Damian Monkhorst

Damian Monkhorst Talks to Nicks!

Questions by Nick’s Members – Interview By Tess

Previous Club:
Woori Yallock
Debut: 1988
D.O.B: 21/8/69
Height: 203 cm.
Weight: 104 kg.
CFC Games: 205
Career Games: 215
Career Goals: 45
Career Span: ’88-’00

1990 Premiership

Tess recently announced the we had an opportunity to talk to Monky, to ask this legend of 1990 a few questions.
So armed with a list of questions from the users of Nick’s, Tess caught up with monky……..

Tess: When did you start at the Pies?

Damian: I went there in 1985.

Tess: How did you come to the Pies?

Damian: I was playing country footy with Woori Yallock and Ian Flack and Billy O’ Keefe they saw me in the high school and the Local side Woori Yallock, they invited me down to the under 19′s. I was about 15 when I went down there.

Tess: How long after starting at CFC before you played senior Football?

Damian: I played um in 87 all the senior practice matches and 1 night game I think.

Tess: As a kid who was your hero?

Damian: Carl Ditritch, Robbie Flower and Leigh Matthews. I didn’t barrack for anyone I just had favorite players.

Tess: How old are you now?

Damian: 35,
(a point I argued with him about…sometimes I am just dumb!)

Tess: What is your involvement with Football at the moment on any level? Do you still go to the footy?

Damian: Playing and coaching at Woori Yallock the senior team and helping out with the kids on Sundays.

Tess: How are your sons progressing and do they wear shoes these days?

Damian: Good.

Tess: How old are they now?

Damian: 14, 2, 10 and 9.

Tess: How tall, what position do they play?

Damian: The 14year old is 6″3′ size 15 foot so he is gunna be a big boy, but yeah there all big.

Tess: Do you want them to play AFL?

Damian: Oh, I would like em too, I’d like em to play some sort of professional sport whatever that is, at this point they probably just don’t know. Whatever they pick is fine, I don’t try and force it upon em but I try and encourage as much sport into them as I can.

Tess: What do you think of the family dynasties that are appearing with the Shaw boys and now the Cloke boys all playing at one club?

Damian: Well if their good enough they can play, if their not good enough they don’t! I don’t think the name should be used to encourage a person to be picked up but if they deserve a game by all means give em a go.

Tess: What would your reaction be if a coach one of your boys was playing under publicly had a go at him in the Media like Mick did to Jason?

Damian: LOL that wouldn’t worry me I grew up with Leigh Matthews tearing strips off me, if the boy is big enough to play he can take the criticism as well.

Tess: That night game back in the 90′s when you ran through our banner and ran straight into the Essendon players doing their run throughs and started a blue, did it fire up the boys and was it a deliberate ploy?

Damian: That was spur of the moment, it fired us up and we won quite convincingly. It was the game that caused the mêlée rule to come in, I ran through the banner and the group ran to the left, I was on the outside and turned and saw I was heading straight for em. So I thought I may as well do it!

Tess: did anyone follow you through them?

Damian: No I was in there all by myself with 21 of their guys punching the hell outta me, no-one realized I was in there they all ran past. Gary Pert and Alan Richardson came back to give me a hand…. yeah a bit of fun.

Tess: A game we played out at Waverley against the Saints in 1993. We were down all day, but then Chrisso got knocked out and the whole match turned around. We wound up belting them.
Question: Why was Collingwood so poor before Chrisso got knocked out then so good after it? Did they boys do it for Chrisso that day? If so were there extreme circumstances / reasoning for “doing it for Chrisso” that day?

Damian: I always knew Crisso was a poor player and held us back, thats pretty much the answer!

Tess: The best three players you have played with?

Damian: Gavin Brown. Tony Shaw. and Darren Millane. Browny is very underrated.

Tess: Most courageous player you played with ?

Damian: Gavin Brown followed by Shawy!

Tess: Best captain you played under ?

Damian: Shawy by a mile.

Tess: What coaches and who was the best you played under?

Damian: Leigh Matthews was easily the best um I played under Shawy I played under Tim Watson at St Kilda but Leigh was the best Coach.

