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Title: ... p92 - Great Comments and Memories of Geoff Robinson by Steve Kelly

Great to see Robbo on the site! A true hardman. he was responsible (like the great Les Johns before him) for putting more bums on seats at Belmore than any other player including Baa Baa Lamb and Turvey Mortimer.
 
Robbo was afraid of no-one and when he took the ball up you just knew he was either going to pulverise the defenders or get hit that hard that his hair and sweat would fly around amid the oohs and aahs from the crowd. A great entertainer and it was always worth the price of admission just to see him play. His dismantling of the Parramatta shieldwall play by charging into the Parramatta players still rates as essential viewing on football highlight programs! Peter Sterling jokingly remarked recently that he still gets headaches arising from that incident when Robbo shoved him aside to break up the wall!
 
His clashes with heavyweights such as Donnelly/Ayliffe/Roach/Young/Randall/Bowden etc were legendary.
 
I managed to have a bit of a chat with him once when he was on duty at the Rugby League Exhibit at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A very humble man he indicated he was not a celebrity but enjoyed the team aspect of the game and would run through a brickwall for his team if he had to (and he did on many occasions).
 
He nominated Manly s Terry Randall as the hardest player he came across. He reckoned that Randall was the only player who managed to legitimately hurt him in a tackle-he did badly break his cheekbone once but that was the result of a stray elbow in a match. He was off for several weeks after that and the gatetakings of any of the games at Belmore in that period plummeted!
 
Robbo was an integral part of the great Bulldogs teams of the early to mid eighties. With forwards like Peponis/Folkes/Gillespie/Battese/Hughes/Kelly/Tunks around him, Robbo had plenty of classy players to allow him the licence to take the team forward and he developed some good ball skills to go with his aggressive non stop style.
 
He did manage to play for Sydney against Country in the annual representative game but was unlucky to miss out on State of Origin where he would have been a sensation with his style of play. Former Australian Captain, Queenslander Greg Veivers said after watching the 1980 Grand Final that Robbo with his style of play and relatively light weight for a forward would not last long in League but he was proven wrong.
 
I remember a classic try he set up for Chris Anderson (his coach at Halifax) against Souths at Belmore. Robbo steamed onto the ball from about the halfway line and burst through. He was pretty quick at the best of times as he was a former centre with Chester Hill Hornets and he got to the 25 metre line and threw a wicked reverse flick pass to a flying Anderson who placed the ball under the sticks! In that same match, I think, he absolutely pulverised hooker Joe Thomas in a legal tackle . Joe later went on to become a Bulldog player and played in winning grand finals.
 
It still sticks in my craw that in the 1986 Grand Final against Parramatta in the dying seconds with The Eels leading 8-6 and illegally laying all over players in the tackle with the Bulldogs  close to their line (and Eels players not getting penalised), only inches from the line the Bulldogs hooker looked the wrong way when passing at the play the ball with Robbo on the blind side unmarked where he would have strolled over. He went to Halifax that same year and from the reports from Halifax supporters on this site was just as popular and successful there!
 
I never saw Robbo bested in a blue-he never backed down from anyone. In the semi final of 1980 against Easts, Royce Ayliffe singled him out after a scrum broke up probably to try and outpsyche him and Robbo didn't hesitate to return fist for fist, headbutt for headbutt. He got the better of Ayliffe and I believe scored an important psychological victory because in the Grand Final the Roosters props Ayliffe and Harvey were powerless against him and fellow prop John Coveney (another hard man!)
 
I can't recall whether he had any stoushes with the great Les Boyd but he certainly had plenty with Dallas Donnelly.
He absolutely blitzed Donnelly on the sideline one day at Belmore after his hair got pulled savagely from behind and after copping a shove in the back-the crowd was on their feet the entire time throughout that game which featured several all in brawls/ Raudonikis once grabbing Turvey Mortimer in a stranglehold/Robbo and Donnelly clashing repeatedly (at one stage Donnelly dropping down on Robbo s throat with an elbow jolt like World Championship Wrestling) and both being eventually sent off/Cooper and Tunks I think slugging it out like Ali and Frazier! Those Wests/Canterbury local derbies always drew the biggest crowds to Belmore and some of the players playing the game then would put todays pussies in the shade for toughness.e.g  Raudonikis/Boyd/Cooper/O Grady/Kelly/Tunks/Robbo etc.
 
Robbo was also a player that often drew the admiration of opposing supporters who I think admired his great heart and never say die attitude. I recall a Balmain supporter friend of mine who lamented the loss of his team once due to "Robbo going berserko" in a match between the clubs and proving the difference between the two sides. He admired his will to win and never say die attitude and his ability to cop a hammering and come back eagerly for more.
 
Robbo you were a true inspiration to all Bulldogs supporters and with your trademark hair flaying around and your socks around your ankles and jersey hanging out, we always knew we were in for something special when you trotted out onto the field. You were a great clubman and while you didn t make the list of best Bulldog players recently compiled , your deeds will live on in Bulldog heartland for ever!

p92 - Great Comments and Memories of Geoff Robinson by Steve Kelly

Appears in the following pages ....P92_Geoff ROBINSON
Date of posting ... 06-Jan-2009
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