View Full Version : Interview With Barry Standfield

The Coon Dog
22-06-2009, 12:23 PM
Western Bulldogs 1990-1996, 98 games - 38 goals
Adelaide 1997, 13 games - 23 goals


TCD: Hi Barry & thanks for your time.

BS: You're welcome.

Let's start at the start, where did you grow up?

On a dairy farm at Fish Creek in South Gippsland.

Who did you barrack for as a kid?

Most of my family supported Collingwood, so I followed them until I was about 12, then I switched to Footscray because Gary Walpole who was also from Fish Creek went down there.

Who did you start your footy career with?

Fish Creek in the Alberton League. As a 10 year old I played in the under 14's. It was hard to get a kick back then, only coming on for a quarter a game, so we used to double up & play against kids our own age at half time of the seniors.

What were Fish Creek called?

Funny, a bit of a mixture. The Fish Creek Kangaroos play in the old South Melbourne jumpers & sing the Collingwood theme song.

How did you come to the attention of Footscray?

Living in Gippsland I was zoned to Footscray. During the mid 1980's I played representative football & came to the attention of Garry O'Sullivan & Garry Merrington as I made the Victorian Schoolboy's Team one year. I played an under 19's game in 1986.

So, did you come down to Melbourne in 1987?

No, my parents wanted me to finish school first, so I played 7 games that year in the under 19's under permit. My older brother had moved to Melbourne & was studying at F.I.T. so I moved in with him in 1988.

Was it a huge change moving to Melbourne?

Yes, but as well as playing under 19's & reserves I also went to University studying Applied Science & Secondary Education & later taught PE & Environmental Studies at St. John's in Thornbury & Ellinbank Secondary College in West Meadows.

Were you close to getting a senior game in those 2 years?

I played a night series match midweek out at Waverley against Carlton.

With the events unfolding as they did after the 1989 season your career might have finished before it really began.

Yes, I still have a copy of the document all players were provided with outlining the details of the process of the merger with Fitzroy. I remember Stephen MacPherson was particularly vocal about things when the players first met with Peter Gordon at his King Street office.

Now, everyone remembers round 1, 1990 as Chris Grant debuted in that game. You also debuted too, didn't you?

Yes, I started in the back pocket on Rod Owen. I spent about 10 minutes on Tony Lockett at one stage, but fortunately for me the ball didn't come down our end. We lost by about 10 goals.

You only played 5 games that season.

I did. We played Collingwood at Victoria Park on a Saturday in round 4 & then buttered up against Carlton at Princes Park in round 5 just 4 days later on a Wednesday. It was an ANZAC Day match that was played mid week, before the Collingwood v Essendon matches we see today. I broke my leg in a marking clash & a scuffle developed right on top of me. I knew my leg was broken & I just wanted everyone to get off me.

To rub salt into the wounds a Carlton supporter threw a can of coke at me & it hit me in the head. As I was in the rooms I heard this enormous crash. It was windy & a flagpole above the stand had snapped & crashed down onto some spectators.

What happened in 1991 as you again only played 5 games?

I played in round 1 against Collingwood. We got beaten by 12 goals & I was dropped. In the reserves the following week I hurt my arm & missed 5 games & spent most of the season in the reserves. I got back into the seniors for the last 4 games that season.

Going back to Princes Park, you probably played one of the best games of your career there against Carlton in 1993.

Yes, early on Scott Wynd copped a knee to the back of the head from the Honourable Justin Madden & started convulsing on the field. I had started at CHB & got thrown into the ruck. It would have thrown Carlto's planning out a bit as they would not have been expecting me to ruck.

How come you only played 2 games in 1996?

I hurt my achilles in round 2 & then tore it at training on the following Thursday. I needed an operation & my season was over. Not great timing as I was out of contract at the end of 1996.

So, how did you end up at Adelaide (Traded for picks 32 - Jim Plunkett & 47 - Brett Montgomery).

They were the only club to offer me a contract (the Bulldogs never offered me one) & it felt it was worth pursuing as I was looking at other things outside of football & with the whole of South Australia behind them I felt there may well be opportunities.

I played a fair bit of the 1997 season. I missed a few games due to my other achilles & was an emergency throughout the finals that year, but saw a huge gulf between the facilities of Adelaide & the Western Bulldogs.

I was fortunate in that I got involved in training/retraining unemployed people prior to Traineeships, but saw how things were headed & started my own training organisation which I still do now in Gippsland.

What happened in 1998?

Injured again! Did my achilles & tore the hamstring off the bone, so called it quits.

Who were some of the better players you played alongside?

* Scott Wynd - a great tap ruckman, unstoppable in his Brownlow year, a great leader too.

