Clive ‘Ned’ Miller will call his last game after 40 years this weekend.

 

After four decades of announcing rugby league at Fisher Park, this week Clive Miller, better known as Ned (Senior), has revealed that this season will be his last in the box.

Ned has shown an unwavering dedication to the town, spending a Saturday or Sunday at the football, almost every available weekend for 40 years.

Ned has been a huge part of rugby league history in Cootamundra, with a field in Nicholson Park having been named after him.

He is a life member of both junior and senior football clubs, as well as being one of the founding members of the junior rugby league club in the early 1970’s.

“I think it all started when Paul (son, also nicknamed Ned, and for the purposes of this article Ned Jnr) started to play in the junior league when he was about eight,” Ned Senior said.

“Both Maureen and I got involved in the junior league in the late 70’s.”

“It all started from there and I became a member of the senior league in the late 70s.”

When he first started announcing, Ned Senior was in the precarious greyhound judge’s box.

“You used to take your life into your own hands trying to get up there,” he joked.

Ned Senior now announces in the current box, set up on the grandstand side of the ground.

The Coota Bulldogs are expected to host a home semi-final which will be Ned Senior’s next and last scheduled game to announce.

He said “I love the game. I love the local club. It’s my way of being part of it.”

Ned recalled some of the standout players he has called through the years, including Chris Roberts and Peter Fitzgerald.

“He was a wonderful wingman. I used to feel sorry for opposing team’s fullbacks when they had to try and decide what Chrissy was going to do next,” Ned reminisced.

“Peter Fitzgerald, when he was here, set the try scoring record, I think.”

Ned’s nickname came from an uncle Clive Edward and the nickname become synonymous with the family and has now passed through generations.

Ned Jnr fondly remembers how he used to cut up the oranges as an eight-year-old which used to completely cover the kitchen bench, just for his dad to take to the game.

“It’s a long haul 40-odd years. I don’t think there would be many sporting groups of any description that have had the same person do the same job for so long,” Paul glowingly spoke of his father.

“He walks in and the girls in the canteen know he has a cup of coffee and a bucket of chips every time”.

The Miller family’s love of league in Cootamundra has now been passed on to a third generation.

Ned’s grandson and Paul’s son, 20-year-old Tom, has taken on the job of coaching the under 17’s side and has turned himself into a first-grade player.

“He’s been playing in the senior club since he was 15. He took on the under 17’s coaching role this year when it really looked like we wouldn’t have a team in February,” Ned Jnr said.

It’s been instilled in him from probably watching my father and also then me, that if you’re involved in the football club you have to actually be involved.”

Paul is optimistically looking forward to the Coota Bulldogs end to the season, with the fairytale ending still a possibility.

“Hopefully if we get to host the semi-final I’ll be there and the young bloke will be playing and Dad will be calling,” Ned Jnr said.

His father has been an icon of league in the community for what seems like his whole life.

“He’s been doing it since when Cabbage McDonald used to broadcast games on the radio to the region,” Ned Jnr said.

“There wouldn’t have been a footballer in Group Nine that hasn’t heard his name over the last 40 years.”

Ned has also called his granddaughter Ellie out on to the playing field for the Bullettes and has joked that he might like to make a comeback when his other grandkids Gus and Lucy play seniors.

Ned Snr will leave a substantial void when he steps away from the role at season’s end, but humbly suggests that there are always others to replace him.

“There’s not anyone that I’m aware of at the moment, but no doubt someone will come along and probably do just as good or a better job,” he said.

Although stepping aside from the announcing gig, he was resolute that he will still go and watch the Bulldogs every weekend.

He also has his wife Maureen to thank throughout the many years of supporting his passion.

“There’s plenty of weekends where I should’ve been mowing the lawn, but I headed off to Fisher Park instead.”

Tim Warren