Walkers enjoy local support
By TIM HOWARD
THE performance of Australian walkers Jane and Natalie Saville in winning gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne came as no surprise former Lower Clarence footballer Ross McPherson.
McPherson said yesterday he could remember the girls' father Ron Saville coming to play football for the Magpies in the early 1970s.
"Ronnie came up here from South Sydney to play football in 1971 and 72, from memory," he said.
McPherson said the refugee Rabbitoh was not a first grader with Souths, but that did not mean he was not a good footballer.
"He was a hooker, and if he could have put George Piggins out of first grade he would have been doing all right," McPherson said.
"But he was a good standard of country footballer.
"Lower Clarence had a pretty good side that year.
"We won the Caltex Knock-out in Grafton, beating Murwillumbah."
McPherson said Saville and wife Anne were both athletic types who had obviously passed on their genes to the two girls.
"Ron was tall for a hooker, and Anne was a big, strongly-built girl who was right into Little Athletics when she came up from Sydney," he said.
McPherson said he was in Grafton on business when he heard about the result of the walk and watched replays of the race in the local Chandlers store.
"There would have been a lot of people who remember Ron from his time here," McPherson said.
"Both he and Anne were real good people."
Jane Saville renewed family contacts with Maclean in 2003 when she was the Australia Day Ambassador to the Lower Clarence.
She and the Saville family travelled to Yamba for the celebrations that year.
McPherson also had good memories of Ron Saville as an employee.
"He worked in my butchers shop as a casual and he was a real good fellow to have working for you," he said.