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Geelong Cats, John Devine, vale, death, mourning, North Hobart, Wynyard grand final, goalposts taken, no result 1967 grand final

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The AFL community is mourning the death of Geelong premiership star and former coach John Devine at the age of 82.

Devine, the defender dubbed ‘Colac’ given his ties to the town, made his debut for the Cats at the age of 20 and went on to play 118 games, including the 1963 premiership win over Fitzroy.

“Devine will be remembered as a fearless player and a passionate Geelong man, loved by all of his teammates, and will be sadly missed,” the Geelong Football Club said in a statement.

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North Hobart premiership coach John Devine. Picture Barry WinburnSource: Supplied

“Rest easy, Colac.”

After leaving the Cats at the end of 1966 – where he finished runner up best and fairest twice, Devine quickly moved to coaching and headed south to join North Hobart as captain-coach for the 1967 season.

While famously still under suspension from the 1966 VFL finals series, Devine was forced to coach from over the boundary fence until his ban ended.

But his influence was immediate as he helped guide the formerly last-placed North Hobart to a grand final in his first season.

That match featured one of the all-time football moments as opposition fans tore down the goalposts just before the siren – after controversy over a North Hobart mark in the dying seconds that could have given the side a shot at victory.

The match, where Devine was arguably best on ground with five goals as a forward, would go on to be deemed ‘no result’.

North Hobart captain John Devine left, and Trevor Best are holding the downed post at the team’s 50-year reunion.
Source: News Corp Australia

Devine was described by Tasmanian media as “an inspiration” for what he was able to achieve in their league after arriving from Geelong.

Devine later returned to the Cats in 1986 as coach, taking over from Tom Hafey.

He’s been credited with helping recruit the likes of Garry Hocking, Billy Brownless, Barry Stoneham and many more before his time as coach ended in 1988.

Devine was awarded life membership at the Cats in 1993, inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2002 and then later inducted as a legend into the Tasmania Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame, North Hobart president John Leedham with John Devine.Source: News Limited

“History will judge John Devine as one of the fiercest, most loyal Geelong men, in the 162-year history of our great club,” the Cats said when Devine was recognised with the R.J Hickey award.

“His courage and passion as a player, and his unwavering care for his players as a coach and a mentor, will be central to his story and to his legacy.

“Colin Rice said that John (or Colac as he was known), was ‘as tough and as courageous as they come’ … that ‘there was only one way for John and that was straight ahead’, … the most dangerous place to stand, was in that space between John Devine and the ball.”

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