View Full Version : Interview With Mark Hunter

The Coon Dog
20-05-2010, 11:33 PM
Mark Hunter
130 Games – 10 Goals


TCD: Hi Mark & thanks for your time.

MH: You’re welcome.

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

I lived in Kensington until I was 3, then moved to Glenroy until I was 7 or 8 & then moved to Melton.

Who did you barrack for as a kid?

Hawthorn, I used to love Dermie & Peter Crimmins & Peter Knights.

Who did you play your junior football with?

I played for 1 year with Melton South Panthers & then joined the Melton Bloods who played in the Riddell League & later the Ballarat League.

You started off at Geelong, didn’t you?

Yes, Melton was in Geelong’s zone so I went down there & played a year in the under 19’s who were coached by Ian Nankervis. The following year I played a handful of reserve games, but missed plenty with a crook back. I came back for the last 2 games of the season, but could hardly run. I was delisted at the end of that season.

So how did you get down the Bulldogs?

After Geelong I went back to Melton & Gordon Casey who was coaching there contacted the Bulldogs who then invited me down to do a pre season in 1988.

You must have impressed as you were selected in round 1 that season.

I guess so, we played Sydney at VFL Park & I started on the bench with Brenton Vilcins. I came on 23 minutes into the second quarter & lined up on Bernard Toohey.

You even kicked a goal that day.

Yes, I soccered one through from about a metre out in the third quarter.

Who were some of the better players you played with at the Bulldogs?

• Scott Wynd – Intelligent as a ruckman & that’s saying something, but honestly he was just fantastic, filled the hole week in week out & never complained. Often played severely injured too.
• Chris Grant – In a time when we often had a mediocre forward line he held it all together.
• Peter Foster – Particularly before his broken leg. Centre Half Back & just threw himself backwards, with little or no regard to oncoming traffic. He lost a yard after his broken leg & was never the same player.

What about some of your opponents?

• Greg Williams – You had to be right on him all the time. Give him a split second & he had the ball out to Bradley running past. Won his own footy too.
• The Krakouer Brothers – Jim was harder to play on, Phil was the more mercurial
• Peter Daicos – Just made the most of every opportunity. You could keep him to a few possessions, but he’d make them count.
• Paul Kelly & Robert Harvey – Just their ability to run all day. Fantastic work rate the both of them.

Who were your coaches at the Bulldogs & what can you tell me about them?

• Mick Malthouse – I was quite young when Mick coached me, but I would have run through a brick wall for him. He was very unforgiving. Had a look in his eye.
• Terry Wheeler – Completely different to Mick. Very stats driven & everyone knew what was expected of them. Years ahead of his time (at this point I say it’s amazing how often those exact words are brought up), had players days mapped out for them. Believed we should have been full time in an era where most of us held down a job.
• Alan Joyce – A good man! I really liked him. Less tactical but expected you do go flat out 1 on 1 & give 100%. Continually wrote the word ‘Honesty’ up on the board, saying if you gave that, the results would take care of themselves.
• Terry Wallace – Plough took over late on in my final year, so I really couldn’t comment.

During your time, both you & Crofty seemed plagued by hamstring injuries. How many games do you estimate you missed & was there an underlying cause?

Gee, I’d reckon about 70-80 games, but there was no reason at all which was particularly frustrating.

Is there something you look back on & still get a laugh out of today?

There was one game under Wheels when he was addressing us at half time. Anyhow he was continually distracted by some bloke in the rooms he obviously didn’t know & this bloke kept catching his eye. You could see it was affecting Wheels so much so that he stopped what he was doing & walked over to this bloke, thrust out his hand & said ‘I’m Terry Wheeler’. This bloke shakes Wheels’ hand & says ‘Col Kelly from Ballarat, pleased to meet you’.

He’d just taken it upon himself to walk into the rooms & sat in a vacant seat. Wheels had had enough by this time & booms out ‘Spider (Peter Welsh), get this effing bloke out of here now’!

Did you do the parachute jump?

Yes. I can honestly say I did, but there were many times when I was certain I wasn’t going to.

