Move over Fred MacMurray . . . pictured here with Old Paradian Paul Healy (1986) at the Garvey Oval on matchday at the weekend are his three sons Jacob (2017), James (2018) and Blair - a current student at the College (together with youngest boy Daniel).
Upholding the tradition, the Healys followed their father from the school to the Old Paradians Amateur Football Club, just as Andrew McCann (2014) followed his father Dale McCann (1979).
At the same time, Tom Philp and Lachlan Kerr, the sons of 1986 College contemporaries Stephen Philp and Nick Kerr, are also part of the fold at the OPs -Tom in a playing capacity and Lachlan as a water carrier/boundary umpire.
Paul said that despite the football club’s relegation to Division 2, his sons had all made real progress at the Old Paradians.
“For most of the year, Jacob’s played in the seniors having come up from the under 19s, while his twin brother James has played one senior game and the rest in the Under 19s. Their younger brother Blair, who’s 16, has played four in the seniors and the rest in the Under 19s,” Paul said.
“They’re all motoring along nicely and they love the club.”
For Paul, the connection between the College and the football club is deeply personal - which is why he wholeheartedly supports his boys’ pathway from junior to senior level to help keep the Old Paradians’ Football Club alive beyond its 90 years.
“We’ve had about 12 Under 19s players play senior footy this year and each time they’ve played senior footy they’ve turned up at the Under 19s games and been helpers as well,” Paul said.
“I’m very proud of all the boys, mine included. They’ve been at the club since they could walk. They’ve been waterboys, boundary umpires and runners as they’ve been growing up, and they started playing as soon as they could.
“Without doubt, all these boys are the future of the footy club.”
In imparting a message to any current student who might be interested in chasing the leather for the Old Paradians, Paul simply said: “come down and take a look”.
“The culture of the club is fantastic, as is the mateship between the players. The young kids who come down here love it and they stick together,” Paul said.
Paul’s own association with the football club spans more than 40 years, “to when I was an eight year-old”. He recalls following the OPs at Yarra Park as far back as 1977, the year before the club relocated to Bundoora, “and I’ve since played, coached and served on the committee”.
“It’s fair to say I’ll never leave the place . . . and hopefully the boys won’t either,” said Paul.
Old Paradians Senior coach Phil Plunkett told guests at Saturday’s President’s Luncheon that part of the club’s future strategy was to more closely align with the College, hopefully with the support of the likes of Deputy Principal- elect Mark Aiello, an old College contemporary.
“I’m hoping that through the relationship I have with people like Mark that I’ll be able to tap into Parade’s resources . . . so that more schoolboy footballers transition to the Old Paradians as they did in my era,” Phil said.
Students interested in joining the Old Paradians Amateur Football Club for season 2020 can contact Damian Hannam via mobile 0447 635198 or email email@example.com for further information.
Parents are also most welcome to become part of the tradition.