Over the years that Kelly's Kids web site has been running, I have received many emails asking me questions about Noel and his time at West's so I asked him some of these questions to "break the ice" at the interview.
One such game was from "Magpie Mal." It concerned the game West's v Newtown in 1966 at the old Sydney Sports Ground.
Mal and Mark 2012.
Even as a kid, Mal has always wanted to know why West's played so well and won that game even though two of their players had been sent off. "Funny thing," said Noel "One of the players sent off was me and the other Alan Allison."
Noel remembered saying to Big Dennis Meaney as Noel trudged towards the dressing room " Get stuck into them and we can still win this…."
The final score was West's 16 Newtown 15.
Noel believes this was the game when Big Denis Meaney came of age as a player.
Noel Kelly and 'Big' Dennis Meaney
I asked Noel which was his favourite ground??
"Easy." said Noel. "The Sydney Cricket Ground followed by Pratten Park."
Noel was not a supporter of the move by West's from Pratten Park to Lidcombe Oval in 1967. "
Pratten was a real Home ground all the people from Ashfield would come along and support their team, West's".
Noel loved the way the crowds were so close at Pratten Park he said "a ground with a hill all round."
It was during this time that every dog or cat in Ashfield was named after Noel or Peter Dimond.
Speaking of Pratten Park (left: old Pratten Park Stand and Dressing Sheds) and Lidcombe Oval if you have a favourite ground between these two please email me ( link at bottom of page) and tell me which one and why. Maybe you have some old photos of these grounds please let me know.
I then asked Noel "Which West's player from the Kelly's Kids era was the best?"
Without thinking he said "John Elford".
Noel then told us about a game at the old Belmore Oval when "Snoozer" Elford scored a try against Canterbury -Bankstown.
Noel said Snoozer beat the whole Canterbury team using his famous running fend.
John "Snoozer" Elford was a huge tackler
"This is a question from the past, Noel. Can you tell me what happened to Glen Brown?"
"He was a very good second rower from Queensland. I think he joined the army"
Just for the record Glen played 3 first grade games in 1966 plus he played in a Combined Services match with Barry Bryant in 1966.
If anyone has any news on Glen please email me and I will be happy to add the info to this story.
"Noel did you have much to do with Jack Gibson?" Noels reply. "Well Jack played 2 years with West's 1963 and 1964. We were in the front row together for many games and we became good mates both on and off the field. He nickname for me was "Snoz" . Jack would always have a BBQ at his place or at Gunnamatta Park at Cronulla for all of the West's boys. To me Jack is a great bloke" Noel told Steve and I some funny stories about himself and Jack.
At the end of his Sydney career and at the age of 34, Noel told us he made the biggest mistake of his football career he signed to play captain-coach for Wollongong for the 1970 season. Noel told us of the first training session. " All the players turned up for the first nights training session and I asked the committee men for the training balls. They had none. The only ball they had was a cheap plastic one that could be bought from Coles. I should of quit then and there."
Just for the record Noel played 115 First Grade games for West's (1961-1969) and scored 6 tries. He played 6 games for Queensland (1959 - 1960) scoring 1 try. 5 games for New South Wales (1963-64 and 1966-1967) scoring 1 try.
25 Tests (1959-60, 1963-64 and 1966-1968) scoring 2 tries. Noel was the first hooker/prop forward to make three Kangaroo tours (1959,1963 and 1967).
Ned looking after his fans at his last game for Wests 1969.
Unfortunately it was time to go. The two hours had gone very quickly.
For Steve and I the interview is a memory that will live with as forever.
We had only scratched the surface of Noels life in those two hours.
For more detailed information about his life I can recommend a great book called "HARDMAN A Life in Football".
This book tells the full story warts and all from 1936 until 1996.
You can find it in most second-hand bookshops.
Buy it, read it, then you will know the real Noel "Ned" Kelly……a Hardman.
Noel at weight training.
Also, if you want to see Noel playing for Australia against the Poms, a great video to get is "Paths to Glory 1958 to 1967".
You can quite often pick them up on ebay for a few bucks or email me and I'll see if we can organise one for you to look at.
Noel and Tony Noel and Steve
Thanks to Noels wife Chris for the coffee and biscuits and Ned thanks for giving us so much of your time but most of all thanks so much for the years you played for West's.
In the last few years Noel has become a committee man of a charity called Men Of League.
This charity has been set up to help old Rugby League players who need a helping hand.
Noel gives of his time, as do many other Rugby League greats helping to raise money for old footballers who are not travelling so well.
Men of League has a website and if you would like to become a supporter of the Men of League for $20 just click onto this website link to join.
For your one off payment of $20 you get personal ID keyring, bi monthly magazine (for old frontrowers this means one every 2 months) and a good feeling of helping an old footballer that once you cheered for.
Noel Kellys Kids, a website by Tony Lewis, Greg Willis and Steve Lothian honouring Rugby League Legend Noel Kelly and the Western Suburbs Magpies from 1966 to 1969. Noel Kelly,Captain Coach of the Western Suburbs Rugby League Club. The site involves statistics, photos, with interviews from West greats.