As the city of Melbourne hots up with AFL excitement this week, we take a look back to 1982, the last time Richmond played in a grand final and Victoria won the Gilley’s Shield in Sydney.
We caught up with former Victorian and Australian representative Jo Paez this week to ask her a few questions about her last Gilley’s Shield appearance.
Q: 1982 was your last Gilley’s Shield appearance, how did it feel to go out a winner?
JP: “It was always rewarding to win. Particularly from a team point of view when you have all worked hard together, built up friendships and then you get to share the victory with all these amazing people. It’s the sort of thing that builds life-long friendships.”
Q: After coming off a drawn final in 1981, what was the feeling amongst the team going into the 1982 championships?
JP: “We had a pretty good idea that NSW were going to be our major hurdle again. There was a lot of rain during the tournament and the results of the games weren’t always predictable. We ended up playing NSW in the Grand Final on an outside diamond. It was a 1-1 ball game going into the bottom of the 7th. Ros Culpitt was at 2nd base when a hit went to right centre. As Ros was rounding 3rd, there was an obstruction called. Not the greatest way to win but it did the job.”
Q: You played with some amazing players during your Victorian career, was there a particular mentor that impacted your career?
JP: “I consider myself extremely lucky to have been around so many great players. Many of the players I played with were members of the team that won the first World Championship in Melbourne in 1965. I was lucky enough to be coached by Elinor McKenzie in the first Under 16 National Championship and the following year by Gladys Phillips and Rita Guy (nee Gherardin). Rhonda Boyd and Margaret Swann were like mothers to me in the early days as the baby of the Open Women’s team. They made sure I stayed out of trouble. It was great to be able to reconnect with many of these ladies when we had a reunion to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 World Championship win. They all still share this amazing bond.”
Q: After having such an distinguished career, what advice would you give to the players of today that are looking to represent Victoria?
JP: “Always be up for the challenge in training and in games. Work hard and always support you teammates. The game is filled with individual performances but the greatest reward is when you have worked hard as a team and achieved success together!”
Images below: (Top) The 1982 Victorian Women’s Softball team and (below) the player profiles from the 1982 tournament program.