We were all out at Pakenham with the instructor getting taught what to do & how to do it. Anyhow there were 2 blokes about to jump from a plane so the instructor got us to watch. Unfortunately one of the blokes chute’s failed to open & he crashed to his death about 40 metres away from us. It was awful. I can still see his goggles filled with blood just lying there.

That would have been it for me, now way I would have jumped after seeing that.

Yup, I had decided to join Hawk & not do it, but on the day we were watching from Williamston after catching the cowards bus back from point Cook & Keenan Reynolds was one of the first to jump & hollered & whooped so much I said to Hawk, ‘we’re doing this’. So we drove back to Point Cook & got the last plane with Fozzie & Libba. A fog had descended so our plane was delayed by an hour & during that time Hawk had his chute checked every few minutes by the instructor & kept kissing pictures of his kids.

I got the seat near the door, only there was no door! It was an empty space & I remember hearing someone say 1 minute to jump & then counting down every 10 seconds. I was the first one out & completely froze & ended up being thrown out!

You retired at the end of 1996, what did you do after footy?

I played at Melton for 2 years & then spent a year under Andrew Bews as an Assistant Coach at Williamstown in 1999. I was the runner for 2 years at the Western Bulldogs in 2006 & 2007.

Is it true that you’re a professional punter these days?

No, I wouldn’t say that. I’m involved in the media on Sydney radio & the Sport 927 website & provide horse racing tips via a 1900 service. I also have a successful greyhound at stud.

How did you first get into the horse racing?

My first sponsor at the club was David Price who loved it. Nigel Kellett & I would teach at the local Primary Schools for about 3 days a week & spend the other 2 days with David learning. He’s now in Hong Kong & makes his living punting on the horses.

Do you still follow the Doggies?

Yes, but I can only really get to night games. My son Lachlan plays for Williamstown under 16’s in the WRFL & his school St. Kevin’s (with Mitch Wallis & Tom Liberatore), so he either plays on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

Speaking of Lachlan, does he enjoy his time at the Whitten Oval?

Yes, he loves it. The Bulldogs have a great scheme for sons of former players & Lachy thoroughly enjoys it.

Does he become eligible for the 2011 draft?

I’m not too sure to be honest. He’s only 15 & was born in December, so it may be a year later.

Any other children Mark?

Yes, 2 daughters, Lauren who’s 16 & Jemma, who’s 9.

I had a chat with your wife Colleen this afternoon, she certainly knows her footy.

Yes, 2 of her nephews play in the AFL. Mark (Ess) & Jared (Syd) McVeigh.

Just out of curiosity, how did you & Colleen meet?

Through Teacher’s College way back when. We’ve been married since 1991.

Thanks for your time Mark. It was a pleasure.

You’re welcome.

21-05-2010, 06:56 AM
Great interview TCD:)

21-05-2010, 07:50 AM
Great work TCD! I was only young when he played but I did have his number 10 on my back.
From memory the ball was always in safe hands when he had it. You can only imagine how good he, croft and kretiuk and even southern would've been without the injuries.

21-05-2010, 08:02 AM
First one for a while CD... You've been a bit slack. ;)

Really good read and he had some great things to say. My mate from the golf club gets his tips via his 1800 service and seems to go pretty well.

21-05-2010, 09:10 AM
Thank you for a great read, one of the more funny ones with the stories of jumping out of the plane and the bloke in the dressing rooms.

21-05-2010, 12:13 PM
Great stuff thanks Coon Dog

21-05-2010, 02:19 PM
Really enjoyed that read TCD. Brought back some good memories.

way out west
21-05-2010, 02:38 PM
Good work TCD

21-05-2010, 06:20 PM
Well done TCD.
Keep them coming.

25-05-2010, 11:58 AM
Great read CD, really enjoy these trips down memory lane! Can't wait to see Kenny's boy running around in the tri colors, from all reports he is a gun!!

Magic Murph!
29-05-2010, 08:45 PM
Great interview Coon Dog - I enjoyed watching Mark go about his footy and that reminder about Crofty and his hammy's - I really remember them missing weeks and weeks of footy between them!

The Dogs Bollocks
22-06-2010, 10:03 PM
Quite a good read that one. Love the parachute story - still don't know how he jumped after seeing a guy fall to his death.

Thanks TCD.