Rod Gillies awarded GSFL Life membership after contributing to football in the region for 50 years

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GSFL life member Rod Gillies has had a distinguished coaching career in the Great Southern.
Camera IconGSFL life member Rod Gillies has had a distinguished coaching career in the Great Southern. Credit: Laurie Benson

Long-time Great Southern Football League servant Rod Gillies was announced as the latest life member at the 2020 Kleemann Medal presentation night at Centennial Stadium last month.

Gillies has contributed to football in the region for 50 years, having coached four clubs in the GSFL, along with teams in the Ongerup Football League and Southern Districts Junior Football Association.

It is believed Gillies has coached more than 100 different teams over the past 50 years whether it be juniors, schools, colts, league or combined/association sides.

After playing 94 league games between 1971 and 1978 for North Albany Football Club, Gillies went on to achieve renown as a coach.

Gillies was presented with his life-membership pin by close friend and fellow GSFL life member Alan Barnett at the presentation on September 21.

Rod Gillies accepts his life membership.
Camera IconRod Gillies accepts his life membership. Credit: Laurie Benson

GSFL president Joe Burton said it was fantastic to see such a deserving recipient recognised.

“I think it’s excellent he was recognised; it was well overdue, I think,” Burton said.

“He should have been a life member and recognised many years ago.

“He is a credit to the game and I hope it means a lot to him because it means a lot to us for him receiving it.”

Gillies began his GSFL coaching career with North Albany colts in 1972 and coached them for about 15 seasons, getting to a remarkable 11 grand final appearances and six premierships.

He coached the Kangas league team at least 12 times on and off since the early 1980s, including winning consecutive premierships in 1982-1983.

He also coached the association colts side for many years and won four Great Southern colts premierships.

GSFL's latest life member Rod Gillies with Darrell Panizza, Jim Hull, Barry Panizza and Alan Barnett.
Camera IconGSFL's latest life member Rod Gillies with Darrell Panizza, Jim Hull, Barry Panizza and Alan Barnett. Credit: Laurie Benson

The inaugural GSFL representative side in 1991 was coached by Gillies and they were able to win the Great Southern Carnival in Mt Barker.

As a coach, Gillies has also spent time with Royals, winning the 1990 premiership.

He coached Railways in the 2000s and then headed to Denmark-Walpole for five seasons.

Gillies remains involved with the Kangas, helping to mentor and develop young coaches.

The GSFL’s colts best-and-fairest award for the season is named in his honour, with the Rod Gillies Medal awarded each year.

His extensive coaching career includes a lengthy period with the SDJFA in the 1970s and 1980s.

GSFL's latest life member Rod Gillies with Darrell Panizza.
Camera IconGSFL's latest life member Rod Gillies with Darrell Panizza. Credit: Laurie Benson

He coached many different age groups and also served a term as president of the association.

Gillies coached the Albany Senior High School country week side for more than 20 years to multiple grand final wins.

When the GSFL made it essential for coaches to hold a level one coaching accreditation, Gillies was the man to go to when regional development officers were planning coaching courses.

As a player, Gillies captained Scotch College’s first XVIII and spent time playing in the amateurs before moving to Albany.

He failed to win a premiership playing for North Albany but won their league best and fairest award twice and then added a reserves best-and-fairest award.

Gillies’ life membership of the GSFL follows his life-membership honours at both North Albany and the SDJFA.

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