** originally appeared on www.portlincolntimes.com.au **
Port Lincoln resident John Easton has been recognised for his years of contribution to South Australian football with an SANFL Merit Award.
Mr Easton was presented his award in recognition of his years of service to football, including as a player, coach and umpire.
A ceremony late last month presented five people with the award at Hickinbotham Oval in Noarlunga.
Mr Easton said one memorable experience was umpiring a match in Port Lincoln in 1988 alongside Malcolm Harris where Mallee Park kicked 32 goals and Wayback kicked 27.
“The next Saturday we were both in the Port Lincoln Hospital with terminal cancer, but we’re both still here,” he said.
Mr Easton said he had umpired since 1965 and had done so in every South Australian league except for Great Southern and River Murray leagues.
His playing career included games with Central District.
As a coach he said he enjoyed coaching Tasman’s under 17s to three grand finals in a row with back to back premierships.
He said a highlight was coaching Robert Jackamarra at Eyre United, and said “in my eyes is the best footballer in Australia.”
“At the age of 32 he was kicking an average of 15 goals a game.”
Mr Easton this week retired as a board member with the Port Lincoln Football League.