers. But the sporting code changed when his brother-in-law, Ray Milne, was appointed AFL coach of Wahgunyah and he played football with the Tigers for two years.

How was the change? “Any football contains the same – you’re chasing a piece of leather, knocking the hell out of someone and you have a beer after!” the sporting convert said.

“But after two years of playing it, I believed it was a brilliant game. To play any sport and have the camaraderie is fantastic.”

In 1988 Mr Hosier started his plumbing business and took an active role in following the Roos, helping out where possible. In 2010 he joined the Roos board, became vice president in 2011 and was elected to president in 2014, taking over from Ray McLarty.

“Bryce Campbell was coach and we were reasonably successful. We had some very lean years when Terry Burgess was coaching – it was the low life of my tenure here at the club – but we still managed to keep the club financial and did off-field projects. There was a lot of talk about the ‘Corowa Cluster’ but the plan of moving forward with more locals didn’t get going.

“(Next and immediate past coach) Mark Almond brought a professional approach to the club which was great. We had some success. I’m disappointed we didn’t have footy this year. I believe that all Mark’s hard work would have proved fruitful this year. The players loved him.”  

Under Mr Hosier’s presidency, much has been achieved off-field and off-court, with reconfiguration of the clubrooms, a rebuild of the Fred Swift Nana Baker Grandstand, upgrade of the coaches boxes and the construction of two netball courts.

“I believe it’s one of the best netball areas in the O and M. The courts have paved the way to great success,” he said. “We’ve implemented other initiatives such as the club’s Roo Lotto and Farming Sector with Beau Longmire and Micky Seymour in charge.”

Mr Hosier said the town of Corowa needs an O and M presence, and a strong one. “The future looks bright,” he said. “Our juniors are certainly very strong. Hopefully they’ll follow us right through.

“There’s an opportunity for them here to play at the highest local level.”

The president described his seven-year reign as “a great journey” but would like to see a younger person take on the role. “I feel we need a younger person,” the 63-year-old aid. “We’re structured well. We just need a younger person to come up with ideas to keep the club going forward.

“The club has been very good to me. It’s just like another family. They’ve been very supportive to me, especially after losing my wife (to cancer, 12 months ago). Sponsors and supporters have stuck with us – they are so supportive of the club and are fantastic.

“The time’s come where I want to spend time with my grandkids in Queensland.” 

Ron Robinson served as vice president during the outgoing president’s reign and praised the president’s leadership style and achievements. “He was able to achieve by including and taking guidance from others and implementing projects that came to fruition,” Ron said.

“With Graham’s ability to do that – to get others involved who had knowledge and experience – it has ensured the club is in a good, strong position both on and off the field. He has served the club well and I wish him all the best in what will be ‘semi’ retirement!”

There have been tough times on and off the sporting arenas, with his beloved Roos gaining strides last season on the football field and netball court, but losing his wife to cancer 12 months ago.

Graham Hosier has been through a lot on his journey and has deserved to be able to put his feet up after seven years at a job well done.