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A LEADER BY ACTION – SONNY MOREY

As the SANFL Celebrated Indigenous round last weekend, Peter Argent writes about one of CDFC's greats Sonny Morey.

Credited with the first kick in SANFL league football by a Central District player, Sonny Morey, with his sublime skills and quiet manner achieved so much more for his people by the way he carried himself and the character he displayed both on and off the field.
A child of the stolen generation, Morey made the most of his opportunities after a tough upbringing.
After being extracted from his native Northern Territory, he was brought up at a hostel in Port Adelaide before he moved to Gawler in his teens.
Football was a passport to acceptance, initially with the Gawler Central Tigers in the local Gawler and Districts competition and then with the Bulldogs in the embryonic days of the club at Elizabeth.
Morey started his career as a creative half forward and wingman in the tough early years for the Central District Football Club.
“A dedicated sportsman that was polite, well-mannered and wonderful character with a terrific sense of humour,” Morey’s first coach Ken Eustice proudly said of him.
“Sonny was one of the most natural footballers I ever coached and I didn’t teach him much. 
“He is a credit to himself, his community and the Central District Football Club, both for his efforts on and off the field.”
Money played in the club’s first league game against West Torrens at Thebarton Oval - but missed the the club first win at league level in 1965 - the only match he missed that year. 
In the early 1970’s Morey reinvented himself as a dashing back pocket player in the modern rebounding style, where he’d back his ability to read the game and intercept opposition attacks.
Morey was runner-up to Malcolm Blight in the 1972 Magarey Medal, won his own club best and fairest two years earlier and play four state games in ’73 and ’74 during this second stage of his career.
Long term CEO of Central District, Kris Grant, a man not known to give praise lightly, called Morey a great player and equally a quality individual.
“Sonny was humble about his natural football and sporting talent,” Grant said.
“He was a well-liked member of the playing group and a loyal friend.
“When he returned to coach the under 17s, he had a natural affinity with the kids and was highly respected.
“In the 1970s we actually named a lounge in the Licensed Club after Sonny.
 “As a player he was our first 200 game SANFL league footballer, noted for his clean skills, tough and uncompromising approach to the football and his great understand with mate Bill Cochrane in the last line of defence.” 
After his retirement from league football he went on to be a successful coach of Eudunda in the Barossa and Light competition.
He would return to the Ponderosa and coach the under 17s, taking this team to the 1985 premiership.
He is the only known aboriginal coach of a SANFL flag at any level.
Outside the game, his work for a decade in the SA Police Force won accolades from all community groups.

By Peter Argent
This article first appeared in the SANFL Football Budget on the weekend of August 4th 2012.

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