I arrived at Marcellin in 1953, having come from OLGC, Deepdene, and my earliest memories of football were of kicking the ball from end to end in the asphalt yard, with the older boys at one end and the younger boys at the other. This was a relatively small playground because, as the pupil numbers grew rapidly in the early 1950’s, it was necessary to add new classrooms and a shelter shed, thus reducing the outdoor play areas. There were also some cricket pitches and nets installed on one side of this yard.
This meant that when we wanted to train in football gear and boots, we had to travel to ovals, particularly ‘Rathmines Road’, being the closest grassed oval to the school.
Another oval I can remember frequently using was the Anderson Road park in Hawthorn East, this being readily accessible by the Burke Road tram. There was also a park in Burke Road, South Camberwell (Howard Dawson Reserve?), often used for Marcellin home matches on Saturday mornings.
We would often play football in the mid-1950’s against our sister Marist College in East Brunswick, which would involve a trip to Coburg.
We didn't have a lot of success in the early days, partly because of a lack of numbers, the difficulty of getting to training venues, and the lack of tradition compared with other established schools such as those in the Associated Catholic Colleges, including De La Salle, Parade, St Kilda CBC and St Kevin’s College.
One event that really stood out, however, was the ‘Lightning Premiership’, a knockout competition at Glenferrie Oval. Our U14 Team were certainly not favourites, but we managed to win each game, beating the fancied St John’s Marist College Hawthorn in the final, to take out the trophy. St John’s was captained by Des Meagher, who later went on to be a Premiership player with Hawthorn.
Every year, we would travel in the bus to play Assumption College in Kilmore; always a tough encounter. The matches would always be followed by a meal in the College dining room, and each time this consisted of meat pies, mashed potatoes and peas.
I was lucky enough to be part of the 1st XVIII team to beat Assumption in the late 1950’s. There was great excitement on the bus that day returning to Melbourne.
Each week one of the Brothers would post the results of the weekend’s football matches, including goal scorers, best players, etc. on a noticeboard in the school quadrangle.
Some of the boys I remember playing football with in the 1950’s and the early 1960’s include Len Jerrums, Michael Scauble, Gary Morse, Brian Gartner, Geoff Beattie, Don Hegarty, Peter Wood, Terry Buckley, Peter Merrigan and Brian Hartnett.
Overall I think we have a lot to thank the Brothers for during that early period of development of football at Marcellin. They did a great job especially considering the lack of space and facilities, and the relatively small number of students that they had to pick from. Just contrast this with the facilities and size of the current school at Bulleen.