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Football, racing feel loss of a real sport

Wednesday, 15th November, 2017

Jarvis Pettitt addressing the North Old Timers reunion at the football club to which he gave so much. Jarvis Pettitt addressing the North Old Timers reunion at the football club to which he gave so much.

By Tyler Hannigan

The North Football Club is mourning the loss of former premiership player and committee member, Jarvis Pettitt, who passed away on November 9.

“The North Broken Hill Football Club, North Past Players Association and their Members are saddened by the passing of Club stalwart Jarvis Pettitt on Thursday,” NFC President Justin Hoskins said.

“This really has been an awful shock to the club,” Hoskins said. 

“Jarvis is a one of a kind, life-long North man, who did so much for us on and off the field. He was a proactive worker, getting real results for the club along the way. 

“His guidance and support for anyone who has sought it was given freely and always with the genuine best interests of the club at heart.

“We feel like a piece of us has gone that cannot be replaced and we send our love and support to Ann, Kellie and Justine and the rest of their family.

“They have shared Jarvis with us for over 50 years and we as people, along with our club, are better for having had Jarvis.”

NFC members are requested to attend Pettitt’s funeral to help celebrate Jarvis’ life and his massive contribution to the club.

Pettitt played his first league match for the Bulldogs in the 18th round of the 1963 season. He will be remembered for his efforts at full back, where his marking and strong ground play were features of his game.

Pettitt played full back in North’s 1965 premiership side and was runner-up in the best and fairest count in 1969 to Ray Egan.

He also represented Broken Hill on numerous occasions at full back, both at home and against teams in other areas.

Pettitt had his career held up in 1967 and 1968 when he was called up for national service but continued to play on his return and was vice captain in 1970, runner-up in the best and fairest voting in 1973 and again best placed man.

In late 1973 he suffered a severe hand injury in a mine accident which prevented him from playing in 1974 and the 1975-1976 premiership years.

He returned in 1977 for another premiership before retiring at the end of that season after 169 League matches (including five goals, which is not bad for a full back).

Pettitt was honoured by North as their ‘Top Dog’ in 1990 and joined the North Past Players Association in the late ‘90s, becoming Chairman in 2003 and continued in that position until handing the role over to Ben Victory at the end of 2016. 

“Jarvis, along with his long-serving committee, built an incredible foundation for this association through his hard work and love for his club and the people in it,” Victory said.

“All of the successes of the past two decades, from highly-attended reunions and entertaining guest speakers, through to massive donations to the football club, have Jarvis’ prints all over them.”

Jarvis Pettitt and his wife Ann recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with family and friends.

Ann, along with the wives of other Past Players Committee members, was honoured at the 2017 Reunion as a thank you for being a valued volunteer of the club for many years.

AFL Broken Hill Chairman, Andrew Schmidt, said Jarvis Pettitt was a person who was universally liked both by North and the other clubs.

“Jarvis was one of those guys that had the ability that not a lot of people have, that whether you were the best player in A Grade or the hundredth player on the list he treated you the same,” Schmidt said.

“He had that natural warm, engaging personality. It didn’t matter who you were, he could relate to anybody and that’s what set him apart from other people.”

It was these traits that made him a trusted advisor to legendary North coach Ray Giblett, and Pettitt was instrumental in getting Giblett back to coach North in the early 1990s.

“In 1992 Rick Sweet resigned from the coaching position after only a handful of games,” Schmidt said.

“And so the management committee met with Ray Giblett to take over the role. Ray had coached North to a premiership in 1988 with Jarvis as his right-hand man.

“So Ray had a shopping list of 20 things that he wanted if he was to come back as coach and the first thing was having Jarvis as his assistant because he knew that the players liked and respected Jarvis no matter their age and that Jarvis could be Ray’s eyes and ears at the club.”

Schmidt said that Pettitt loved football and that in turn, football loved him.

“His home away from home was the footy club,” he said.

“Even later on in life he still loved every minute of it. When North came from behind a few years ago and won the grand final, Jarvis was like a kid in a lollie shop.

“He just had that natural personality and that transcended the North club. There’s not many football people in town that people from other clubs enjoy spending their time with but Jarvis was certainly one of those except for maybe a few of his opponents back in the day.

“Footy in Broken Hill is a lot better for having him and a lot sadder with him not around.”

While football was one of his loves, Pettitt’s other passion was for horse racing.

Few liked a punt more than he and he worked for the Silver City Race Club as well as travelling to other country race meeting to do the same.

Silver City Race Club President, Dave Gallagher, said that the loss would be felt around the country racing industry.

“He was a great man and was involved with the club for many, many years as our betting steward,” Gallagher said.

“It is a pretty demanding job and is essential to keeping a good relationship between the bookmakers and the race club, making sure they’re looked after and are supervised. He did a great job and was a great asset. He’d also help out clubs like Pooncarie and Wentworth on their race days.

“Jarvis was always there to lend a hand or give advice and was a true gentleman in racing and he’ll be very sorely and sadly missed by all involved at the club as well as by bookmakers around the country.”

Mr Pettitt’s funeral will be held tomorrow at 10.30am in the Gary Radford Pavilion at the racecourse.

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