Hamish McLachlan interviews Luke Beveridge Part1
MARK Robinson produced a superb Q&A with Luke Beveridge a month or so ago. It went to print after Luke and I had spoken. With the risk of ďdouble Luke-ingĒ you as readers, I thought one of the most intriguing men in football was worth reading about, and hearing from, again.
We spoke for two hours as part of the Wolf Blass Series. About his parents, what sport means to him, Trevor Barker, hate mail, dealing with the pressures of coaching, a special watch, running towards the fire, and the moment of the 2016 AFL Grand Final.
HM: The third of four kids in a sports mad family. How were your early days spent?
LB: It was filled with sport. Mum would be at home bringing up four kids while Dad was out involved with footy, or in sales. It was always sport in the street, sport in the driveway, all day every day. Sport, and more sport.
HM: Your grandfather Jack won four flags with the Pies, your dad coached you in football, your brother is an exceptional golfer, and your mother almost dived for Australia.
LB: Thatís right Ö and I reckon my sister, Cath, couldíve played footy if they had womenís footy back then.
HM: What has sport taught you?
LB: I think because it was in our face from the get-go, we all developed a passion for a sport early, and mine was for Australian rules. I think sport teaches you life lessons, whether it be about winning and losing, or success and failure, and learning to deal with them in the right way.
HM: You grew up in East Bentleigh and youíve never really moved. What do you love about it?
LB: I love how close we are as a family to people in the suburb. I think a lot of people want to escape their upbringing and move elsewhere, but Iíve never had the desire to do that. I have an affection for the people in the area. I love the intimacy, and I love knowing those that I live nearby.
HM: Early on in your career you were playing your football at St. Peters. Your mother was involved there for 50-odd years Ö thatís a staggering commitment.
LB: Mum was the club secretary there for a long, long time. You and I both know the impact volunteers can have on footy clubs, particularly at junior level. Theyíre just critical, and the impact she had on young families through her work as a volunteer for such a long period of time is something Iím very proud of. Dad coached junior footy there for a long time as well, but there comes a time where that needs to stop!
HM: He coached you. Was he the type of father that made it easier for his son, or tougher?
LB: He definitely didnít make it harder for me. There was a bit of fire and brimstone about the old man, even coaching the U/11ís! He used to give rousing speeches to nine year olds, and he would often try to poach kids from other sides. He was a bit underhanded in the way he coached his U/11 sides, but it worked for us. We didnít lose a game for three years.
HM: Thereís something about Beveridges and coaching Ö
LB: We didnít lose our first game until round 3 in the U/12s against Noble Park. We lost by three points, and it was the first time Iíd ever lost a game of footy! We were all crying after the game because it was such a foreign feeling.
HM: Your father had a huge hand in putting together the 1997 list for St Kilda that made the grand final. That was his list in a lot of ways.
LB: Yeah, most of it. I like to think that I wasnít one of them! I like to think that Stan (Alves) was the one that wanted me to come to the club, which I think was the case. There was some great young talent, some great people, and a very productive playing group. I thought 1998 was our year. We were on top of the ladder about two-thirds of the way through the year, but unfortunately it fell by the wayside.
HM: Flags are hard to win. As a kid, from St. Peters to St. Bedes. Were you a house captain?
LB: I was a house vice-captain.
HM: Always a leader of men?
LB: I captained some football teams, but I didnít go out of my way to be a leader. Leadership manifests in so many different ways, but I think thatís a question that others would probably need to answer.
HM: What sort of a student were you?
LB: At primary school level I was OK, but secondary school not so much, actually. I always wanted to be a footballer, and as a result, as a student, I never did enough. I studied my undergrad (degree) as a 30-year-old, and I was a good student then. I did overs, maybe to make up for doing unders at school.
''Dogs are Talking''- The Angels