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When ‘The Tank’ met Jimmy Johns

Saturday, 7th May, 2016

Former boxer, West footballer, and sporting coach Jimmy Johns passed away on Wednesday at the age of 75. He and his wife Gae had four children, nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Former boxer, West footballer, and sporting coach Jimmy Johns passed away on Wednesday at the age of 75. He and his wife Gae had four children, nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Jimmy Johns was well known for his no-nonsense approach to most tasks, and sporting historian and columnist Graham ‘Bushy’ Burke says that attitude was also evident on the football field.

In 1965 Central recruited George ‘The Tank’ Hill from Melbourne’s VFL ranks to serve as the black and whites’ new captain, coach, and enforcer.

Hill soon made a name for himself with his brutal style of football, racking up a number of suspensions and sparking all-in brawls during his stint with the Magpies.

However one fateful day against West he made the mistake of tangling with kin of the Johns family, and Bushy said the response from Jimmy was both swift and decisive.

Bushy recalled that Hill, now wary of being suspended due to previous violent acts, decided to get under the skin of Johns’ brother Arthur by spitting on him, a move that didn’t sit well with Jimmy at all.

“Jimmy has gone up to him and said ‘now don’t start that or I’ll hook you’, because Jimmy was quite a good pug,” said Bushy.

“Then George Hill has gone and spat on Pat Attard, who was Jim’s brother in law!

“So Jimmy has gone up and grabbed George around the neck and given away a free kick, and when George went back to take his kick Jim walked straight up to him and busted his nose, he put it all over his face.”

To add insult to injury, Hill was married later that night, and reportedly struggled through the event with a broken nose.

Despite the confrontation both men harboured no ill-will, and Bushy said the two hugged after catching up with each other many years later at a country sporting event.

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