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Brian 'Butch' Hemming #38 - The Player Who Single-Handedly Won The 1985 Premiership!!!

​​Presented by Tiger champion, Tony 'Aussie' Wynd

Premiership Hero!!


Brian 'Butch' Hemming

Joined Queanbeyan Tigers in 1982 from St Mary’s (NTFL)

1st Grade Premiership Player – 1985

1st Grade Leading Goal Kicker – 1984 (97 Goals)

Total 1st Grade Games with Queanbeyan - 44

In the summer of 1981/82, a couple of Queanbeyan Tigers played football for St Mary’s in Darwin. During that time, Doug Daniel and John Lysewycz (who were champions and role models for the younger Tigers at that time) had the dubious pleasure of sharing a house with a ‘colourful football identity’ by the name of Brian ‘Butch’ Hemming.


Part way through the 1982 season, they managed to convince Butch to join the Tigers. Butch has fond memories of his arrival from Darwin, stating “I froze my arse off the moment I arrived, and I stayed frozen for 4 years.” The Tigers were starting to build a stronger team at that time and finished third that year, losing the preliminary final after leading at ¾ time. However, this was the start of a rise that has seen the Tigers’ senior men’s team in the finals basically ever since.  According to Butch, there was no co‑incidence between his arrival and the team making the finals. Indeed, by 1985 the Tigers had won their first premiership in decades, with Hemming kicking 6 goals. 


Hemming says that his time at Queanbeyan was one of the best times of his life. He remembers (but there is no documented proof to back it up) that the Queanbeyan Age had a headline that Hemming was ‘just recruit the Tigers needed’. Butch states, without a moment of hesitation, that he is sure he was “the best recruit Chook ever signed”.


With a scruffy beard, gruff demeanour, and no shortage of self-confidence, Butch was an intimidating presence on the football field and had his opponents regularly looking over their shoulder when he was in the vicinity.  Indeed, if his team-mates were not sure what he would do next, how was the opposition supposed to know?  In reality, Butch was more bluff and bluster than anything else, but the opposition teams did not know that at the time.


This menacing persona was part of the intrigue in the build up to the 1985 Grand Final as, earlier in the season, the Ainslie Captain/Coach had viciously broken Doug’s skull in a behind the play incident.  No-one from the Tigers club did anything to dispel the rumours that ‘big, bad Butch’ was going to exact revenge on the day. Of course, nothing untoward actually happened, but the threat lingered and may have helped to distract the opposition.

Despite his success and fond memories, Hemming has a small personal regret in that the preliminary final loss in 1984 left him stranded on 97 goals for the year. In hindsight, perhaps the world was just not ready for the self-induced celebrations if he was to kick his 100th goal in a Grand Final.


At the time of the opening of the Tigers’ licensed club in 1983, Hemming was recovering from a broken arm, but had been appointed the club’s first ever doorman, only partly in an attempt to keep him out of the way while the official ceremony and speeches were on. Later that night, with most of the senior players and supporters in attendance, the opening day celebrations evolved into re-enactments of World Championship Wrestling (the forerunner to today’s WWE).  During one of the main wrestling events, a prominent club official, who shall remain anonymous but whose initials are G.I.S.I.K., landed awkwardly on his arm, re-fracturing it and keeping him of the field (and the training track) for another 4 weeks.


He also recalls another occasion when he and different prominent club official were asked to ‘immediately leave’ the Southern Cross Club in Woden due to a ‘distinctive fragrance’ coming from the ‘unusual cigarettes’ they had been smoking. 


Above all though, whenever the 1985 premiership is mentioned, he chimes in with ‘you couldn’t have done it without me’ and when not feeling so shy, ‘even though we had a good team that year that was hard to beat, I won that premiership on my own’. If you don’t watch where you are going, you may be able to hear this statement first hand during the at the Tigers 100th birthday Gala dinner to be held on 6 April 2024.

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