Brownlow Dinner with the Coodabeens
Monday September 28, 2015
A highlight on the functions calendar each year is the Brownlow Dinner with the Coodabeens and in its 10th year, there was no shortage of members and guests wanting to join in the fun and laughter with over 480 in attendance.
The ever-entertaining Coodabeen Champions used the evening’s popular tradition of everyone adopting the persona of a celebrity with name tags placed randomly on their table. There were a number of anxious people in the room as you never know who the Coodabeens will want to speak to!
To kick off proceedings, the Coodabeens asked a nervous looking “Kate Cebrano” to the stage to perform the national anthem. Greg Champion performed the crowd favourite “We are the members”, with the entire room singing along and enjoying the humour of it! Throughout the night Greg sung a number of his favourite footy-based parody songs which he encouraged all guests to join in on, and the crowd certainly did.
The Coodabeens paid tribute to a number of retiring players including our own “Dustin Fletcher”, “Adam Goodes”, “Chris Newman”, “Steve Johnson” and “Rhys Shaw”. Guests were fortunate to witness their final lap of the ‘G in the back of their Toyota HiLux cars!
“Patrick Dangerfield” faced some tough questioning from the Coodabeens before a reluctant “Chris Scott” was brought into the conversation however no deal was made for 2016!
“Mick Fanning” came face-to-face with his mate “the shark” and after re-enacting his life-saving punch, they parted on good terms!
The room stopped to watch the results of Round 22 which sealed victory for Nat Fyfe who took out the award and honour of becoming the 2015 Brownlow Medal winner.
A presentation of the MCC Brownlow Medal was made by AFL chairman “Mike Fitzpatrick” to our own “Nat Fyfe”.
Sporting Sections Grand Final Week Luncheon
Monday September 28, 2015
In its 23rd year, the Sporting Sections Grand Final Week Luncheon kicked off AFL grand final week in its usual lively and enjoyable style in the Members Dining Room.
With representation from 12 of the 13 sporting sections and most special interest groups, the lunch was again hosted by popular duo Ian Cover and Tony Leonard, who’s usual humour and wit entertained all in the room.
In a short Q&A segment, four of the MCC’s high achieving sporting section members took to the stage to speak with Tony and Ian about their achievements.
First up were MCC hockey members and brothers, Josh and Jonno Bretherton who are rising stars of the game. Josh, currently in the Australian men’s junior squad and Victoria Vikings squad, has represented Victoria in the U18s twice and U21s three times at the National Championships.
Younger brother Jonno, also in the Australian men’s junior squad has also represented Victoria in the U18s twice and U21s twice at the National Championships. A highlight for Jonno was winning gold for Australia at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Next to join Tony and Ian were target shooting members and partners, Renae Birgan and Socrates Pilidasidis. Renae, a 10-time National Sporting Clay Ladies Champion and Socrates, a 14-time Australian Open teams shooter, gave an insight into their chosen discipline, clay shooting, and discussed their recent achievements. There were times when Tony and Ian looked a little perplexed, especially when Renae and Socrates were discussing the finer details of the sport, the MC’s seemed more confused after the answer than before!
Following main course, guest speaker Chris Scott took to the stage in a question and answer session with Ian and Tony. Chris spoke openly and honestly about his current role as Geelong Cats senior coach, which included an insight into the mechanics of coaching along with how it feels to have control before a game and the release of that control once the players take to the field. Interestingly, when asked which of his premiership wins, two as a player and one as a coach, was the bigger highlight, Chris said as a coach, where he felt he had a greater influence on the game. Chris also touched on his playing days at the Brisbane Lions and spoke highly of the huge influence then coach Leigh Matthews has had on him as a coach.
The lunch was a fantastic way to usher in the excitement and anticipation of this year’s AFL Grand Final.
Members’ Culinary Centre Experience
September 16, 2015
On Thursday September 16, an intimate group of 50 members and guests enjoyed a new and unique dining experience in the MCG Culinary Centre.
On arrival into the culinary kitchen, guests were welcomed by Director of Culinary Operations, MCG, Peter Haycroft and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and canapés served amongst the ovens, cooktops and food preparation areas. The culinary delights served from a number of food stations included oysters, prawns, kingfish, peking duck and dumplings.
Guests enjoyed wandering through the MCG kitchen and chatting to Epicure’s head chefs as they prepared the nights offerings, a truly rare and exclusive experience.
The delicious food continued throughout the evening with guests enjoying an entree of smoked Tasmanian salmon and eight-score Wagyu beef for main. A delectable cheese plate was served before the decadent award-winning K7 chocolate cake by Epicure’s top pastry chef, Deniz Karaca. Matching wines were served to compliment each course.
