Chris Dutton June 09, 2012
Geoff Larkham (centre) with son Stephen Larkham and grandson Luke Morrison (left) will line up for Wests Legends as part of the club's 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
Three generations will turn out for Wests' 50th, writes CHRIS DUTTON
One's a Wallabies legend and the other is a club great. But when Stephen Larkham and dad Geoff run on the field together today, World Cups and Super Rugby titles will mean nothing at Jamison Oval.
Despite Stephen's glittering professional career, it's Geoff's tally of more than 300 games for Wests which gives him the right to call the shots when celebrating the club's 50th anniversary.
Geoff and Stephen will play together for just the second time in a Wests Legends v ACT Legends match which is part of a weekend of history for the club.
And to make it extra special, Geoff's grandson Luke Morrison and son-in-law Tom Morrison will make it a family treat.
Geoff - a Wests premiership winner and life member - is 67 years old and hasn't played a match in 19 years.
''I haven't found my football boots … I think I've still got a pair and I can't borrow Stephen's because they're too small,'' Geoff said. ''My last premiership was back in 1986 and I think there was a 30-year gap before getting that one.
''I'm a bit excited, I won't get nervous. I've been doing a bit of training and it's all going to be in a bit of good fun. It's great that I'll be able to have a run with Stephen and hopefully Luke is on the field at the same time.
''I've been doing a bit of training, but every time it rains we've found a convenient pub close by.''
Wests will celebrate its 50th year with a Golden Oldies game as a curtain raiser to the first-grade clash with Gungahlin today and a function with around 400 guests in Woden tonight.
There will be a host of former ACT Brumbies and Wallabies dusting off their boots, including World Cup-winning flyhalf Larkham, