Rod Owen

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Franc de Borges

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Both a shocking and excellent read in equal measure. Apart from the tragedy of a broken life, the hardest part to stomach is the revelation of molestation within a league club. Truly disturbing.
 

sherb

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Both a shocking and excellent read in equal measure. Apart from the tragedy of a broken life, the hardest part to stomach is the revelation of molestation within a league club. Truly disturbing.
That is such a confronting read. I'm glad he is on the way to better mental health and a functional life.

More often than not drugs (and other addictions) are a means for people to mask, and deal with, intense personal and emotional pain. People need to realize that.
 

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StCicatriz

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Aug 3, 2016
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There will always be low moments in club history. You will period's of "bad culture". From excess drinking, drugs etc. Systemic racism in the past.

I think we sadly expect stories like that and look forward to meaningful action to improve things for the individuals involved but also the club and the broader message to society.

But this story is harder to read. It involves an actual case of child abuse by an official tasked by the club to run part of its operations.

I just didn't think this was a possibility. That a club could honestly have a case of the sexual assault of a child.

But to it involve the club i have supported. That's even harder to take in.

I'm just lost for words. I dont know what to say. Just shocking.

The club and the AFL need to be doing everything they can do to support Owen.
 

Giant Gutsache

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A terribly sad story, but there are most likely others.
Would be interesting to know if St Kilda has plans to identify and help Little League victims from that period, including those who had no further involvement with the club after becoming teenagers.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Quite amazing this Darrell Ray was abusing children as a school teacher and coach of the junior footy team. He could have so many victims.

A Google search says he was found guilty in 2001 and sentenced to 44 months in prison. Whereabouts are now unknown.
 

footscray1973

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Quite amazing this Darrell Ray was abusing children as a school teacher and coach of the junior footy team. He could have so many victims.

A Google search says he was found guilty in 2001 and sentenced to 44 months in prison. Whereabouts are now unknown.
44 months! Disgustingly meaningless punishment. If his whereabouts become available, should be advertised to his victims or their proxies first, with an appropriate delay before police are advised. Or maybe police just don't get involved at all, and let natural justice take its course.
 

Back One Out

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The St Kilda football club literally ruined this guy's life. I know everyone has to take some personal responsibility for their lives, but look at what the Saints did to him.

* Paedophiles in charge of St Kilda's little league team in the late 1970's. Countless number of young boys (including 9yo Rod Owen) being molested by the scumbags that parents trusted were looking after their kids on match days.

* St Kilda officials telling Owen's dying father they'd make sure his 15yo son finished his schooling at Mentone Grammar, but instead they promoted him to their senior list a few months later and coerced him into quitting school and signing a $30k contract. Ian Stewart admitted the club was on the ropes and they were doing anything they could to stop talented young players from slipping through the net.

"We'll look after you. You don't need school. You won't ever need to worry about a job"

* Saints officials pushed amphetamine tablets onto the grief-stricken 16yo kid before a game. They literally got him hooked on drugs... They encouraged an underage kid to go on drinking benders with the other players where drugs became a normalised part of his life.

* They rebuffed Owen's mother when she complained to the club that he was underage and he should still be at school.

"You have no right to stop him... He's a star player now... You'll just have to learn to live with it..."

* Endless nights of boozing and drug-taking at the Saints disco which were heavily promoted to club members that "all players were in attendance". Saints directors and officials boozing on with them, no doubt celebrating the packed disco and all the money coming in through the till.

Culture... the word became a meme here on Big Footy, but this was the St Kilda club culture. To this day, everyone associated with St Kilda laughs about it when they reminisce. "We never had a good footy team, but we had the best social club..."

*
Owen suffered an ACL rupture when his foot got stuck in the infamous Moorabbin mud (thanks to Saints groundskeepers heavily watering before matches in order to drag opposition teams down to their level and keep the scores close... Another source of mirth for St Kilda people.)

* Finally, when the injury-plagued 25yo Owen told Saints officials he was addicted to speed, they sacked him. Just like that. They ruined the guy and then washed their hands of him... What a club.


Owen might've been a tearaway, troubled kid who became his own worst enemy, but the Saints were the cause of many of his issues and they were his enablers at every step of the way. You sometimes hear the cliché that AFL clubs recruit kids and through teamwork, discipline and purpose, they turn those kids into good men. I don't see any of that in this story.

I hope everyone at St Kilda acknowledge the part their club played in Owen's downfall and they do something meaningful to help him.
 
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pablo668

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Yeah read that earlier today, it was everything several in here have called it already. Tough, confronting, harrowing read.

Hope things are better for him now.

Just quickly, people in charge of junior squads at foot clubs have to have a working with children check? I'm a teacher so I have to. Can't see why coaches et al wouldn't have to as well.
 

Lavender Bushranger

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Aug 25, 2005
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The St Kilda football club literally ruined this guy's life. I know everyone has to take some personal responsibility for their lives, but look at what the Saints did to him.

* Paedophiles in charge of St Kilda's little league team in the late 1970's. Countless number of young boys (including 9yo Rod Owen) being molested by the scumbags that parents trusted were looking after their kids on match days.

* St Kilda officials telling Owen's dying father they'd make sure his 15yo son finished his schooling at Mentone Grammar, but instead they promoted him to their senior list a few months later and coerced him into quitting school and signing a $30k contract. Ian Stewart admitted the club was on the ropes and they were doing anything they could to stop talented young players from slipping through the net.

"We'll look after you. You don't need school. You won't ever need to worry about a job"

* Saints officials pushed amphetamine tablets onto the grief-stricken 16yo kid before a game. They literally got him hooked on drugs... They encouraged an underage kid to go on drinking benders with the other players where drugs became a normalised part of his life.

* They rebuffed Owen's mother when she complained to the club that he was underage and he should still be at school.

"You have no right to stop him... He's a star player now... You'll just have to learn to live with it..."

* Endless nights of boozing and drug-taking at the Saints disco which were heavily promoted to club members that "all players were in attendance". Saints directors and officials boozing on with them, no doubt celebrating the packed disco and all the money coming in through the till.

Culture... the word became a meme here on Big Footy, but this was the St Kilda club culture. To this day, everyone associated with St Kilda laughs about it when they reminisce. "We never had a good footy team, but we had the best social club..."

*
Owen suffered an ACL rupture when his foot got stuck in the infamous Moorabbin mud (thanks to Saints groundskeepers heavily watering before matches in order to drag opposition teams down to their level and keep the scores close... Another source of mirth for St Kilda people.)

* Finally, when the injury-plagued 25yo Owen told Saints officials he was addicted to speed, they sacked him. Just like that. They ruined the guy and then washed their hands of him... What a club.


Owen might've been a tearaway, troubled kid who became his own worst enemy, but the Saints were the cause of many of his issues and they were his enablers at every step of the way. You sometimes hear the cliché that AFL clubs recruit kids and through teamwork, discipline and purpose, they turn those kids into good men. I don't see any of that in this story.

I hope everyone at St Kilda acknowledge the part their club played in Owen's downfall and they do something meaningful to help him.
To be fair, the only difference to what you've described at St. Kilda and other clubs at the the same time - was winning.

Not a single thing you've described wasn't exactly the same at all VFL clubs at the time.

The reason St. Kilda get lumped with it and are the poster boy for it - was only because they were rubbish on-field.
 

Lavender Bushranger

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Yeah read that earlier today, it was everything several in here have called it already. Tough, confronting, harrowing read.

Hope things are better for him now.

Just quickly, people in charge of junior squads at foot clubs have to have a working with children check? I'm a teacher so I have to. Can't see why coaches et al wouldn't have to as well.
Of the 3 junior clubs I played for 30-35 years ago, 2 had strong rumours of paedophile coaches.

1 assistant coach of my U13 team handed out dingers to kids at training for a laugh.

At one of the other clubs, a guy different to the one rumoured to be a creep, was actually busted for it.

It's actually just bizarre looking back that this was just overlooked.
 

Lavender Bushranger

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You're incredibly naive Back One Out if you think this type of behaviour at all clubs wasn't common practice.

It's just that no one cares when you win.

It's the reason why I look down my nose at the average footy fan. The sort of sh*t behaviour that the average loser footy fan turns a blind eye to because the guy wears their team's jumper is just disgraceful really.

If you win, no one cares. If you lose, it's a problem.

That's the whole problem with sporting culture across the country and always has been.
 

the hypnotoad

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You're incredibly naive Back One Out if you think this type of behaviour at all clubs wasn't common practice.

It's just that no one cares when you win.

It's the reason why I look down my nose at the average footy fan. The sort of sh*t behaviour that the average loser footy fan turns a blind eye to because the guy wears their team's jumper is just disgraceful really.

If you win, no one cares. If you lose, it's a problem.

That's the whole problem with sporting culture across the country and always has been.
Tip of a very big iceberg ... look at the US gymnastics program, penn state university's football team ... so much human corruption and evil under the guise of the respectability of sport ... same principle as churches, etc
 

Lavender Bushranger

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Tip of a very big iceberg ... look at the US gymnastics program, penn state university's football team ... so much human corruption and evil under the guise of the respectability of sport ... same principle as churches, etc
I've had the odd social beer over the last couple of years with some VFL 'legends' that I've met through mutual acquaintances - and the stories of what these guys nused to get up to are simply outrageous. I'm talking Essendon, Hawthorn and Carlton players.

As a young kid back in the day you heard about this stuff and thought it was the stuff of legends. But now being in my 40s, having kids and basically being an adult, I listen to these guys and think 'fu** what a deadshit you are'.

I'm speaking generally here, but most of these guys still think the sh*t they used to do and get away with was really cool. It's cringe.

The big difference, is that these guys were from 'big clubs' and won. So it was revered. You lose, and suddenly everyone thinks it's an issue.
 

the hypnotoad

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yeah, but it's also now being seen in the context of wider social problems ... turning a blind eye for so long for what fckwit blokes did and got away with, and were allowed to get away with, for so long ... and unfortunately still do ...
 

Bunk Moreland

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Yeah read that earlier today, it was everything several in here have called it already. Tough, confronting, harrowing read.

Hope things are better for him now.

Just quickly, people in charge of junior squads at foot clubs have to have a working with children check? I'm a teacher so I have to. Can't see why coaches et al wouldn't have to as well.
Yep without question you have to have a WWCC.
 

Bunk Moreland

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I've had the odd social beer over the last couple of years with some VFL 'legends' that I've met through mutual acquaintances - and the stories of what these guys nused to get up to are simply outrageous. I'm talking Essendon, Hawthorn and Carlton players.

As a young kid back in the day you heard about this stuff and thought it was the stuff of legends. But now being in my 40s, having kids and basically being an adult, I listen to these guys and think 'fu** what a deadshit you are'.

I'm speaking generally here, but most of these guys still think the sh*t they used to do and get away with was really cool. It's cringe.

The big difference, is that these guys were from 'big clubs' and won. So it was revered. You lose, and suddenly everyone thinks it's an issue.
Pretty weird post. The discussion here and the post you replied to is talking about paedophilia. I wouldn’t be comparing it to other “sh*t they used to do and get away with”.
 

Blue1980

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Jun 9, 2011
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I've had the odd social beer over the last couple of years with some VFL 'legends' that I've met through mutual acquaintances - and the stories of what these guys nused to get up to are simply outrageous. I'm talking Essendon, Hawthorn and Carlton players.

As a young kid back in the day you heard about this stuff and thought it was the stuff of legends. But now being in my 40s, having kids and basically being an adult, I listen to these guys and think 'fu** what a deadshit you are'.

I'm speaking generally here, but most of these guys still think the sh*t they used to do and get away with was really cool. It's cringe.

The big difference, is that these guys were from 'big clubs' and won. So it was revered. You lose, and suddenly everyone thinks it's an issue.
I think there are layers to this. Obviously even the most professional clubs of the 80s like Hawthorn, Carlton and Essendon would of had players regularly getting up to things that would never fly this century, or probably not even the mid to late 90s when things had gone mostly fully professional.

However, I think St Kilda being a rabble made things worse in Owens case.

Desperate for anyone who could play at all, he made his debut at 16, that would of been unlikely to happen at any other club at that time.

Ian Stewart just seemed to want a quick fix and to hell with the consequences. Being rubbish would of created its own pressure with that attitude as well, and different times obviously.

I do think their culture would of been worse than other sides though. Just as I am sure Carlton’s culture in the 2000s was way worse than say Sydney’s.
 

Blue1980

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Pretty weird post. The discussion here and the post you replied to is talking about paedophilia. I wouldn’t be comparing it to other “sh*t they used to do and get away with”.
I know what they meant, more in relation to the partying drinking drugs etc

The pedo stuff was with the little league side which is super messed up, and goes above and beyond anything else.

That was the fuse that lit the problem, then actions by St Kilda and Ian Stewart proceeded to pour gasoline over it.
 

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