Tess: What was it like when Shawy took over was it weird?

Damian: Ahh it was difficult, it was difficult especially after being a close mate being coach a few players struggled with it and I was probably one of them. Thats part and parcel of it and its all gone now.

Tess: Hows your body holding up post football?

Damian: yeah not bad

Tess: No major injuries or long term effects?

Damian: Well I was beautiful once and now missing a few teeth and a have a few scares, but nah nothing major.

Tess: What’s your favorite memory from your career at the Pies?

Damian: 1990 premiership! The first game I played.

Tess: Who was that against?

Damian: Fitzroy at Victoria Park, we won I sat on the bench for the whole game, there was that one, and I sat on the bench for the whole game for my 50th as well. For my 100th game I told Leigh I wasn’t gunna show up.

Tess: Sounds like you had a good relationship with Leigh.

Damian: Yeah we did, we got alone pretty well.

Tess: Do you still see him at all?

Damian: No; I’ve only spoken to him twice since I retired.

Tess: What were the differences between St Kilda and CFC?

Damian: um… the culture of the Football Club was totally different.

Tess: In what way?

Damian: I think the leadership was certainly done by the coaching staff at Collingwood, while Leigh Matthews was coach he controlled almost everything. The facilities, Collingwood’s was much better, the outside structure the network as in supporters being a lot more accessible and helpful to the players at Collingwood than St Kilda.

Tess: Do you think thats because of the inclusive nature of Collingwood?

Damian: Yeah thats has something to do with it, but I wasn’t there long enough to really make that judgment I was only there for 1 year as a player and 1 as a coach. I just found the structure outside of the Football group alot more accessible at Collingwood.

Tess: Any significance by wearing the number 1 on his jumper?

Damian: No not really, Billy Cook the great property steward I was wearing no 38 for my 1st senior game I think it was, and he ended up passing me number 1. I thought it was a great honor to wear number 1.

Tess: Who wore it before you?

Damian: Ricky Barham he was the only other player to not captain the side to wear number 1 so yeah it was just a great honor to wear the number 1 jumper with all those names on the locker that had previously captained the side. It was a good reminder to make sure you pull your weight and show some leadership.

Tess: Do you think they should return the number 1 to the Captain, if it inspired you so much?

Damian: Yeah it did, it did but it’s really up to the player I suppose I liked it some guys might not.

Tess: Did you really enjoy the rough stuff out on the field like it looked you did?

Damian: hee hee hee hee yeah that probably wrecked my game in the end, with all the rules and the suggestion to hold back.

Tess: You couldn’t play your natural game?

Damian: Yeah it was becoming to sterile and I liked stirring up Plugger or getting amongst a bit of Biffo just to get everyone going. Its good for the game the way it’s going.

Tess: If you were younger could you play now, if not why not?

Damian: I think so yeah I think so. There was a period during 93/94 when I was able to run behind the play but the game got that quick I couldn’t keep up. Plus my body shape was all wrong for current style of play.

Tess: Before 1990′s premiership did you realize that we had played in 37 GF’s for a 13/24 win loss ratio? Was that mentioned?

Damian: Nah I was in pretty bad form so Leigh took me home with a Video called Monky’s highlights, by the time I put the video in the machine and sat down to watch it… it was over! But Footballers aren’t supporters, they don’t know all the trivial bits and pieces they just wanna play good Footy.

Tess: Was any of the 1990 team invited to have anything to do with the last two GF attempts?

Damian: No, not that I know off.

Tess: would you have done it?

Damian: Gladly but I don’t wanna be a player that hangs around the Football Club after your finished putting pressure on the new players, it’s their time now. Unless the Club wants me to help them with something like Ruck work or Center bounce so forth whatever, Micks got control over that.

Tess: What do you think of Guy Richards?

Damian: Fantastic I hope that the persevere with Guy he adds something to the team as he allows Fraser to play a little bit forward which I don’t think Josh is gunna be a dominant Ruckman, or a dominant forward I think he will be like a McKernan. I was 18 when I was playing senior football, at some point you have to stand up and say I am the number 1 ruckman.

Tess: What was the feeling like when you kicked the goal from 40 out to bury Essendon in the 1990 Grand Final?

