ROBERT Semmens’ role in a unique piece of football folklore has earned him induction into the Tasmanian football hall of fame.
The Cobden man was a member of the 1977 Tasmanian schoolboys’ team which went undefeated throughout the Jubilee National Football Carnival at Hobart.
Football officials have recognised the efforts of that team 36 years on, announcing it as the ninth “legendary” team in the hall of fame.
Semmens, 51, and his 19 77 teammates received the accolade at a gala function at Wrest Point Casino at Hobart on Friday night.
He described induction “a pretty big privilege”.
Other inductees over the years include VFL champions Royce Hart, Ian Stewart and Darrel Baldock.
Semmens yesterday recalled the 1977 carnival with fondness.
“It’s the only time a Tasmanian side has ever gone through a carnival undefeated in any form of the game,” he said.
“It took the Tasmanian people by storm, really, it was unbelievable back in those days.
“We played against Victoria in one match, there were 5000 or more people there.
“They didn’t open the gate until half an hour before the game.
‘‘It was televised on TV and people went to the pub to watch it because they couldn’t get into the ground.”
Semmens described the Tasmanian side as the best team he played in.
His teammates included Chris Riewoldt, the father of Richmond star Jack, and David Cornelius, whose son Aaron is at Brisbane Lions.
“Our captain went and played for Gleneg in South Austraila,” Semmens said.
‘‘He was even saying it was the best team he’d ever played in.
“I still believe it was the best team I ever played in.
“Believe me, we weren’t the most skilled and we weren’t the most talented.
“We played for each other and had a go.”
Semmens grew up in Launceston.
He was 15 when he helped Tasmania to the against-the-odds schoolboys’ title.
He played a handful of senior seasons in Tasmania, including at state of origin level, before joining VFL club Richmond in 1981 and later Footscray in 1983-84.
A cricket teammate convinced him to join Cobden and he played at the Bombers for one season in 1990.
“I was playing at Williamstown in the VFA and it got to the stage I was of sick of having to train nearly every night,” Semmens said.
‘‘I just wanted a bit of fun.
“He said ‘why don’t you come and play at Cobden’.
‘‘I said ‘where the hell is that?’’
Semmens still lives at Cobden with his wife Barbara.
Their son Daniel was an AFL draft hopeful in 2010 and is on the North Ballarat Rebels’ list.
Another son, Drew, represented Australia at the INAS athletics world championships for people with an intellectual disability.