* Chris Grant - I played my first game when Granty played his. It was a disgrace he was not the Brownlow Medalist in 1997. Anyone who knew him knew just how fair he was.

* Scott West - he had remarkable endurance & could just run all day, just knew where to go to get the ball. Should have been another Brownlow winner.

* Doug Hawkins - past his best as I was starting out, but just an absolute legend. He was Footscray there for a while.

What about some players form other clubs?

* Tony Lockett - I usually played on Stewie Loewe, but just saw how good Lockett was, massive bloke, strong & deceptively quick off the mark.

* Garry Ablett - Fortunately I usually stood Barry Stoneham or Bill Brownless, but Ablett was just an absolute freak. As good as you'll ever see & could play anywhere.

* Wayne Carey - a Champion player & North's game plan was tailored around him & nearly every forward entry went through him.

* Stephen Kernahan - a terrific player & leader. Captained his club for about 250 games. Strong hands.

Who were your coaches & what can you tell us?

* Mick Malthouse - I didn't have a lot to do with him, but as a youngster starting out he was very intimidating.

* Terry Wheeler - a really good coach & was ahead of his time with how he saw the game. Had multiple footballs going at training, got in assistants, a psychologist & dietitian, had us training during the day & saw footballers going full time before anyone else.

* Alan Joyce - the opposite to Wheels in some ways. Was a Premiership coach at Hawthorn so has plenty of respect, but at training we'd just have one footy & it was high intensity just trying to get it.

* Terry Wallace - I was injured & actually spent a fair bit of time in the coaches box. Very big on his match ups & always looked to use them to exploit the opposition.

* Malcolm Blight - he was the best coach I had & the worst coach I had. Cold see game trends before others even thought of them but could do his nana & go off tap over something minor.

What have you done since you retired from the AFL?

Mainly played & coached in Gippsland. I'm in my third stint as a player at Fish Creek (2nd stint as coach), had stints as player/coach at Leongatha & Korumburra-Bena.

I had actually retired in 2007, but a mate of mine in President of Fish Creek & he talked me into pulling on the boots again. The club was struggling for numbers, so you just help out where you can.

What the story on the home front?

Living just outside Leongatha with my wife of 13 years, Emily. We have 4 children, 3 girls & a boy, Amber (9), Cobie (7), Jemma (5) & Archie (17 months). It's full on with sports of all sorts. As well as my footy the kids are right into gymnastics, swimming, netball & little athletics.

Do they have an interest in the AFL?

Yes, all support the Bulldogs. Amber was a Crow early on.

Do you still take an interest in the AFL yourself?

Yes, thought it's hard to get to Melbourne & see many games. I still continue to be a member & Simon Atkins has got me to join the past players.

Thanks for your time Barry, very much appreciated.

22-06-2009, 01:07 PM
Thank you once more TCD. 98 games, just missed the 100 for future father son.

Always thought Barry had a lot of potential and showed that potential in many games. (ala the great game he played against Carlton that you mentioned). Injuries robbed him from achieving more than he did. I always enjoyed watching him play.

22-06-2009, 01:24 PM
Another ripping interview, thanks TCD.

A real honest, hard working defender - they don't quite make them like that anymore.

Great to hear that his family are all Doggies supporters.

Rocket Science
22-06-2009, 02:20 PM
Much obliged TCD, another pearler.

Here's a couple of pics.

http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/6551/fishciy.jpg http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/9647/fish2k.jpg

Also came across a 2008 article about Barry on the AFL-SAMOA page of all places, which expands upon his post-AFL career exploits in Gippsland.

An old Dog happy to be up the Creek (http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=2-3651-0-0-0&sID=35687&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=5580857&sectionID=35687)

THE opportunity to play with kids half his age was only part of the lure for Fish Creek's returning "Mr Football", Barry Standfield.

Standfield, 38, was "comfortably retired", having last coached Korumburra in 2006, before being lured back to the game as the Alberton league's Kangaroos searched for an on-field leader.

A two-time Fish Creek premiership player in 2001-02 after his AFL days had finished, Standfield said his former team had been struggling for numbers and survival.

"I had no intention to play again. It has just happened by chance," he said.

Eight weeks into the most controversial Alberton season in recent times, Fish Creek is nicely placed to help shape and maybe play finals after some encouraging early wins.

Standfield said the team had started slowly, which was always going to happen, with many players not committing to training until autumn.

"Getting players to training has been one of our problems," he said.

"We are only a small town and the players are scattered far and wide."

He said Saturdays were a great social day with families congregating at the football club and dozens of youngsters running around in the social facilities afterwards.

"It's great for everybody," he said.

Having played more than 100 games at AFL level, the majority at the Western Bulldogs before an injury-interrupted stint with Adelaide, Standfield proved an outstanding athletic acquisition at Fish Creek when he rejoined the club in 2001 and played in the second and third of the club's three consecutive premierships.