Throughout the course of the night, Epicure’s chefs including, Shane Freer, Stephen Moloney, Blair Humphrey, Travis Dines and Deniz Karaca spoke to the course which had been served, discussing the produce and preparation of the meal.
Guests were encouraged to ask questions and the chefs were more than happy to share details, facts and stories from the kitchen which prepares and produces over 30,000 meals on a match day alone.
As if the evening was not special enough, attendees were surprised with a walk out onto the hallowed MCG turf where a group photo was taken. As the evening and experience of dining in the MCG’s culinary kitchen came to a close, guests departed not only with a copy of the recipes for the entree and main courses, but also an individual serve of the delicious K7 chocolate cake to enjoy and memories to last a lifetime!
The Bradman Luncheon
August 27, 2015
The 16th annual Bradman Luncheon was once again held on the anniversary of Sir Don’s birthday, August 27 and with another packed Members Dining Room, there is no doubt that this function holds a special place in the hearts of many of our members and their guests.
The function was officially opened by Greta Bradman as she performed “I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls” beautifully accompanied by Amir Farid on piano and set the tone for the afternoon ahead.
Gerard Whateley, in his brilliant capacity as Master of Ceremonies paid tribute to Arthur Morris who had only passed away a week earlier and re-counted that famous story of Morris telling the world where he was in Bradman’s last Test – down the other end of the pitch, making 197.
After entree, Greta and Amir took to the stage for her final performance of a song which she dedicated to her late grandfather, “My Hero”.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland was interviewed by Gerard Whateley between entree and main course. The feature of the discussion was obviously the Australian men’s team poor showing in England, which resulted in Australia surrendering the Ashes. James stated the Cricket Australia were extremely disappointed with this outcome and acknowledged that a thorough review needed to be undertaken on their preparation and selection decisions for the tour.
On the flip side, he noted that the Southern Stars (Australian women’s team) were on the verge of an Ashes victory should they be able to secure a win or draw in one of the last two T20 matches. He added the growth and development of the women’s game at all levels around the country was a great success for CA, acknowledging the significant role women play in the game as players, administrators, volunteers, parents and supporters etc.
He also congratulated the MCC on continuing the tradition of this function and was very pleased to see it is as popular and successful as it’s ever been.
After main course, Justin Langer took to the microphone and opened his address paying tribute to the host of former Australian Test and MCC cricketers in the room, confessing to Max Walker that he aspired to be as successful as he has been in his media career.
Langer spoke of his childhood dream, like many, to one day wear the baggy green cap and represent his country. As a young batsman, his idol was Donald Bradman and his admiration for the famous cricketer, inspired Langer to write to Bradman.
Unbelievably, Langer received a response to his letter, just two days after posting it – absolutely thrilled to have been acknowledged by one of his cricketing heroes. Langer told the audience that the most important message he took from Bradman’s response, was his advice that when you are out at the crease, you are on your own. You don’t have your coach, you don’t have your family and friends or any sports psychologist out there helping you – you have to work it out on your own.
Langer also paid tribute to Morris and explained to the audience why he had been given the nickname ‘Arthur Morris’ at one stage in his career. In Langer’s first test hundred for his country in 1998, which he said was the greatest day of his cricketing career, he was supremely overshadowed by Mark Taylor who went on to make 334 in the same test. So like Morris, no one remembers Langer’s feat that day, as the spotlight was on Taylor, just as the world’s attention was on Bradman back in 1948 as he scored a duck in his final test innings.
Langer went on to entertain the crowd with stories of his career, from the thrill of being called up to this first test match in 1993 and the excitement of meeting his cricketing heroes, who now became his teammates – Kim Hughes, David Boon, Ian Healy and Tony Dodemaide.
His encounters with the fast West Indian bowlers were both frightening and entertaining as he told stories of their commanding presence on the field, powerful bowling and amusing taunts as he stood at the crease attempting to maintain his composure.
He spoke briefly about the challenges of winning an Ashes series and how it takes tough work and a huge commitment by all players to be successful. Unfortunately, sometimes it may only take a couple of poor sessions to see a team’s capitulation despite many days of hard work either out in the field, or at the crease.
Langer finished his address by telling the audience that his greatest achievement as a cricketer was the respect he earned from his team mates, his family, the crowd, the opposition and most humbling, from the media.
The final word came from John Bradman, who once again thanked the MCC for hosting such a special event honouring his father.
This year’s luncheon proved to be another wonderful success with nearly 450 members and guests in attendance. We look forward the start of the cricket season with great anticipation.
