By David Nagel
Whether it’s the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground or Beswick Street in Garfield…the carrying on of famous names is one of the great traditions in football.
Names like Brown, Daicos, Moore and Silvagni captivated more than 80,000 people at the MCG on Sunday – but roughly 24 hours earlier a much-smaller audience witnessed something special for one of the great sporting names in our region.
The Bow name is synonymous with the Garfield Football Club.
The patriarch of the family, the late Albert Bow, was a skilful player and is a life member of the club, while Alby and wife Patricia’s five boys – Alister, Ashley, David, Neville and Peter – played more than 1000 games at Garfield.
Sister Jillian also had the green and gold of Garfield running through her veins.
And the current generation is making sure the family tradition lives on, with three cousins, Jonty 23, Liam 21 and Matt 20, playing senior football together for the first time against Cora Lynn on Saturday.
Jonty’s dad, Neville ‘Turtle’ Bow, is one of the greats of the Garfield Football Club, winning three senior premierships in 1983, ’93 and ’94, along with multiple best and fairest awards in a glittering 300-game career.
Liam’s dad Ashley shared senior premiership glory with ‘Turtle’ in ’93 and ’94, while Matt’s dad David was a significant contributor to Garfield’s backline in his day.
Alister and Peter also played many great games for the club.
“It’s great to see the three cousins running out together today, especially being Bow boys…it’s been a big name for the Garfield Football Club and everyone in the family is really proud of them,” David said.
“Alby, the boys’ grandfather, was a great stalwart of the club and he’d be super proud of the boys if he was still with us today.”
The Bow family grew up on the Main Drain in Vervale, nestled between neighbouring towns…Cora Lynn, Garfield and Iona.
The six children all went to school and worked locally, but the Garfield Football Club has always held a very special place in their hearts.
“The footy club has been a big part of our lives; we all played here in juniors and came through the ranks together,” David said
“We’ve seen a lot of changes, and it’s been great to see the club evolve…it’s come a very long way this club from those early days.”
Jonty says his dad Neville isn’t shy in reminding Jonty of his playing days.
“He never says a bad word about himself so I pretty much know everything about him and his football career,” Jonty said with a smile.
“He won a few best and fairests here and played over 300 games so he must have been pretty good.
“It’s great to wear the same jumper that he did, and I’ve even got my old man’s number six this year.”
Jonty said running out with his two cousins was definitely a highlight of his young career.
“It means heaps, because all the brothers were affiliated with the club and played a lot of games here and there’s a great family history at Garfield,” he said.
“It’ll be unreal to run out together, words can’t explain it…it just feels really good.”
Liam was also excited to be a part of something special and to carry on the family name.
“Dad (Ash) played in a couple of senior flags and played 300 games for the club, so he’s been around for a long time and it’s great to follow in his footsteps,” Liam said.
“We’ve always had a footy in our hands, kicking together at Christmas and things like that, but today will be good…I can’t wait for it because it’s been a long time coming.”
And youngest cousin Matt is looking forward to being part of a Garfield revival, and having the same feeling of success that the family has enjoyed over the years.
“That’s the plan, hopefully in three years’ time we’ve all stuck together and we’re back playing finals again, because we haven’t played finals for a while,” Matt said.
“It would be great to get back up there and be part of a successful era at the club.
“The club had a good run at it in the early 90’s and 2000’s…it sounds like it was a pretty good time down here.
“Hopefully we can do the same down the track – but today’s going to be mint…I’m really looking forward to the three of us running out together.”