Former Bomber Merv Neagle dies in New South Wales truck crash
- Wayne Flower, Mark Buttler
- From:Herald Sun
- August 23, 2012 4:53PM
UPDATE: BOMBER great Merv Neagle has been killed in a truck crash in New South Wales.
Police said the south-bound rig, carrying a load of grain, went out of control and ran into an orchard.
The area where the crash happened is marked by S-bends and the road surface was wet.
Neagle was a champion of the Essendon football club, where he played 147 games from 1977–85.
He came second in the 1980 Brownlow medal behind Footscray’s Kelvin Templeton.
Essendon teammate and Premiership Captain Terry Daniher said Neagle would be dearly missed.
“It’s certainly a sad day and our condolences go out to the family on what is a very tough day for them. All his close mates and his teammates at the Essendon Football Club are shocked to hear the sad news.”
“He was a terrific hard running player on the wing for us, who gave us his all and had the tenacity to run all day without a spell.
“He was a great mate who loved a beer and loved to be around his teammates.
“He was just a good bloke,” he told the Bombers website.
Neagle is survived by his wife Donna and five children: Jay (24), Jydon (17), Nathan (16), Matthew (14) and Jaxon (12).
Neagle’s son, Jay, debuted for Essendon in 2007 and played 28 games for the Bombers during his career from 2007 – 2010.
Neagle had been coaching the Walla Walla Football Club seniors in NSW where he worked for Hehir’s Transport in nearby Rand.
Neagle has been a popular figure at Walla since taking over as coach this year.
He has taken the Hoppers from the bottom of the ladder to the cusp of the top six this year.
Walla Walla Club President Garry Mickan said his death had not only devastated his family, but the entire community.
“He was heavily involved here, He’s not only a coach, he became a real friend to everyone,’’ he said.
“It’s just tragic for everyone and it’s going to be hard for everyone at the club… As a community we’re very close and we’ll get through these times together. It’s just a great loss for not only us, but for Australia.’’
A member of Essendon’s 1984 premiership side, Neagle crossed to Sydney in 1986 as part of the Swans’ recruiting spree, and spent five injury riddled seasons with Sydney before retiring at the end of the 1990 AFL season.
Former teammate Robert Shaw paid tribute to Neagle on Twitter.
“Tragic news. Shocking. RIP Merv Neagle. Brilliant player. Ferocious competitor,” he said.
Current Bombers player Michael Hibbert also took to Twitter to react to the sad news.
He wrote: “RIP Merv Neagle! Tragic news! Was a great bloke and real character! Thoughts go out to the Neagle family.”
Merv, the Bombers footballer
In the early 1980s, Neagle was a Bomber to be feared.
Though his side struggled in 1980, Neagle pushed his claims as one of the best and most exciting players in the league, finishing runner-up in the Brownlow Medal count.
As Neagle’s hot form continued, Essendon’s premiership aspirations grew legs, and the wingman was an integral part of the side that made back-to-back grand finals in 1983 and ’84.
Though Hawthorn thumped them the first year, they would not be denied the second time around.
Neagle kicked a goal in the memorable 24-point win and played one more year at Essendon before moving to Sydney, where he played the final 56 games of his career before retiring in 1990.
MERV NEAGLE FACTS
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Games: 203 (147 Essendon, 56 Sydney)