FRANK Hodgkin only played with Mitta United for two seasons.
Despite growing up on a farm near Eskdale, Hodgkin moved to Gundowring with his family as a 12-year-old and went on to launch an outstanding career with Kergunyah, Myrtleford, St Kilda, Ganmain, North Albury, Rutherglen and Wodonga.
But in a fitting twist, Hodgkin found his way back to Mitta United as coach in 1975 to play in one of the club’s most famous grand final victories.
Former teammate and long-time official Michael Duncan remembers the grand final well against Tallangatta at Lavington.
“He kicked seven goals before half-time that day before moving himself into the centre,” Duncan said.
“We won by a point.
“Frank was a tough man and we called him ‘Friendly Frank’.
“It was a bit sarcastic because he was friendly to us but not so much to the opposition. He was a fantastic player.”
While Hodgkin, who died this week aged 77, was ferocious on the field, he was a quiet, hard-working man off it.
Coleman medallist Tom Carroll played with Hodgkin at Ganmain for four seasons in the South West league with the pair terrorising opposition defences.
They played in premierships together in 1964 and 1965 as coach and assistant-coach as well as lining up in several inter-league matches.
The pair remained good mates until Hodgkin’s passing.
“He’s a legend,” Carroll said.
“The Ganmain people absolutely loved him and always will.
“He was a great centre half-forward and we formed a wonderful partnership.
“It’s not about me, but I kicked 300-odd goals and Frank would probably have given me more than half of them.
“He played centre half-forward like James Hird and was before his time. He could run all day.
“He just pushed 5-foot 11 and was probably the best mark for his size that I’ve ever seen.
“He had a cement-like body where a normal bump would hurt the opposition.”
Hodgkin started his footballing journey by playing in a flag with Kergunyah as a 14-year-old and represented the Ovens and Murray three years later at Myrtleford.
He was then signed by St Kilda and spent two seasons in the VFL before being squeezed out of centre half-forward by Darrel Baldock.
Hodgkin went on to play for Rutherglen, North Albury and Wodonga and was inducted into the Ovens and Murray’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
After retiring, he spent time coaching Dederang-Mt Beauty’s under 14 and 17s.
Hodgkin is survived by his wife, Anne, and children, Sharon, Judy, James, Claire, Paul and Mark.
His funeral will be held at Wodonga’s Sacred Heart Church on Friday at 2pm.