Old schoolmates and teammates alike are mourning the passing of Tony Beers, a final year student of Parade College in 1980 and captain of its 1st XVIII ACC Premiership outfit in that year.
The son of Collingwood Premiership player Brian Beers, Tony led an undefeated College outfit to the ACC Premiership - just as his father did almost a quarter of a century earlier. That was in 1957, the year before Brian featured in Collingwood’s famous ’58 Grand Final victory which brought to an end Melbourne’s run of three successive Premierships.
Tony was the eldest of Brian and Margaret’s three boys, who lived within walking distance of the Bundoora Campus. Mark and Stephen completed their final years of schooling at Parade in 1983 and 1985 respectively, with Mark captaining Parade’s 1st XVIII team to victory in the ’83 Herald Shield Final and Stephen a member of the 1st XVIII Premiership outfit in ’85.
At Parade, Tony led a team which boasted fellow future League footballers Russell Dickson and Richard Geary. Jamie Kennedy, father of West Coast forward Josh, was also part of that all-conquering group under the watch of the late Br. John O’Neill as coach.
Notwithstanding 1980 ACC Premiership honours, Beers’ boys challenged Assumption College in the ’80 Herald Shield Final, with Assumption’s full-forward Simon O’Donnell proving the difference at VFL Park.
Damien Reeves, a former schoolmate and 1st XVIII teammate of Tony’s at Parade, remembered his captain with great affection.
"'Beersy' was a great leader and a great bloke. He was very popular with his teammates and was the obvious choice to be captain," Damien said.
"We shared great times on the field, winning the ACC premiership and were runners-up in the Herald Shield. After our first game, he held a party for all players and supporters, which really set the tone for a great year.
"We had great times off the field too. Along with a large group of friends, we saw lots of bands together, chased lots of girls, and had lots of laughs. He was just always fun to be around. I caught up with him a couple of years ago when I was in Perth, and I'm devastated to think I'll never see him again."
Beyond the College gates, Tony followed his father’s football journey to Victoria Park, getting the call-up for five senior games for the Magpies through 1982 and ’83. That journey would then take Tony across the Nullarbor, to WAFL club Claremont, at that time coached by the 1976 Brownlow Medallist Graham Moss.
Through 109 matches over seven seasons, Tony represented the WA Tigers with distinction - standing tall at centre half-back in the Gerard Neesham-captained and coached 1987 and ’89 Premiership teams, which collectively included in their ranks Mark Brayshaw, Derek Kickett, Guy McKenna and Don Pyke.
Between times, Tony represented Western Australia, against the VFA at Subiaco Oval - a contest the home state won by 86 points in what was a curtain raiser to the 1988 State of Origin encounter between Western Australia and Victoria.
For a time Tony worked for Reebok, before branching out into his own business Hysport Agencies. As company director, he oversaw the running of Hysport from 2000 onwards.
Tony later married, fathered two daughters Maddison and Charlotte and settled into domestic life in inner city Perth.
Tony is survived by his girls. He is also survived by his father Brian, mother Margaret and brothers Mark (a 40-game former Collingwood player and long-serving teacher at Xavier College) and Stephen (Director of Operations at Radio 3AW), as well as Mark’s wife Sue, Stephen’s wife Kim and six nieces and nephews in Melbourne.
Tony died in Perth on May 11. He was 55 years old.
Members of Parade College’s 1st XVIII team of 2018 wore black armbands as a mark of respect when they took to the field for last Wednesday’s match with St Joseph’s Ferntree Gully at the Garvey Oval. The players of the Old Paradians’ Amateur Football Club’s senior, reserve and Under 19 grade teams all wore black armbands at the weekend.
Anthony Brian Beers’ funeral service was held at the Claremont Football Club in Perth last Monday. Damien Reeves jetted in from Melbourne to be there, while fellow Parade contemporaries Michael Wood, Stephen Zito and the 1980 College captain Gary Dundon, all domiciled in Western Australia, were also in attendance.
Tony's memorial service has been confirmed for Our Lady of the Way Church, 11-13 Green Avenue, Kingsbury, Thursday, May 31, commencing 11am. Afternoon tea will follow in the adjoining hall at the conclusion of the service, with refreshments and savouries also available in the Frank Mount Social Room, Garvey Oval, Parade College, from 2.00pm.