Great Western and the Wimmera are mourning the loss of a football icon.
Rodney Matheson passed away suddenly during the week aged just 56. Matheson is being remembered as a “larger than life character” who was everyone’s friend.
He leaves a lasting legacy on the football landscape in the Wimmera, contributing significantly to Rupanyup and Great Western Football Netball Clubs.
AFL Wimmera Mallee general manager and Matheson’s friend Steve McQueen, who played alongside Matheson at Rupanyup in the 1980s, said he was a great role model.
“I played with him in the early ‘80s when I first went into the senior grades. He played full-forward for years in Rupanyup’s reserves,” he said.
“It was fantastic for us young kids as we were starting out after leaving under-16s having him there. He was a gentle giant and someone I remembered who had fantastic skills and a beautiful kick on him.
“He basically looked after us as young guys coming through ranks.”
After moving south, Matheson played a huge role in keeping Great Western Football Netball Club going.
He was president when the club came out of recess at the end of the 2011 season, playing a key part in the success the club is having today, on and off the field.
“No one wanted to do the job to get us out of recess but Rod stood up and led us back,” Great Western secretary Danny Hoare said.
“He worked his bum off for three years and was pivotal in helping us move to the Mininera league.
“One of Rod’s proudest moments was when we won the reserves premiership in 2013. He was such a passionate supporter and that win meant so much to him.”
Rod’s son Hugh Matheson said he will remember his father as a dedicated, hard-working man who only wanted to make things better for those around him.
“Dad wanted to do anything to make Stawell, Ararat and Great Western a better place. He was everyone’s friend,” he said.
“He spent hours, upon hours, upon hours working to make the football club and the community a better place for his kids as well as everyone else.
“He also couldn’t have done any of it without my mum Lauryn. She was always so supportive of him when he was spending so much time elsewhere.”
Despite playing a massive role in football in the region, Hugh Matheson said his father’s greatest legacy is his family. “He loved his family and was always so proud of everything we achieved.”