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Sunday Age

THE TWO OF US - BARRY ROUND / BERNIE QUINLAN

Author: INTERVIEWS BY LYALL JOHNSON
Date: 19/09/2004
Words: 1948
Source: SAG
          Publication: The Sunday Age
Section: Sport
Page: 13
Barry Round and his great mate Bernie Quinlan won the Brownlow Medal in 1981, the first joint winners to both receive the medal. Their careers ran very similar paths, starting in the same year and finishing a year apart after Round had played 328 games with Footscray and South Melbourne/Sydney and "superboot" Quinlan had played 366 games with Footscray and Fitzroy. Neither played in a premiership. Round, 54, now works as a sales rep for a chemical company and is on the board of Williamstown Football Club. Quinlan, 53, is a sales rep for a sports bandage company and a specialist coach for Port Melbourne Football Club.

BARRY ROUND

'I met Bernie at Footscray in '69. I came down from Warragul at the start of the year and he came down halfway through the year. He was obviously a very talented kid and came down and fitted straight into the Footscray team and came straight into the seniors. He could kick the ball a mile, which is what he was famous for, so he settled in the seniors almost straight away.

We had a bit in common, coming from the La Trobe Valley, although there were a lot of blokes from up there because it was a Footscray zone. We got on pretty well and hit it off OK. It was probably a bit of the country boy in him that I liked; pretty laconic, pretty approachable easy-going fellow.

I suppose he did have a good sense of humour then, but he's turned into a grumpy old bastard now; he hates the world now.

I'm too scared if I'm in a shout with him to go to the toilet because I reckon he'll talk about me when I'm gone. Since he got the arse from Fitzroy as coach, he's got a list as long as your arm of people he doesn't like any more.

He's much too skinny. He has a go at me for being too fat, but he's much too skinny. He looks crook, he's running out of hair. But he rides a bike and plays golf about eight days a week so that's why he's still in such good nick. He's disgusting actually - he looks too fit.

Yeah, it was ironic to win the Brownlow with him. Even our wives were pretty good mates, not that they're our wives any longer, of course. But it was amazing to first of all tie and then to tie with somebody you were so close to. It was unbelievable. It was terrific actually.

It was probably the last half-a-dozen games I thought it was getting close. I honestly didn't realise Bernie was in the mix as well. He came home like a steam train, and the last vote read out was South Melbourne, and it was F. Jackson and if I had have won that, I would have won it outright.

But I was almost hoping that it wasn't me because I thought it would be terrific to share it with Bernie.

On the stage we just said (to each other), 'It's just unbelieveable'. It was surreal; we couldn't believe it. At that time, Fitzroy had a function for Bernie and South Melbourne had one for me so we didn't so much team up afterwards.

But we'd had a couple of memorable Brownlows before that. He and Cheryl, his wife at the time, they'd quite often have a room at the Southern Cross, and we'd get up there and get changed and get on the piss and have a bit of a heart-starter before the event, so we were used to Brownlow night with them.

He was a lazy bastard then; he never worked in his life. By the way, the job he has now is the first job where he actually has to work. He was always on good dollars. And I'd take the family up to Queensland every October after the footy season and then a couple of years he came up.

Now I'd get up and have a run about 6.30 every morning, which I still do now, and I'd be like 'come on'.

He never had to really work to be fit. I was pretty fit, too. I was a carpenter, but he was just naturally gifted but I used to thrive on the hard work and he was a bit lazy. And anyway, that year I got him to do all the morning runs for about a week or 10 days and that was the year we won the Brownlow together, so I put it down to my hard training of him on the Gold Coast in October. It was the first time he'd ever put in a pre-season.

I suppose it was the highlight of my career. (Triple Brownlow medallist) Ian Stewart was my coach and he sort of put it into perspective pretty well. I never saw myself as a Brownlow medallist obviously. I knew I'd had a couple of good years but he said it would mean more to you when you retire and he's right. Every time you go to functions or are introduced as a panellist or something now, it's as the 1981 Brownlow medallist, so it's like a bit of a title.

I think I probably would trade it for a premiership medal. I didn't experience being in a premiership until I was 36 at Williamstown. That was probably my happiest year of football ever, to go to Williamstown and play in a premiership side, and I had some idea then of what the blokes at AFL or VFL were experiencing.