MFC/MCC Game Day Function
Saturday August 23, 2015
The final MFC/MCC Game Day Function for season 2015 was held prior to the Carlton v Melbourne match and Melbourne supporters were looking forward to a competitive on-field battle.
With more than 160 members and guests in attendance, the room had a fantastic energy pre-match as the Demons were finally starting a match as favourites.
The theme of the day was centred on leading Melbourne goalkickers and those who had featured in the record books. This group proved difficult to track down, with David Neitz an unfortunate apology and Brad Green lining up as an assistant coach with the opposition on the day. Members and guests were lucky to hear from Guy Rigoni pre-match who played many years alongside host Russell Robertson.
Rigoni spoke about the great goal-kickers he played alongside in Neitz and Schwarz and his own personal battle with a back injury throughout his career. Robertson was also quick to boast about his own goalkicking exploits throughout his career, as well as a great story involving the late Jim Stynes.
We also had Neville Jetta address the crowd who were delighted to hear from him, but would much prefer to have seen him out on the ground.
Unfortunately the on-field performance brought little joy to the Demon faithful who saw their side capitulate in the first half against the bottom side, eventually succumbing by 23 points.
Thank you to all our MCC dual members who continue to be wonderful supporters of these functions. We look forward to the 2016 line up of functions and hope that those in attendance finally get to witness a Demons victory!
Comedy @ the 'G
Friday July 31, 2015
The second and final Comedy @ the ‘G function for 2015 was held on Friday July 31 in a packed Hans Ebeling Room prior to the Hawthorn v Richmond match.
Members and guests enjoyed another fabulous pre-game function including snack food, beverages, reserved seating and many laughs all before the game even started.
Comedian Hayley Brennan warmed up the crowd with a variety of stories ranging from exercise to her Tupperware obsession. Following Hayley was Harley Breen who had the crowd in hysterics from the moment he stepped on stage! With hilarious stories ranging from his personal grooming, enjoying visits to the park way more than his five-year-old son does, to camping adventures where he questions why anyone in their right mind thinks having to shower in your thongs makes for a good holiday! Harley was a huge hit with members and guests.
The loudest applause (albeit self-requested from the man himself), was left for the last of the comedians, well known Australian Colin Lane. Colin performed a hysterical stand-up set which included a song he created especially for the night. The song was a tribute to the MCC, its traditions and history and went something like this.....”It’s great to be at the MCG....” and that’s as far as his song writing skills took him!
We look forward to welcoming our popular comedy functions back in 2016.
Long Room Dinner with Karen Martini
Thursday July 23, 2015
This year’s Long Room Dinner featured well known chef Karen Martini, and once again 160 members and guests were treated to a fabulous event. The evening commenced with canapés and beverages served in the Committee Room prior to guests making their way to the Long Room.
The Mediterranean-inspired menu started with a range of share platters served to the table as Karen specifically wanted to create a sense of conviviality. Her vision for the night was to have members and guests embrace the food and share it amongst each other fostering a sense of friendship and hospitality. The atmosphere in the Long Room as the share platters were being enjoyed indicated that Karen had achieved her goal.
The main course was an incredible braised lamb shank, encased in soft pastry that was simply delicious. The lamb melted in your mouth and was perfectly spiced and full of flavour that matched beautifully with a shiraz.
Master of ceremonies for the evening, Ian Cover, hosted a light and entertaining interview with Karen which highlighted her passion and love of food. When asked what inspired her, Karen simply responded that her hunger is what gives her inspiration. She spoke about how food was always of interest to her but she never dreamed that it would become her career.
Members and guests heard about Karen’s apprenticeships at renowned Melbourne restaurants Mietta’s, where she learnt from Jacques Reymond and The Wine Room and their impact on her career. She talked about her food travels, work in the print and TV media, her successful cook books and now balancing motherhood with all the above.
Karen told members and guests that the dessert she prepared for this function had only been tasted by 90 people prior to this evening and she was looking forward to the feedback. The dessert was inspirational. With an incredible polenta cake, topped with dark chocolate and vin santo ice cream, it was no doubt the confit olive cased in sugar that was the talking point.
Karen made herself available throughout dessert, roaming around the room and mingling with members and guests, signing menus and enjoying their conversation and feedback.
We look forward to another successful Long Room Dinner in 2016.
VRC/MCC Winter Raceday Function
Saturday July 18, 2015
In beautiful winter sunshine, nearly 400 VRC and MCC members and guests made their way to The Peak function room at Flemington Racecourse to enjoy the VRC/MCC Winter Raceday Event.
