Sport

United over a barbie and beer

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June 08, 2018

BRINGING together friends and foe alike from way back, the stage is set for the Echuca United past player reunion tomorrow.

BRINGING together friends and foe alike from way back, the stage is set for the Echuca United past player reunion tomorrow.

The reunion will see former Echuca East, South and United players come together for a barbecue and a beer or two during the United versus Deniliquin match tomorrow afternoon.

Originally fierce rivals competing in the (now disbanded) Northern and Echuca League, South and East played against one another until the teams were merged to become Echuca United in 1994.

And since then past player Ian Johnson said the club has ‘‘been United in every sense.’’

For the first couple of years as a new club, United donned the brown and gold of the Hawthorn Hawks before transitioning to the more well-known blue and gold guernsey of today.

United joined the Murray Football League in 1997 and were required to change their playing strip because of the Barooga Hawks who were already in the league.

The decision was made to become the Echuca United Eagles. The club used the same design as the West Coast Eagles, and have retained the guernsey to this day.

And although tomorrow’s reunion will be steeped in history and banter, the players of yesteryear seem to be more concerned about ensuring they get in a good ribbing and plenty out of the barbecue and esky.

‘‘Yeah I used to like getting involved with a bit of biffo with the other blokes, and I still do sometimes,’’ Johnson joked.

Haydn Edwards, a former South player, said the first season as a merged club was sometimes difficult.

‘‘There was a little bit of rivalry still there but once you get into it and start playing with the blokes you get to know them and the way they play and you just become that one club,’’ Edwards said.

Mitch Ramage said there was still a lot of ‘‘friendly banter’’ between both sides of the fence, but the thing they most enjoyed about each other was a collective beer after the game.

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