Hall of Fame – Anthony Pasquali

2006 Hall of Fame Inductee – Anthony Pasquali

3rd in WRFC Senior Best & Fairest : 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2002.
Third 18 Best & Fairest : 1983.
Most consistent : 1994.
Brown Bros Award :1989, 1996.
Premierships : (Seniors) 1988, 1991, 1994. (Reserves) 1984. Grand Final: 2002
Playing Coach : 2001-2003. (won 26, drew 1, lost 23.)
Vice-captain : 1996-1998
O& M Representative: 1989, 1992-1996. (12 times)
VCFL Representative: 1992, 1994-1996. (7 times)
O&M All Star Team : 1991,1992, 1994-6, 2001, 2002
Coach Benalla :1999-2000.
GVFL Morrison Medallist :1999.
Benalla F.C. Best & Fairest : 1999.
GVFL Representative : 1999, 2000

It is a story that has often been told, of a boy who lived on a tobacco farm at King Valley, grew up listening to the Wangaratta Rovers games on the radio and decided he wanted to play with them. At 16, ANTHONY CLAUDE PASQUALI walked into the sports store owned by former Rovers stars John Welch and Eric Cornelius and asked how he could join up. The rest is history. “Pas” was to become one of the greatest players to wear the Brown and Gold, won frequent representative honours, became the club’s games record-holder and coached his beloved Hawks for 3 years. It all began in 1983 when he and his two mates Frank Anania and Carl Tonini graduated from College to the Rovers Thirds. “Pas won the Thirds Best & Fairest that year and served a solid apprenticeship in the Reserves. By 1985 and under the watchful guidance of Merv “Farmer” Holmes, he was ready for senior football and became an established player. With many players of similar vintage also making their way into the Rovers side in the next couple of years an exciting era was about unfold. “Pas” provided a wonderful example to the younger fellows with his meticulous preparation for games and his attitude to fitness. His marking skills allowed him to play “above his height” and his stamina enabled him to run all day. He was probably best suited to a wing, but really, he could play anywhere. A noted big occasion player, he was a member of the 1998, 1991 and 1994 premiership teams. To his eternal regret a stress fracture of the foot restricted him to just 9 games in 1993 and robbed him of another premiership. He had moved away from Wangaratta due to employment in the late 80’s but continued to travel home each weekend such was his love of the club. His contribution to the Rovers “Golden Era” was immense and Ovens & Murray selectors also recognised his prowess, as he represented the league on 12 occasions. He also played for the Victorian Country at three Australian Country Carnivals, among 7 appearances in the big “V” guernsey. “Pas” was awarded with selection in the O & M’s “All-Star Team seven times over a 12-year period, the most recent when he led the Rovers into the 2002 Grand Final. Several years earlier, he made one of his toughest decisions. He had been the Rovers assistant coach and regarded it as a natural progression in his career to take a coaching job in his own right. When Benalla came knocking in 1999, he accepted their coaching position, a role he held down for two seasons. He added further laurels to a glittering C.V as he won the Goulburn Valley’s Morrison Medal and Benalla’s Best and Fairest and represented the G.V in both years. His career highlight came in 2001, when the Rovers appointed him as captain-coach, a post he had coveted as his “dream job”. In his three years at the helm, the Hawks reached the finals each year, but 2002 was a coaching triumph. His side, not highly regarded in many quarters during the season, hit the front early in the last quarter of the Grand Final but couldn’t go on with the job against North Albury. “Pas” retired as a coach in 2003 and agreed to play on. Though he had nothing to prove, he was showing great form when injury struck in the form of a broken leg. With typical courage he fought back the following year, but was now living in Melbourne and battled to maintain the fitness level he desired. After 322 games of rare quality, the great career of Anthony Pasquali was over.