When we catch up, we just talk about how skinny he is and how fit he looks. I just try to get him on the grog and have a laugh. He goes all right, but he's harder to get out than Geoff Boycott at the moment; he's a bit of a recluse. We talk a bit of golf, what else have you been up to, that sort of thing.

He likes the horses a bit, not as much as he used to, just sport in general and who's doing what, and I think he is doing a little bit of specialist coaching down at Port Melbourne so we have a talk about how he's going there. He doesn't really keep up with me when we drink, but he hasn't really got the body mass, I suppose.

I'm looking forward to the Brownlow. They have beer at the right price there, too. And that's my favourite drink you know, free drink. I'll be there, first in there and the last to leave with a bit of luck."

BERNIE QUINLAN

"So he admitted he likes a drink? And free drinks, they're his favourite drinks. Quite often he'd go to the AFL 200 Club function and he'd say: 'They've got my favourite beer on tonight', and I'd say: 'What's that?', and he'd say: 'Free beer.' They say he is a combination of Tommy Hafey and Whale Roberts; he trains like Tommy Hafey and drinks like Whale Roberts.

My most vivid memory of Roundy in footy terms is when he turned up at a Brownlow (medal count) wearing his Williamstown jumper. After winning the premiership with Williamstown on Sunday and doing the pub crawl on Monday before he got to the Brownlow, he fronted up with his Williamstown jumper at the dinner. He's a bit of a character.

I never played with him in the La Trobe Valley, he was playing senior football when I was still playing under age. But I still have this memory of him, this giant of a fellow, running around playing senior football for Warragul against Traralgon.

It sticks in my mind today, I can just see him. He was a monster of a bloke, there was the massive shoulders, huge frame and he was just marking everything, even at that stage.

He was natural, too, he didn't have to work on that massive frame of his, it was natural and not artificially built up through weights. I think he's worked on it a little bit now, although in other areas. Not actually in the weight room, it might be the 10-ounce weights he's been lifting. I can't put on weight and every time he sees me he says, 'Have you recovered from that AIDS yet'. He figures I'm too skinny.

It would have been good to play more football together because we played our better football when we went to other clubs. By that stage the penny's dropped and you know what's expected and it would have been good to be in a team with Roundy the way he was playing at South Melbourne in those days. He carried that side for a long time.

I'd resisted coming down to Melbourne in 1969 because it was a pretty big move coming from the country at that time as a 17-year-old and I was enjoying playing my first year of senior football up there. In the end (Footscray president) Jack Collins and Teddy Whitten kept on hammering away and they ended up offering me six senior games, which sounds pretty strange these days. With that offer I played full-forward the first time and my first game was against Fitzroy out at the Western Oval.

Did he look after me on the field? No, not at all. He looked after himself, the big idiot.

He's a happy-go-lucky bloke and everyone who meets Roundy would say the same thing: 'Roundy's a terrific bloke', and he doesn't have a bad bone in his body. He's a gentle giant, Roundy.

I probably did turn into a miserable bastard, I was dirty on the world when I lost the Fitzroy job. In footy it was definitely the lowest. No, he didn't hang it on me, he was good. As he said, I was a bit fragile at the time, I probably wasn't joking around much. He's been a good mate all the way through, I've had a few problems with a couple of things that have happened to me and he's been terrific support in those areas.

My most cherished football moment with him would definitely be winning the Brownlow.

I've reached the highs and lows in football but certainly standing up there with him and winning the Brownlow was the highlight of it.

And I think that year we played our 250th game on the same day when he was at South and I was at Fitzroy, we played against each other, which was pretty amazing.

A lot of people are sharing them these days, but when you look at how our careers ran side by side, it makes it even more special to share a medal like that.

We did a bit of pre-season that year up at Surfers Paradise, it was good, the families were up there and we did a bit of hard training. I had to decide which way we'd run on the beach because he didn't know whether we should go left or right, that's how decisive he was.

With a bloke as big as he was, he was one of the best long-distance runners in the early days at Footscray. You wouldn't believe a bloke that size could run but he'd just go and go and go and he'd run me ragged on the beach up at Surfers Paradise.

When you're a kid, it's something you dream about, standing up there with the Brownlow Medal around your neck.

Individually, I suppose it would be the best moment, but kicking 100 goals and kicking that 100th goal - which I did twice, in 1983 and '84 - that was pretty high. But nothing gets near the Brownlow. I'd trade it for a premiership medal, but I'd like one of each."

 
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