Big Dipper to kick off Ballina AFL fundraiser
AFL legend and Brownlow medallist Robert "Dipper" DiPierdomenico believes he would have been a success in any era of Aussie Rules.
And who could deny that claim after the larger-than-life personality played with broken ribs and a punctured lung in the 1989 grand final win with the Hawks.
"Some guys from today wouldn't have been able to handle the 1980s and vice versa - some guys from that era wouldn't make it today," DiPierdomenico said.
"But I can confidently say that I would have made it in either.
"I'm still all over the game. I know every player, where they've come from, who their parents are and what they're about.
"The game has always been tough - it doesn't matter what era you played it in.
"The quality in the AFL has been really good this year. Some of the underdogs like Carlton have stepped up and I always love watching my mighty Hawks."
DiPierdomenico will be in Ballina later this month as guest speaker at the Far North Coast Law Society and the North Coast Chartered Accountants fundraising lunch.
He will not be alone with former rugby league coach and sports journalist Roy Masters also attending.
All money raised from the lunch will go towards AFL Northern Rivers Juniors.
DiPierdomenico is no stranger to Ballina, having been in town several times over the years to promote the game.
He is under no illusion that it is a tough market to break into with other popular sports in the region like rugby league, rugby union and soccer.
"We just have to keep at it and let people know what we're about," DiPierdomenico said.
"I've been lucky enough to stay involved in the game and meet people all around Australia.
"Junior clubs always need funds and to be able to help with that brings a smile to my face.
"I'll always make sure the people who come along to any of our events are entertained."
The lunch will be held at The Point Restaurant on May 27 between noon and 4pm.
Tickets can be bought by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or faxing 6621 6837.