In spectacular surrounds and in prime location to see the finish line, the crowd enjoyed a terrific day of racing and hospitality. The function was hosted by TAB’s Nick Quinn who was also in charge of the punters club for the day. With many guests participating in the punters club, there was much delight when they returned with a win at day’s end.
Included in the function package were beverages, a delicious grazing menu and generous cheese station. Some lucky attendees also walked away with some great door prizes. The function proving once again that it is a great opportunity for members and guests from both the VRC and MCC to mingle with each other and enjoy a great day out at Flemington.
Photo courtesy of Honey Gem Creative.
MFC/MCC Game Day Function
Saturday July 11, 2015
The second MFC/MCC Game Day Function for season 2015 was held prior to the Essendon v Melbourne match on Saturday July 11.
Over 160 members and guests attended the lunch on a cold, wet and wintery Melbourne day. This didn’t dampen the mood in the room which was abuzz with excitement at the prospect another Melbourne win!
Host Russell Robertson was again entertaining and insightful behind the microphone. The theme of the day was celebrating Demons who have played over 150 games for the great club. Former players Frank Adams, Stan Alves and Steven Febey were happy to have a chat to Robbo and entertained all in the room with some amusing stories of their playing days at Melbourne.
We also heard from injured current player Christian Salem who spoke of his recovery from a hamstring injury along with some interesting stories of the teams training program and pre-game meditation ritual.
It was a tight match played in wet conditions and sadly the Bombers snatched victory from the Dees, winning by nine points.
The third and final MFC/MCC Game Day Function will be held on Sunday August 23 as the Demons take on Carlton. Click here for more details.
Norm Smith Oration
Wednesday June 3, 2015
In welcoming members and guests to the fifth Norm Smith Oration, Tim Lane noted the year of this event had special significance, being the centenary year of Norm’s birth and also the 50th year since the incredible mid-season upheaval which saw him sacked as coach of Melbourne and subsequently re-instated.
Before introducing the evening’s guest speakers, Tim reflected on Norm Smith’s football achievements, his success in coaching Melbourne to six premierships and four more as a player, which is why Norm is regarded as a legend of the Melbourne Football Club and of Australian football.
In his toast to football, Gerard Healy spoke of his passion for our indigenous game, the game we all love, at the ground we all love, the MCG. From around the age of 10, Gerard began to realise how important this game was not only to him, but to those around him.
This included Father Oliver, who also happened to be coach of the St Joseph’s under 11 side. He was not interested in Gerard confessing two weeks worth of sins, but more interested in him getting a kick and the team winning – it had been two weeks since either happened!
Gerard told of his boyhood dreams to one day play for St Kilda and his big dream, to play State of Origin for Victoria. Although the former didn’t happen at St Kilda, he did play seven years at Melbourne Football Club and went on to represent Victoria 12 times.
There were a number of influential players Gerard looked up to, including Darrel Baldock, Royce Hart, Peter McKenna and Alex Jesaulenko but perhaps the biggest role model for 10-year-old Gerard was Patty O’Shea. Not a professional footballer, but a 12-year-old who dominated the local kick-to-kick, it was Patty’s ability to kick the prefect torpedo on both feet which influenced and changed Gerard’s daily training routine and also his professional routine.
Gerard spoke of the “magicians” in the game, a rare commodity, only seeing a few each year. He spoke of his admiration for Peter Daicos, the personification of the player he wanted to be as a young boy, the ultimate magician of football of his time. Gerard was honoured to have played with those rare few who had the magic: Gary Ablett Snr, Simon Madden, Garry Wilson and Darren Jarman. Some of today’s magicians in Gerard’s view include Buddy Franklin, Nat Fyfe, Cyril Rioli and Marcus Bontempelli.
Throughout his playing career Gerard’s philosophy was always the same - win it as many times as you can and try to do something clever with it. The fitter you became the more times you got it, the harder you practiced, the closer you got to the magic.
In raising his glass, Gerard gave a toast to the “magicians of football” and to football.
In his response, Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon started by listing two reasons why he shouldn’t be speaking this evening. One was his complete lack of football ability and nous and the second was that he grew up with a robust, larrikin disdain of the MCC members stand and the people who sat in it...thankfully this was followed by rapturous laughter from the audience!
With a self-proclaimed lack of any skills or football ability, Peter recalled many fond memories of his time spent sitting in the outer at the MCG. Pictures of Norm Smith in that trench coat on grand final day, memories of EJ Whitten’s emotional trip around the MCG and Barassi running out for his first premiership as coach.
A passionate Footscray supporter from a young age, Peter reflected on growing up in the Western suburbs, riding his bike to watch the Bulldogs train and cheering the boys on. Although his dad had many cricket stories, there was only one football reference he ever made to the MCG and that was of a Footscray player called Merv Hobbs who had taken one of the greatest marks of all times on the ‘G in the 1961 preliminary final against Melbourne.