But now he is happy to lob in the 50m arc and wait for the ball to come to him. He is particularly pleased to promote the best young kids in the town, including 16-year-old Lauchie Pratt and 17-year-olds Shaun Ellicott, Lauchie Park, Jake Staley and Brett Adams.

He said they were far more communicative than he was at the same age and added spirit, skill and vitality to an improving team.

Before leaving the country, Standfield had first played for the club as a 15-year-old and was a teammate of young Jake's father, Jack, one of the champion players at Fish Creek in the 1980s and '90s.

"It's nice to be in familiar territory with familiar faces around me," he said.

"My chairman of selectors, for example, is a mate I grew up with in Andrew Livingstone."

Asked about the controversy with several Alberton teams, including Yarram, having withdrawn or threatening to withdraw from matches against the powerful Wonthaggi, Standfield said it was important to remember football was a sport first and foremost, and integral to the social fabric of towns, big and small.

"I don't know if not playing footy was the thing to do," he said.

"At the same time, small towns and settlements of 200 and 300 like us can't compete against teams of 9000-10,000 people like Wonthaggi.

"Nothing against Wonthaggi Football Club. They run it really well.

"But I'd hate to see three or four clubs fall over and young people miss out on footy down the track, as a result of the inequality of the clubs, particularly at junior levels."

THE father-of-four played 98 games with the Bulldogs in the 1990s and had 13 more with Adelaide in 1997 in a decade of big-time football.

He was an emergency through the 1997 finals campaign, which saw Adelaide win its first premiership.

He said returning home to Fish Creek was always one of his ambitions as it helped him to give him a start in football. Seeing the kids improve on the track is among his greatest satisfaction.

But he would like to see more come to training. From farmers to school teachers to labourers, he has a cross-section of workers who have work commitments or are simply too far away to make it to training more than once a week.

"We're a farming community and everyone is scattered," he says.

"We can be competitive. The biggest problem with our slow start was that we simply hadn't done enough work early. But we're starting to improve now."

23-06-2009, 01:15 AM
Interested to know pre-season games can be counted towards life membership wondering if you could argue the same for father son. Great interview CD loved the big fish

23-06-2009, 05:51 PM
Great read again TCD.

Remember listening to Fish being interviewed, at the North breakfast, prior to the "97" Grand final and there was no doubt Adelaide had no changes.
Fish was three parts to the wind.

05-07-2009, 07:15 PM
Thanks TCD that was a great interview. Horse (our nickname for him) was one of my favorite players (and my brothers favorite player) too actually. Pity he so injury prone.

04-05-2014, 01:34 PM
Saw him at Etihad v the Crows, he was sitting with a group including Jeff Geischen. He was ready with a handshake and an open face. Had his kids there with Bulldogs gear on. The boy takes after the mother I would say.

04-05-2014, 02:18 PM
He certainly would help fix our second ruck issue.

07-05-2014, 10:12 PM
Very much remember that '93 game at Princes Park. Remember having the binoculars on Scotty after Madden got him in front of the Heatley Stand. There was grave fears for him at the time. It was only the first quarter and there was no recognized second ruck in the team. Next thing Barry was thrown into the fray and from memory got best on ground.

The highlight for me was that after the game i was about to go into the rooms. Peter Welsh, who i think was chairman of selectors at the time was standing in front of the race. A couple of Carlton supporters were walking past about 10 meters away and one yelled out 'Footscray's s***', to which Welshey replied 'Oh F*** Off'... :D

Remi Moses
08-05-2014, 04:11 AM
Remember him kicking 5 goals at Optus against us in 97!
I think we were so conscious of Modra he got off the leash.

Remi Moses
08-05-2014, 04:13 AM
Saw him at Etihad v the Crows, he was sitting with a group including Jeff Geischen. He was ready with a handshake and an open face. Had his kids there with Bulldogs gear on. The boy takes after the mother I would say.

Saw him also . What's the Giesch connection with Barry?
I think unleash the Giesch ( tiger motto when he was appointed) was from Mofra.

08-05-2014, 08:53 AM
Saw him also . What's the Giesch connection with Barry?
I think unleash the Giesch ( tiger motto when he was appointed) was from Mofra.

Not sure where the Giesch was born, but we recruited him from the LaTrobe Valley and Barry is from Fish Creek.

08-05-2014, 11:19 AM
The Goose is from Maffra.

03-06-2015, 07:55 PM
Yes. a lovely interview. Barry battled manfully against injuries to construct a very worthwhile career. Who knows what he would have achieved if fate had not been so cruel. There are plenty around who have wasted their talent. I'm sure Barry has no regrets as he gave his all to overcome setbacks which takes a lot of mental toughness.