Cities old boys recall glory days ahead of Magpies clash
NOTHING was more important to Tony Collins, Frank Saunders and Ken Meehan than wearing the royal blue jersey of Roma Cities with pride when they played.
With the club preparing to honour the past at the Old Boys Day against the Mitchell Magpies on Sunday, the trio of local legends reflected on their days as Gladiators in the 1980s and ’90s.
Collins, who was known as the ‘Emperor of Cities Oval’ while he played at fullback and five-eighth in three premierships, said the club’s rivalry with the now defunct Wattles was legendary.
“The one thing I find hard about today’s competition is not having that fierce rival,” he said.
“You always hated them during the week you played, but it was only on the field.”
“It didn’t matter if we were coming last or second-last on the ladder – when Cities and Wattles played it was the match of the day,” added Saunders.
“It’s really sad Wattles is not part of the competition anymore, because that rivalry helped create the identity of the club.”
Even after more than 20 years, all three agreed the current crop of Gladiators had kept the spirit of the club alive, thanks to their respect for the legends who came before them.
“When Frank was coach (of Cities A-grade), he would often get the old boys to hand out the jerseys to the players,” Collins said.
“The young fellas have respect for the jersey – when I come out it’s just like old times.”
Cities will look to extend their lead on top of the ladder with a win. Matches start from 11am, with ex-players getting in free if they wear their old jersey.