Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur used a Members Statement in Parliament this week to pay tribute to Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer in wake of his recent passing.
Bev McArthur said “As the co-host of the Geelong Cats Spring Street event in Parliament House and as Member for Western Victoria Region, home of the Geelong Cats, I pay tribute to Polly Farmer and offer my sincere sympathies to his immediate family and his wider football fan club.”
“The indigenous Noongar boy changed the game of football by turning handballing from a defensive technique to an offensive one.”
Mrs McArthur said she spoke to Barry Fagg, “a significant Geelong Football Club supporter and leading Geelong businessman” who told her “that as an 11 year old boy he watched Polly Farmer lead Geelong to victory in the 1963 Grand Final at the MCG.”
“Polly was Barry’s childhood hero and he remembers even painting a picture of Polly ‘palming’ the ball to Billy Goggin.”
“It was often said that Polly ‘gave Billy and armchair ride’ to the goal square.”
“He was famous for his ‘palming’ of the ball and his ability to get the ball clearly out of the centre bounce to rovers and subsequently into the hands of goal kickers.”
Bev McArthur said she learnt that for Polly “to perfect his long handballing technique, he would practice passing the ball through a parked car window 30 meters away. His training techniques were clearly unusual but obviously very effective.”
“Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer made a profound impact beyond the realms of football, but through his courage and leadership he made a significant contribution to Australian culture as a role model for Indigenous Australians,” she concluded.
16 August 2019