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Deacon Daryl a humble hall of famer


When Daryl Hicks was first informed that he was going to be inducted into the South Australian National Football League Hall of Fame, he told his wife Tricia he “wasn’t that good”.

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“There were many much better than me,” the 82-year-old retired deacon said.

But the four-time Sturt premiership player had a passion for Aussie Rules that extended to coaching, administration and media over more than four decades.

Accepting the Hall of Fame honour in front of 600 people at the Magarey Medal presentation at Adelaide Oval, Daryl said one of the reasons he moved interstate and became national director of coaching was that he wanted to make sure that “every area in Australia”, even those where Aussie Rules was competing against rugby, could play “the best game alive, the Australian game, Australian football”.

Daryl played 212 games for Sturt from 1960-1972, represented the State 13 times and coached Central District to its first minor premiership in 1979. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1993 for his services to Australian football and the community.

Asked by media personality Mark Soderstrom about his “life-changing” decision to become a deacon in the Catholic Church when he was in his 60s, he deferred to his wife Tricia who has been caring for him since he suffered a stroke three years ago.

“Daryl has always been very special, that’s why I married him,” she said.

“And he’s always been very community-minded, and Christian, ecumenical Christian but we happened to be Catholics and that was a calling he had.”

Tricia said his involvement in adult faith formation began when Sr Christine Burke IBVM told him there weren’t enough men studying at the Adelaide Theology College. He agreed to enrol and was one of two men in the course until the other man left and “Daryl was left with all the women”.

She also spoke of her husband’s association with the Central District Football Club which he coached to its first minor premiership in 1979.

“When we came back from Melbourne to Central Districts so many people said ‘what, you’re going to live out in the north’,” she recalled.

“But we’ve had the most wonderful life in Salisbury for 44 years.

“In fact, over the time he’s been in the north, as a deacon in the Elizabeth parish he’s officiated at funerals of many of the Centrals people who have passed on.”

Tricia paid tribute to Daryl’s parents Sylvie and Clarrie for their “amazing support”. Dairy farmers from Jervois, they would drive to Adelaide every week to watch him play football.

She also thanked both Sturt and Central District clubs, Sturt legend Jack Oatey and Norm Russell (“the father of the Doggies”), both of whom are deceased.

“To our family who are all here tonight, Gerard, Brendan, Damian, Joseph and Therese, their spouses and our wonderful grandchildren, seven grandsons and one granddaughter…we love you,” Tricia said.

Coining a phrase that Deacon Hicks had penned for a sports award event in the 1960s, she and Daryl concluded their interview by saying “players win touches, teams win games but clubs win premierships”.

Nick Chigwidden

Also inducted into the Hall of Fame this year were Glenelg great and Sacred Heart College old scholar Nick Chigwidden, Bulldogs trailblazer Sonny Morey and inaugural South Adelaide chairman Charles Kingston.

Nick spoke about coming to Adelaide from Clare to board at the Somerton Park college and his early days at Glenelg when he was “privileged” to play alongside some of the “superstars” of the game.

Nick played 293 games for Glenelg from 1987 to 200, won four best and fairest awards and represented SA twice. He was also president of the Glenelg Football Club from 2012 to 2019.

He thanked his parents Pat and Brian, his brother Andrew, wife Cath and children Laura, Sarah and Joey.


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