13 Dec Vale Stan ‘Slug” O’Donnell – Vikings lose Life Member
Stan died at midday last Monday, 6 Dec 2021 at a local nursing home near Merewether, Newcastle from a combination of Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 81. Sadly one of his sons was diagnosed with Covid on Saturday and the family have decided to proceed directly to the crematorium on Wed, 15 Dec 2021 and do away with the service.
Stan played quite a significant role in the formation of the Woden-Weston Rugby Club, the precursor to the formation of the Tuggeranong Valley (Vikings) Rugby Club; and an even more significant role in the creation of Vikings Group of Clubs.
Stan came to Canberra from Newcastle and linked up with the Northern Suburbs (Canberra) Rugby Club which later amalgamated with the ANU Club to form Uni/Norths (Owls) Rugby Club He was a very talented representative hooker at a time when selection required a strong degree of finessed thuggery equally shared with a commitment to fitness mixed with a Rugby brain. People often asked how the nickname Slug came about only to be told it was a shortened version for Slugger.
As the story goes, three other respectable gentleman playing with Norths who, at the time, trained at Northbourne Oval, now Rugby League Park, Braddon. The four players, Dick (Pubes) Heher (decd), Paul Curran (decd), John (Maigret) McGrath and of course Slug had bought blocks of land in the Fisher/Waramanga area at the very time Norths chose to move to what is now EPIC, but ultimately to Belconnen.
The outcome was the four we’re not prepared to traverse the incredible distance of 18 kilometres to training, preferring, in the twilight of their Rugby careers to form the Woden-Weston sub district Club. Stan’s commitment and representative record gave credence to the whole exercise.
Stan came to Canberra employed with NCR (cash registers). His most significant role with Vikings was bringing the concept of a Licensed Club to the fore. He chaired the concept and implementation committee and almost saw it to completion when required to transfer with his job back to Newcastle. Ivan Donaldson took the chair and was later elected inaugural President of the Licensed Club.
On returning to Newcastle, Stan went on to form a Club Industry leading HR and Administration technology company, Pulse Technology.
There are many, many stories about Stan’s contribution to the social fabric of Norths, Woden-Weston and Vikings but, libel suggest should they be left for another day. Although one worth recalling here hints at his determination to succeed no matter what. To raise funds a roast/Hangi pig was organised at Kambah Homestead. Pulled out of the ground after six hours the outer meat was reasonably cooked, the inner WAS NOT. Stan’s wife Marg and Sue McGrath kept carving and serving on blood covered bread rolls, pig head hanging back over the carving table, floor covered in blood and fat; with Stan unreasonably insisting all request for refunds would be politely or otherwise denied. Out of disaster we netted about $800.
Vale a great bloke, a good Rugby man committed equally to the first 80 minutes of the game and usually 8 hours post game.
(Words John Maigret McGrath)
Photo (L-R), Richard Pubes Heher (dec), Stan Slug O’Donnell (dec) and John Maigret McGrath