Damian: Erie, cause the crowd went quiet there was no cheering just silence 100,000 and it was pretty quiet, I think that was when everyone realized we were gunna win it. Then all of a sudden Leigh came running down from the Coaches box waving his arms and getting everyone going, that couple of second in between myself kicking the goal and Leigh coming down it was like a silence. Then all of a sudden the song started going, it was a good feeling.

Tess: I’ve never watch the game on video.

Damian: I watched it for the first time must have been 2 years ago it was just after I finished with St Kilda, I wanted to feel good about myself you know how it is.

Tess: On you own with a few drinks or with anyone?

Damian: With the Missus and my kids.

Tess: How long did you party for?

Damian: Too long, thats probably my biggest disappointment in footy in that after we won it we came back to training not with the same hunger and desire we had the year before. The players were heavy everyone was satisfied and we lost a lot of games at the start of the season and we had to win 10 in a row to make the finals. We won 9 in a row and Darren had a badly corked thigh and I had my face smashed in (again? tess) no that was the first time I lost all my teeth. We lost to Geelong and it cost us dearly we didn’t make the finals, if we had won some earlier in the season and made the finals we would have been alright.

Tess: When did you first get any sleep?

Damian: After a week we had to go to London so I came home one night to grab some clothes and off we went.

Tess: Were you married in 1990? hee hee

Damian: No but then again I’ve never been married, still not.

Tess: Thoughts on Collingwood now compared to when you played.

Damian: It’s fantastic, they seem to have a good group of young kids that seem to be pretty passionate about each other like we were. I hope some of em will stand up and play long careers, I think the coach is doing a good job. I just hope they don’t get to over exposed when things start going really well for them, I really think Grant Thomas is handling the St Kilda boys really well.

Tess: Do you think this year is at all similar to you guys in 91?

Damian: No not at all losing players of the caliber of Buckley, Burns, Fraser even Tarrant was out for a while would destroy any team, it’s just so even these days now.

Tess: Do you have any involvement at the club?

Damian: Not right now my boys take a lot of my time, but then again if the question was posed about helping Guy Richards or something like that I would put my hand up but I wouldn’t wanna impose myself on the club.

Tess: Do you have any involvement with any AFL Club at all?

Damian: nah none at all!

Tess: have they ever approached you?

Damian: I was involved with St Kilda there with Malcolm Blight as assistant coach, they have shown interest but I haven’t got any!

Tess: If you could have a chat with the current players as an ex player cum statesman who and what would you say to them?

Damian: I wouldn’t like to just sit down with any of the guys about Football. They deal with Football every hour of each day of the week, if they wanna ask me questions about Football I would answer them. It’s something that um, they come to you for as I said you can’t impose yourself on them.

Tess: Do you have any plans to step into the ring again…and if so do you think you will make it past the 1st round next time?

Damian: LoL I would gladly do it again Mark Geyer just got lucky, I landed 3 punches and he just closed his eyes and though a hay-maker and got me.

Tess: Your thoughts on Darren!

Damian: What can you say, he was a great man he would have been the next captain after Shawy without a doubt, it was Collingwoods bad luck and the Millane family’s sadness.

Tess: There seemed to be a hole in the side in 92 with Darren gone.

Damian: Yeah but No excuses we finished equal top so that was um… that was um we got over that it was something that happened to us but all the boys loved Darren and he loved all the boys. It was just one of those big holes that came into it but we finished in second spot and got knocked out by St Kilda because of the way the finals were structured back then. As for Darren it was bad for the club but more importantly it was bad for the Family.

Tess: Have done the back of the open top car thing yet?

Damian: Yeah a game against St Kilda last year I think it was, Scottie Burns and Spider were taking pot shots at me with the ball during their warm-ups. I marked one from Burnsie but spider couldn’t hit the side of a dunny.

Tess: What are you doing now?

Damian: Employing about 16 plumbers, and god knows how many tradies converting warehouses, building factories… keeping busy.


We would like to thank all the posters on Nick’s BB for their questions and Tess for putting all of this together, and of course we’d like to thank Damian for taking the time to talk us fans ;) #1