Robe’s Alan Mader was a football club legend and a loved community member of the town.
“Ali”, as he was known, had great individual and team success playing for the Roosters at a club and league level, winning the club best and fairest a record nine times from 1958 to 1968 and the league Mail Medal three times in 1959, 1962 and 1963. Ali was also a runner-up for the Mail Medal in 1961 and he won the reserves Mail Medal in 1973 at 36 years old.
Ali played in Robe’s 1968 A grade premiership side for the Southern Ports Football League, also coaching the 1984 senior colts to a premiership in the Mid South East Football League.
Ali began playing footy in Robe in 1958, spending the next 23 seasons as a rover and wingman, dominating the field even when sent to the forward line. Ali spent a season in the forward line in 1966, taking home the MSE goal kicking award for that year.
This also happened to be one out of the two years that he missed out on the club best and fairest from 1958 to 1968. Ali missed out on the other best and fairest when he spent the season playing in Woodville in the SANFL, moving to Adelaide for that entire year.
The club legend was described as a “cut above the rest,” being recognised as one of the most gifted players to ever play for Robe and in the Southern Ports League.
Ali was born in Angaston, South Australia and went to school at the Glossop High School. He was employed by the EWS after finishing school, moving to Lucindale and playing for the local footy club.
Ali met his wife Rosalie at a dance at the Greenways Hall, and they courted for two years before marrying, holding their wedding at the Methodist church in Kingston in 1961.
Ali remained a busy man in the following years working for the Robe council, as he was held in high regard around the town for his grader work as well as being a great operator while using dozer, loader and drag-line. Ali was good at operating any machinery he put his hands to, making him one of the best.
Ali found a passion with his son Greg for fishing, buying a crayfishing boat and licence, fishing for 10 years before selling up. Ali had a great relationship with Greg, as the two moved on to a new passion, starting an earthmoving business, running it for several years until selling just before Ali retired.
Ali was an all-rounder as he was a school champion at swimming, a great cricketer, club champion at golf and of course a legend of football. Ali was known for resting in the forward lines, always being able to pin point the drop kick and hit targets consistently.
Ali’s favourite footy memory was when he was 14 when he received his first pair of boots, as he nearly wore them out on the first day of having them, running from one goal to the other while looking back and checking how much mud he was flicking up behind him.
Ali played one game with his son Greg at Kalangadoo which was a highlight in itself, with the two kicking six goals each. Outside Ali’s busy life with friends, family and work, playing football for the Robe Football Club was his passion.
Ali made a number of friendships along the way, building strong relationships with his fellow teammates that would last a life time in Ian “Candles” Nunan and Paul “Zic” McKenny, with the three lads being inseparable.
Ali Mader died on August 18, 2018, at his home in Robe.
Well over 100 people attended Ali’s funeral to pay their respects on August 28, with his children thanking the community. They mentioned how proud Ali would have been to see the amount of people come out, and he would have shown his appreciation with his trademark greeting of a big thumbs up.