Sport

Mate at the same gate

by
June 13, 2018

Sam Muzzi (middle) is congratulated on 50 years of volunteering on the gate at Congupna by club stalwarts Wendy Sidebottom and Deb McColl.

Any player or spectator who has entered the gates at Congupna’s Memorial Park in the past half-century would have met Sam Muzzi.

The popular personality greets home and opposition players with his jovial Italian accent, permitting them entry into the ground.

Muzzi was on Saturday recognised for his 50 years on the gate at The Road on a day of celebration for the club.

Congupna had a joint reunion of its 1978 senior premiership side as well as its 1968 under-17 premiership team.

While those thirds players have gone on to other endeavours, Muzzi has remained the constant at the club.

He started charging entry and selling programs in 1968, two years after joining The Road.

Former Congupna president Chris Drum said it was a just recognition for someone who shied away from the limelight.

‘‘He just loves being involved and loves having a job to do, he’s one of those volunteers that doesn’t want the accolades, but just enjoys doing it and being an extra helping hand,’’ he said.

‘‘Having him there every week, every home game, you don’t have to worry about who’s on the gate and it’s just one less person you’ve got to worry about.’’

Muzzi has seen the club celebrate seven senior football premierships combined from its time in three leagues — the Kyabram District Football Association, Benalla-Tungamah league and the Tungamah league — although its inaugural Murray league title is still in the making.

Having previously served on the committee, Drum said one of Muzzi’s roles was organising the raffle.

‘‘He used to do the raffle on the gate and then he’d get someone to draw it and give the kids a dollar to put the winning number on the chalkboard and walk around the ground and then they’d go see Sam, who’d have a tray of meat,’’ he said.

After 50 winters spent performing the same job, Drum said Muzzi would be at the front gate of Memorial Park for many more.

‘‘He’ll keep doing it, he loves counting up the money at afternoon tea when the gates close and then giving it to the treasurer,’’ he said.

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