Scott’s proud journey at Scone Park
BY ALEX TIGANI
Scott Pennell could not help but smile on the eve of this year’s Group 21 grand final.
The Scone Thoroughbreds’ senior president was convinced that his club had a great chance of winning all four grand finals as he and a long list of volunteers put the final touches together around Scone Park.
However not even the five-time first grade premiership hero could have forecast the clean sweep coming down to his own son Jack’s field goal in the reserve grade decider.
It truly was a special weekend for rugby league’s most successful country club.
“This is one of the last grounds where you can park cars all the way in so it is kind of like a cauldron,” Scott smiled on Friday night.
The warm and welcoming president offered us a tour of the dressing sheds at Scone Park which were opened by (then) Upper Hunter Shire mayor Lee Watts and Member for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon on October 31, 2009.
The previous rooms were transported to the nearby Rugby Park and those fortunate enough to go inside the modern rooms are surrounded by portraits of past players.
These figures combined forces to secure the club’s first 30 premierships at top level from 1922 to 2019.
Could the club add a 31st by Sunday afternoon?
“Once you come to Scone and join the football club I could name on one hand the amount of people that did not stick around because once you’re here you don’t leave,” he added.
“We’re all local, we all stay together, we’re like a big family of great people, great sponsors, great volunteers – the formula works is my opinion.”
The Thoroughbreds prevailed 42-6 in the season decider and remarkably 15 of the 17 players in the first-grade line-up had developed their craft as club juniors.
Growing up in Satur, Scott counted down the years until he was old enough to graduate from the club’s junior program at Murray Basin to finally represent his club at Scone Park.
“I’m a big believer that without a junior league we wouldn’t have senior league so that’s where the journey begins,” he explained.
“I would have only been five or six years old when I was coming down to see the Clayton Cup winning side and watching the Cleals run around and Bobby Barker.
“When I finally played that under-16 match here I thought ‘yep, we’re now just playing proper football in senior league’ and the dream came true.”
The Thoroughbreds only missed two grand finals from 1994 to 2004 for a return of seven titles.
This decade of dominance may not have happened if it weren’t for the hard work behind the scenes from club officials in 1992.
“Scott is now president, two of his boys are now playing and I am just retired but I do a little bit,” Scott’s modest father Glenn added.
“But I can tell you that the club was in dire straits 30 years ago when I was the worker, my wife was the secretary and Patrick Gleeson was the president.
“Patrick and Wendy went out to all of the sponsors and it started from there when the players had to take a cut.
“Some were understanding, some weren’t.”
Since that point in time the club has produced a long list of NRL talents including Darren Albert, John Morris, Kyle Warren, Jock Madden and Cade Cust.
Yet only one name is displayed on the grandstand.
John ‘Bandy’ Adams.
Sunday’s Group 21 grand final marked the first played at Scone Park since the former Australian winger’s passing at the age of 86 in 2020.
Therefore, it was fitting that his proud grandson Adam Clydsdale guided the club to glory.