Graeme joined Canterbury Hockey Club in its inaugural year 1969 from our ‘seed’ club Waratah which had disbanded 2 years before (because a committee member had shot through with all the Club funds which had been raised for an end of season trip to New Zealand).
Graeme had played Under 16’s for Waratah. At 17 Graeme played in our first A Grade team along with Richard Hawson, Eric Perriman, John Lawler, Greg Chambers, Kevin Mitchell, Brian Mitchell, Geoff Keirnan (Coach) Laurie Ford, David Price, Michael Dann and Ken Warn.
Cornes intellectual analytical approach to coaching, administration and playing combined with a fiercely competitive nature has made him integral to Canterbury’s progress. He is vital to much of the Club’s progress in history.
(Geoff Collis Life Member)
Graeme was an inside forward and centre half. His aim was to provide short passing links between the defenders and the strikers – to keep the passes short and controlled rather than long and hit or miss. He was a Tasmanian Under 21 Representative in 1970 (Hobart) and 1971 (South Australia) and Senior Representative in 1972 (Sydney). Graeme also played in several Canterbury Indoor Premiership Teams in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Graeme played A Grade from 1969 to 1984, missing 2 years with OHA in the early 1970’s. In 1981 he was a member of the Canterbury A Grade Men’s Grand Final Team which lost on penalty strokes. Graeme played A Reserve from 1985 to about 1992 and then Second Grade and Veterans from about 1993 until his retirement in 2014. He was Playing Coach of Second Grade for about 20 years in which time Canterbury won at least 10 SHA Premierships. Graeme was selected in Australian Masters teams from 2001-2014. He was Playing Coach of Australian Masters 55s in 2007. His National Masters representation included two trips to Kuala Lumpur (over 50s), Melbourne (50s), Hong Kong (55s), New Zealand (50s and 60s), Korea (50s), Hobart (55s), Birmingham (55s), Singapore (60s).
As a coach he believed strongly in team ethos and contributions by all players – rather than focusing on the best players, and that the team will be successful if the coach improved the skills and contribution of the fringe players. His match plans were based on an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the opposition; and developing a short passing style involving players contributing equally. He believed in the need to imprint the match plan/style of play on all players so everyone had a clear sense of purpose. He designed training drills to work on the weaknesses of the last game; and to continually improve skill level. He recognised that the psychology of individuals varies considerably, and this requires the coach to communicate in different ways to different players. He believed the coach must be slightly separated from the players, notwithstanding this Graeme greatly values the friendships Canterbury has allowed him to develop over the years.
In 1969 he coached the first Club Under 16 team, he was 17 at the time. In 1979 he was Canterbury Women’s A Grade Coach which missed the semi- finals by .1% and in 1980 he coached the first Canterbury Women’s A Grade team in a Grand Final. In the early 1980’s Graeme coached his son Josh through Canterbury U13‘s to U15s as well coaching A Reserve Men to both Southern and State Premierships in 1980 and 1981. In 1982 he coached the A Grade Men’s team to great success winning Indoor, Opening Day Tournament, CSR Cup, Southern and State Premierships. Memorable for Graeme because “we beat Launceston All Blacks 4-0 then had to beat a talented City Marions in the last game for the state premiership. 0-0 with 5 mins to go I was the first club coach to take off the goalkeeper (Sparra) and field an extra striker, which created the winning goal. Graeme coached A Grade Men’s teams for another 2 years, and in 1992 A Grade Women and in 2001 the A Reserve Men. He was Assistant Coach to A Grade Men in the 1990’s and 2000’s and in 2004 while initially the Assistant Coach was asked to take over coaching for the last round. “We won our last 4 games to sneak into the four and were beaten by 1 goal in the prelim final after Shane Crick hit the post trying to equalize.”
Graeme served on the Committee in 1981 and 1982 as Minutes Secretary, was awarded the 1982 Presidents Trophy and in 1984 served as Canterbury’s Southern Hockey Association Delegate.
Compiled by Jane Patten in discussion with Graeme.