A photo is included of Vern who was a member of the all-conquering 1956 Richmond Seniors that contained no less than 7 current Kiwis. The Captain Cliff Johnson, Tommy Baxter, Vern Bakalich, John Lasher, Jim Riddell, Joe Murray, Sel Belsham to top it off they supplied the Kiwi coach Snow Telford as well.
Vern played 13 test matches for the Kiwis scoring 3 tries during the period of 1953 – 1957 and also took up coaching the Richmond Premier teams. There will be a funeral service for Vern tomorrow on Tuesday 24th November in Whakatane.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY -JOHN 'HONE' HOLLOWAY
Vern Bakalich one of life's Gentlemen, a really nice guy. Selected at wing for Richmonds Team of the Century in 2013. Richmond, Auckland, NZ Kiwis. Turned to coaching after his playing days. See attached phototheres a few of us in his 66 prems. A pretty impressive line up of suits in this including: Ellis Hoskins, Scotty Miller, Williamson, Lorrigan, happy Harry Dunn, Ray Preston… all good men of the Club. I recall an end of season old boys game versus Prems. A friendly game at Grey Lynn Park that year when I came off the back of a scrum and ran toward Vern who was playing first 5… I was laughing and saying he was too old to catch me when Tommy Baxter spotted me from Centre and pretty much knocked me into the club room car park. When I eventually recovered I told Baxter we had been told to take it easy on the old guys and what was he up to, he said “I never took it easy when I played and I am not starting now.” He was around 40 years old at that point and was still hard as rocks. To give him a break I ran down the blind side for the rest of the game!!! Rod Rowe reminded me that Vern's late wife Faye was a lovely lady as well and I recall her as a stalwart member of the famed Ladies Committees of the 1950s/60’s with Mrs Williams, Rowe, Hoskins, Pearson, Buchan, Tobin, West among others…. wonderful hardworking Maroon and Blue heroes.