By Richard Jones
Jim always able to put South’s interests first
FORMER South Bendigo Football Club president and Inglewood Team of the Century member Jim Summers passed away in Grafton in late June.
He was 79.
A stalwart of Loddon Valley club Inglewood Jim was named in the Blues’ Team of the Century at their 125th year celebrations in 2001.
Of a select group of 28 players Jim was ranked No. 13.
He played from 1970-73 and then again from 1977-1980 finishing up when he was 42 years of age.
Jim was named in Inglewood’s backline. He’d been a premiership player in 1971 and by 1980 he was the club’s reserves coach.
That wasn’t the end of Jim’s football career though.
He was president of Bendigo Football and Netball League club South Bendigo from 1981-84, with wife Marie serving as the Bloods’ treasurer in 1984 during Jim’s term at the top.
What I remember most vividly from Jim’s South presidency is the ‘Bill Nalder incident’.
Big Bill had marched out of South and down the hill to the Sandhurst rooms in mid-1983 to sign up with the Dragons.
Jim and two or three other Bloods’ officials arrived at the Addy office in Pall Mall late one weekday to try and ‘manage’ the upcoming day’s coverage of the sensational imbroglio.
A junior reporter sat in with me at the conference in the Addy’s tiny interview room.
And he was quite outspoken later on as the interviews wound up although we’d both sat politely through Jim’s presentation.
Naturally the ‘South walk-out’ story was the lead article in the next day’s Addy sports pages. Big Bill Nalder, a tap ruckman, went on to play in the Hurst’s 1983 grand final winning team and collected the Nalder Medal (ironically, a medal named in honour of a relative of Bill) as best afield.
Jim Summers was known far and wide as a leading central Victorian funeral director and continued on in that line of business when he moved to Grafton in NSW.
One family involvement which might not be known to many Bendigo sports fans was the day his daughter’s nuptials were held in the QEO grandstand.
Kelly Summers was married to Nick Kuhn in the heritage-listed old building in June 2010. Permission and ultimately approval had to be obtained from the Bendigo City Council.
The application was endorsed, and the wedding vows went ahead as planned.