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  1. #1
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    I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

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    Footscray is a very different place to the suburb that was Kelvin Templeton's entree to a bigger world. Still, for a 16-year-old from tiny Tyers, near Traralgon, life in the inner west in the mid-1970s could still be colourful.


    Templeton had lived with host families but by 18 was readying himself for the leap to independence. For a few months he was between digs, struggling to find anywhere, so the club organised him a bed at a refugee centre in Maribyrnong.


    "I shared a room with two other guys who didn't speak English," he recalls, unsure where in eastern Europe his temporary roommates hailed from. Templeton imagines the outcry if such accommodation measures were taken by an AFL club today. "But somehow it didn't seem to be much of a big deal."


    When finally he got his own place, it was a one-bedroom flat in an apartment block that felt like it was literally on the railway tracks at Sunshine. Back in Melbourne now after more than 20 years living interstate and overseas, Templeton and daughters Kirby and Kiki share an apartment in a St Kilda Rd building in which Lleyton Hewitt owns the penthouse. He laughs to think of that humble first place he called home. "We worked our way up from there."


    Life's knack for full-circle happenings means that when he meets 20-year-old Kirby at Victoria University they can discuss over lunch what the campus was like when he studied sports science there as a 17-year-old. He finished school as he'd started early, because the Tyers primary needed one more child to qualify for a second teacher.


    Kirby's sister, 16-year-old Kiki, is Ethiopian. Templeton loves that modern Footscray blends East Africa into Vietnam with the turning of a corner. "It's fabulous, a far more interesting place than it was then."


    His girls are used to being surrounded by a multitude of cultures. For more than a decade they lived in Abu Dhabi, sharing classrooms with expats and locals alike. At times Kirby joined her Arab classmates fasting for Ramadan, "just to understand what the kids go through", Templeton says.


    "They met lots of Arab people over there and understood that generally they're pretty much like everyone - they want a safer life, a better life for their kids."


    It says much of the full life he's led since an ailing body ended his football playing days at 29, that Brownlow and Coleman Medals are merely bullet points on a full CV. He ran a group of medical centres owned by what has morphed into BUPA, did an MBA at Wharton (an Ivy League business school in Pennsylvania), was the Sydney Swans' chief executive through the club's rise from basket case to AFL power, and through consultancy company Templeton Galt - formed in partnership with former Swans chairman, the late Graeme Galt - established a foothold in the United Arab Emirates that further broadened his family's horizons.


    His first client was Sheikh Mansour, owner of Manchester City; a three-month contract turned into a 10-year stay. At times they worked solely for Arab companies, "learning how they think about deals, how they structure them, the tactics they use". Now his client base incudes Arab businesses and western companies seeking assistance negotiating with them.


    It's a long way from long bombs to the goalsquare with the wind at Western Oval, but so is Templeton. As the banner guest at next month's annual Western Bulldogs trainers' function, he'll be called upon to do something he rarely does reminisce about his playing days. "I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL," he says, laughing that it's not a great topic of conversation in the Middle East.


    Kirby is an avid Swan and sees more games than her father, who likes the insight of On The Couch, hosted by old mate Gerard Healy, but doesn't find the weekly lashings of pre-and-post-game analysis terribly enlightening. "It takes a lot of space, fills a lot of time." The big change he's noticed since being back in Melbourne is that football now sits firmly entrenched in the entertainment sphere.


    Pushed for what stands out from his playing days, he says kicking 118 goals as a 21-year-old in 1978 was exciting. "They're fun memories that faded at the end as a result of an accumulation of an incredible number of injuries and surgery," he says of three seasons at Melbourne after nine with the Dogs.


    If ever his mind drifts to that time, it's while he's exercising. He hasn't been able to run for 30 years, but the discipline of a regimen that put him ahead of the pack in terms of physical and mental preparation has stayed with him. He cycles and works out, often with Kirby.


    He's looking forward to seeing old teammates like Ross Abbey and Allan Stoneham next month, and Ron Simmons, "an incredibly fit, tough guy" he trained with every summer - running over fences, through paddocks and sand, up hills, and undertaking gruelling weight training out on the ground.


    "We came up with the craziest training regimes, a weights exercise you'd continue basically until complete and utter exhaustion. We thought they were fun. Not surprisingly, we never recruited anyone else who'd join us. If anyone did, they only came once." At 58 he is a billboard for the benefits of regular toil - lean, barrel-chested and strong.


    He's proudest from his eight years with the Swans of the advances made in player welfare, the work done to make young men not just better footballers but better people. A club nobody wanted to go to was soon attracting stars with the help of its players' families, who happily spruiked its benefits.


    Templeton sees in Hawthorn and Sydney confirmation that a clear and strong club spirit breeds success. "There's a set of expectations that you learn about pretty quickly, and that's how you behave." He hears positive noises about the Bulldogs, but knows change doesn't come easily.


    "Our theme song when I was there had a line in it, 'We'll come up smiling, whether we win or lose.' It's not in there now and it shouldn't have been at the time. These things are important."


    He hasn't seen the Dogs play this season, but has read of the positive signs. There's a bit of each club he served in him, and a soft spot for the Bulldogs. Templeton imagines what an end to the game's longest premiership drought would mean for Melbourne's west. "I'd love them to do that ... but it's a hell of a climb."


    Eight years ago, soon after his wife and daughters had moved permanently to Abu Dhabi, Kerry Templeton had a heart attack. "She just died suddenly with no indication."


    He is an avid reader, theatre and movie goer, but where football once filled his weekends, now he spends his free time being a father. "I just love being with my girls, we do lots of stuff together."
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  3. #2
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    Thanks for posting mate. Great read.

  4. #3
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    Good article.
    "Who are you, and how did you get in here?"
    I'm a locksmith...and...I'm a locksmith "

  5. #4
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    What A great player KT was. Two Colemans and a Brownlow by the time he was 23 and then bang he was gone. He was so much better than Wayne Carey.


    Appreciate the best things in life kids because they can so easily be taken away.
    AFLW Premiers 2018

    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.
    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed.
    And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. "
    "He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car. "


    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

  6. #5
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    I will be going to the Trainers night just to hear him speak.

    http://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/cl...-bulldog-breed
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  7. #6
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    I will be going to the Trainers night just to hear him speak.

    http://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/cl...-bulldog-breed
    Me too
    One of the great moments in life is the sense of space and time you feel between taking a hanger and touching back down.

  8. #7
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    Looking forward to a report from you both.
    www.bulldogtragician.com A blog about being a lifelong fan of the Dogs and our quixotic attempt to replicate 1954. AND WE DID
    Author of "The Mighty West: the Bulldogs journey from daydream believers to premiership heroes"
    Twitter @bulldogstragic

  9. #8
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    Re: I've been disconnected to some degree from AFL - Kelvin Templeton

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    I will be going to the Trainers night just to hear him speak.

    http://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/cl...-bulldog-breed
    Quote Originally Posted by 1eyedog View Post
    Me too
    Me three!
    AFLW Premiers 2018

    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.
    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed.
    And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. "
    "He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car. "


    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

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