Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : May 18, 2016 Edition Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2016 - PAGE 13
4 Industrial Way,
Phone: 0400 214 446
Fax: 5952 5690
Island Secure Storage
on reaching the mark of 70 years
Factory 1/110 Dunsmore Rd, Cowes
'when quality counts'
Reglazing Showers Mirrors
Reglazing Showers Mirrors
Congratulates PIFCNC on 70 years
of entertainment and for the
sporting opportunities for our
community, young and all
Extended tours available
Fountain Gate every Thursday
San Remo - Cowes every Friday
Phone 5952 1042 Mobile 0417 360 370
Mobile 0419 104 365
Congratulations for supporting
the adults and youth in our
community for 70 years.
Carn the Island!
PROOF TO ANNABEL
6.30pm for 7pm
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Venue: Newhaven College, Newhaven
2 course meal $60
Tickets available at the club or phone
5952 2523. Bookings essential.
Invitation to all past and
present players, committee,
officials and supporters
available on bookings
Phone 5952 2523
Bulldogs through and through
ONE name that remains syn-
onymous with the Phillip Island
Football Club is that of the Dixon
This association was forged
well before the present club was
formed (1946) when the Dixon
boys from Ventnor – Rex, Bob,
Bill and young “Snowy” (Frank) –
took to the field in what was then
a four team island competition.
They were keen sportsmen,
and particularly noted for their
strength and skill on the football
Rex, in particular, was a cham-
pion player and the idol of his
five sons, Don, twins Laurie and
John, Winston and Howard.
They grew up with football in
their blood and loved nothing
better than to go to the local footy
with mum (Molly) and dad (Rex)
on a Saturday.
“We were only school boys. We
looked forward to going along
with mum and dad and having a
kick of the footy on the ground at
half-time,” John recalls.
All five boys played football for
Phillip Island for various peri-
ods of time, and Don, Laurie and
John, who remained living here,
continuing an unbroken associa-
tion with the Club to this day.
There was only one time when
all five boys played in a seniors
match together for the Bulldogs.
It was in a semi-final against Da-
lyston, played at Wonthaggi.
The Dixon combination helped
secure a win for the island that
Winston had followed in his
father’s footsteps and became a
key player for the Bulldogs as a
champion full back.
His brothers still note with
pride that as a 17 year old play-
er, Winston could hold his own
against all the top full forwards
in the competition.
The playing days for Don, Lau-
rie and John began in 1954. Like
young footballers of today they were
still in their teens when they first
pulled on the red, white and blue.
Laurie and John were fresh-
faced 16 year old schoolboys
when they were picked to play in
the newly formed seconds team;
while Don had recently returned
from boarding school in Mel-
bourne and at 18 years of age was
selected to play in the firsts.
One of the strongest memo-
ries of the twins’ early playing
days was being coached by Char-
lie Luke (“Geez he was bloody
good!”) who led by example and
took his boys to a grand final,
but unfortunately, they were just
beaten by Dumbalk by a couple
The lads grew up fast in the
field of footy as it was a tough,
hard game and they often found
themselves playing against much
older, and wiser, opponents.
“It was open slather. We were
only kids then,” they recall.
As they matured and became
more skilled the boys began to
play up (in the Firsts) and to
take their places alongside their
With Winston in the team, the
Dixon boys established them-
selves in the following line-up:
Winston at fullback, Don at centre
half forward, John at centre half
back and Laurie at full forward.
(At one time these identical
twins decided to swap jump-
ers to give Laurie a break from
being roughed up by his oppo-
nent. From memory, they say, it
Such was Laurie’s sharp shoot-
ing that he took out the league’s
goal kicking award in 1958.
Laurie continued playing until
he was 33, in 1971, when he felt
it was time to hang up the boots.
His 17 year career with the Bull-
dogs saw him leave as a dual pre-
John was forced to retire four
years earlier, in 1969 at the age
of 29, following a head-on colli-
sion with an opponent in the sev-
enth game of the season; while
Don had already left the scene in
1966, at the age of 30, due to his
Since that time they have con-
tinued to take a keen and obser-
vant interest in the club, and can
often be seem around the ground
on match days or catching up
with mates in the club rooms.
They have seen the club grow
and change over the years and
have shared in the highs and lows
of successive seasons.
Although they still love their
footy they admit that they be-
longed to a different era when
both the game and the club func-
tioned on a different level.
“Footy was such a different
game back then,” they explain.
“It was much slower (we
wouldn’t stand a chance now),
had more position play and we
used drop kicks and torpedos.”
They credit themselves with
introducing the “Jack Dyer” kick
into the Bulldog game play.
(Named after champion Rich-
mond player – Jack “Captain
This was mainly due to Don
who believed in its merit.
“I decided that it was very accu-
rate. It would go about 30 yards
but it worked. I was initially told
by the coach that they were no
bloody good, but I did it anyway.”
Training was held every Tues-
day and Thursday night, but as
there were no lights around the
ground, it only lasted until dark.
Many of the players of the day
were either farmers or manual
workers, and as such, were all
Don remembers the effort in-
volved in racing from his dairy
farm to the football ground for
the weekly training sessions.
“By the time I’d get there it was
already getting dark, so I’d be
told to run around the ground
three times, and that was it. Then
I’d go home,” he said.
The one thing that cemented
the team together was the cama-
raderie that existed and loyalty to
The players were all local lads
who moulded into a very tight
“We’d always stick together, on
the field and at the social func-
tions,” said John.
“Phillip Island is the only team
I played for. I’d never leave to play
against my mates.
“If we left, what sort of blokes
would we be?”
As well as taking to the field,
the players and families all sup-
ported the club at the frequent
and well attended social func-
When the Dixons first start-
ed playing there were no club
rooms. In fact, there were only
basic and rustic change rooms
for both players and umpires.
However this situation contrib-
uted to the importance of creat-
ing a strong social culture within
The Newhaven and the Cowes
Shire halls became the hub of the
club where more often than not,
it was hard to find a seat at the
regular cabaret nights held after
With Alice Drennan (wife of
club president John) in charge
of catering for the masses, Don
Dixon remembers her requests
for him to help out with the meat
“I’d have to go out and trap rab-
bits, to add to the chicken dish-
es – to make up the quantity of
meat. The cabarets were so popu-
lar that you often couldn’t get a
seat!” he said.
Eventually a social committee
was formed, with Laurie in the
mix, to raise money for the build-
ing of the club rooms.
As the Phillip Island Football
Club celebrates its 70th anni-
versary this year, the importance
of country football is not lost on
these former players.
“It’s one of the most important
parts of the community.
“It gives young kids something
“And training twice a week
keeps them fit and healthy.
“Even though we can’t always
get to every match, we still sup-
port and value the Bulldogs.”
John’s son Barclay played for
Phillip Island seniors for a num-
ber of years.
His comeback in 2016 was
thwarted earlier this year when
he suffered a knee injury in a pre-
season training match.
Sons of champion Island footballer Rex Dixon, who played in the 1920s and 30s, (left to right) Lau-
rie, Don and John Dixon have had a lifelong association with the Phillip Island Football Club as second
generation players, and later supporters. Still together and still farming they are pictured today aged
77, 80 and 77 respectively. Laurie and John are twins. John’s son Barclay almost returned to the Club
for another season this year, but was sidelined due to an injury at a practice match in March.
A dynasty of Dixons! From left are Winston, Laurie, John and Donald Dixon, pictured with their
father Rex in the late 1950s. The four brothers played about 800 games for Phillip Island between
them, and their father Rex was a champion island player in the generation that went before. The
brothers are the grandsons of We Thompson, after whom Thompson Avenue is named.
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