The Ron Denmead Story

The Ron Denmead story is one of the most unusual and amazing stories ever to be told about a footballer in the Diamond Valley Football League. It is the amazing story of a man coming out of retirement at the age of thirty to create goal kicking history in the Diamond Valley (since the war) - it is the most unusual story of a backman turning into the best full forward Montmorency has ever had and probably the best the Diamond Valley has ever seen.

Before the war, Ron played football with Carlton and then after the war he continued his football career with Brunswick (1948-49) before retiring from football at the end of the 1950 season after playing in a Saturday morning competition for twelve months. Then near the start of the 1951 season, not too long after moving into the area, he had a visit from three well known Montmorency identities namely Phil Ryan, Jack Kent and Joe Gilberg. Ron recalls - "After introducing themselves to me, they told me that they had heard I kicked a football around and asked if I was interested in coming down to Montmorency for a season. They said there were a few blokes like myself who had retired and were coming down to give Mont. a year of football. I agreed and that started five very enjoyable years of football for me with Montmorency".

So the 1951 season saw the first of Ron Denmead as a player with Montmorency. According to Ron the 1951 side was a "crackerjack team" that went on to win the Premiership by sixteen goals. Although a lot of the team were around the thirty years of age mark, it was described in the Sporting Globe at the time as one of the biggest and best teams in Junior Football. One of the features of the side, according to Ron, was the fact it had a set back line (all the rucks changed on the forward line) and Ron was part of the backilne playing on the half-back flank or at centre-half back. He continued to play on the backline in 1952 (the same year he captain-coached the side) and it was not until midway through the 1953 season that coach Phil Ryan switched him to full-forward. This must have been one of the most inspired moves of all time for during the second half of the 1953 season Ron kicked sixty three goals to be beaten by Ron Kelly (Eltham) by one goal for the leading goal-kicker of the league (the winning goal incidentally was kicked in the Grand Final). 1954 saw Ron kick a record tally of one hundred and twenty six goals* to win the League's goal kicking award as well as win the Premiership by one point in the Grand Final replay against Lakeside Rovers. 1955 was Ron's last year of football and he again won the Diamond Valley leading goal kicker award with a tally of sixty five goals.

In all, Ron played ninety eight games with Montmorency over five seasons and in just two and a half seasons at full-forward, at the age of thirty-two to thirty-four, he kicked the amazing tally of two hundred and fifty-four goals. His highest tally in one game was nineteen goals against Templestowe in 1954 where he kicked thirteen goals after half time.

Of all the full backs Ron played against:-

"I rate Harry Waters (Epping) as the best. He was a real attacking full back who played this style of game beautifully. Max Jarrell (Eltham) and Tom Crane (Heidelberg) rate as the hardest I played against. Also McDowell (Greensborough) rates an honourable mention although I only played against him in 1955- which was his first and my last season".

Ron's best players were:-

"In my opinion Phil Ryan of Montmorency was the best footballer I saw in my five years in the Diamond Valley. Phil was 6'4" gentle giant who was a great team player and a protector of his team mates.

'Tuppy' Devine (Eltham) was a close second. As well as being a great footballer, Tuppy was also a good dancer. There was always a standing feud between him and Arthur Johnston everytime we played Etlham and at the centre bounces they both used to move like Fred Astaire.

Ken Jones of Montmorency was another great footballer who was almost unbeatable as a centre-half back in the Diamond Valley".

Ron's biggest thrill in football occurred after the war playing services football in Perth W.A. when he was in the same side as Des Fothergill who was opposed to Hayden Bunton that day. "Being on the same ground and playing before a large crowd in the same game as these two great champions was the biggest thrill of my football career" says Ron.

And finally of his five years at Montmorency, Ron says "They were a bonus to my football career. I had five terrific years of football and five terrific years of social life. During that period I got to know a lot of people and out of it I have made a lot of friends for life, not only Montmorency, right accross the Diamond Valley".

* Ron's total of 126 goals was the highest tally since the war. J West (Eltham) booted 128 goals in 1933