SIXTY YEARS IN THE MAKING: East Coast Swans and Winnaleah line up before the historic match on Saturday. Picture: SuppliedEverything Australians know and love about country footy came to the fore at Pyengana Oval last Saturday.

Hosting its first game in 60 years,the town of 120 attracted an estimated crowd of 1200 to a match which sawhome side East Coast Swans snatch a7-point win ina windy, see-sawing clash against Winnaleah.

The historical significance of the occasion was not lost onthose involvedas the Swans kitted out in 1950s replica Pyengana guernseys, which were auctioned off after the game.

Such was the success of the event that match organiser Michael Lefevre’s arguably optimistic pre-match estimate of 1000 spectators was well and trulyexceeded,and plans have already been made to bring netball as well as an NEFU clash to the ground next year.

Despite the six-decade gapbetween matches, the oval more than met expectations.

“A lot of players commented on it – they reckoned it was probably the best ground they’ve played on in the NEFU,” Mr Lefevre said.

“It’s a nice ground and we’d done a bit of work to it -we’ve been working on it for a couple of years.”

After conceiving the return of football to the ground several years ago, Mr Lefevre and a ten-strong team set about preparing the ground for use.

Leading up to Saturday’s match, the team spent many aweekendclearing the ground’sperimeter of blackberries and dead trees, a feat which eventually allowed council workers to access the ground with mowers.

More recently, lines and goal posts were erected – allwith the help ofwell-wishing friends and acquaintances.

“There’s a bloke who lives not far down from Pyengana, he’s got a crane and we just asked him and he said he’d bring the crane up one weekend and lift the posts up.

“We dug the holes by hand and we mixed the cement by ourselves -we just had a level and a few boards and tried to keep it simple and we got the job done.”

A 100-person grandstand and two marquee tents were also donated to add to the atmosphere on game day.

“At St Helens you’d go down there and tell them what we were doing and they’d say “yeah we’ll help you, we’ll donate them”.

“Everyone got behind it and we couldn’t be more thankful for those people that helped –that’s what happens out here, people get onand do whatever they can do to help.”

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