A photograph of Merv’s mark was placed on the screens and then a very humble Merv stood to wave to guests from his table.
Peter’s passion for the game was highlighted when he recalled a story from a recent dinner with Western Bulldogs captain Rob Murphy, where both men were moved to confess to the table what they fantasised a twenty-first century Bulldogs premiership might look like. Peter was able to provide a kick-by-kick description of what the last quarter would look like, ending in a 28-point win over Hawthorn!
Rob’s fantasy was, according to Peter, a little more poetic with the Bulldogs song being sung while walking the cup to Footscray Town Hall and finally to Whitten Oval all with a picturesque sun setting in the background.
In closing, Peter reflected on how much a part of his life and the lives of so many people, the MCG is. It is a part of our past and a part of who we are. The MCG is a field which belongs to us all and to which we all belong.
MFC/MCC Game Day Function
Saturday May 16, 2015
The first MFC/MCC Game Day Function for season 2015 was held prior to the Hawthorn v Melbourne match on Saturday May 16.
Our new host for the day, Russell Robertson did an outstanding job replacing our previous host of many years, Stephen Phillips, who sadly passed away earlier this year. A touching tribute was ready by Robbo acknowledging Stephen’s contribution to these functions since their inception.
With nearly 150 members and guests in attendance, the room had a fantastic energy pre-match with some great interviews hosted by Robbo. Former Melbourne players, David Williams, David Flintoff, Steve O’Dwyer and Stephen Newport were in attendance on the day and all got the chance to say a few words.
The theme of the day was the old rivalry enjoyed by the two clubs, Hawthorn and Melbourne throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s and the former players in attendance shared some great stories of their era.
They also entertained those in attendance with talk of what footy was like in their day, noting the many differences in pre-match preparation, training, recovery and of course, the on-field battles and brutal encounters.
We also had Jack Viney address the crowd who were delighted to hear from him, but would much prefer to have seen him out on the ground.
Sadly the Hawks had taken control of the game by half-time but we are all looking forward to the next MFC/MCC Game Day Function on Saturday July 11 as the Demons take on the Bombers.
Comedy @ the 'G
Friday May 1, 2015
The first of this year’s Comedy @ the ‘G functions held in the Hans Ebeling Room was a sold out affair!
Held prior to the Carlton v Collingwood match, members and their guests enjoyed snack food and drinks before being entertained by some of Australia’s top comedians.
Compere and comedian, Ben Lomas kicked off the evening with his laid-back nature and style of comedy keeping the audience engaged and laughing before Monica Dullard took to the stage.
A talented stand-up comedian and whacky librarian from Fawkner, Monica was excited to be performing at the ‘G for MCC members. Always seated in the nose-bleed section high on Level 4 of the Southern Stand, she often wondered ‘how the other half lived’ and enjoyed not getting vertigo on Level 2 of the members reserve!When ex-country football player Troy Carrington – aka Damian Callinan – took to the stage guests were wondering what this inarticulate country boy would have to say. When recounting stories of his football hey-day and pre-season bonding activities, Troy revealed a much more culturally sensitive persona particularly when talking of a post-season footy trip to Prague to follow the Mozart trail! The laughs kept coming when Troy told of the effectiveness of referencing Shakespeare to put your opponent off during a match. Whoever thought Shakespeare could be referenced 'on thy football field'!
Bookings for our next Comedy @ the G event, to be held on July 31, will open on June 16.
Tickets are $50, inclusive of pre-game snack food and drinks, a reserved seat on Level 2 and a great night of comedy!
Young Members' Anzac Ball
Thursday April 23, 2015
Another Young Members’ Anzac Ball full of fabulous food and great entertainment was held in the Members Dining Room.
Nearly 400 members and guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, beverages and a packed dance floor as they celebrated the ninth Young Members’ Anzac Ball, this year hosted by Peter Lazer.
The highlight of the evening was Breanna Janson, a recipient of the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac prize for her award-winning poem.
A year 12 student from Nagle College in Bairnsdale, Breanna captivated the audience as she delivered a powerful and emotional poem which she had dedicated to her late great-grandfather.
With great poise, Breanna delivered the poem which captured the story of a young man who went to war, endured and witnessed many atrocities, to finally returned home and begin his life again.
The audience was both respectful and moved by her words and awarded her a round of applause at the conclusion of her address.
The remainder of the evening was full of fun, dancing and plenty of use of the selfie frame!
Don’t miss out on the next huge Young Members event to be held on Friday October 23.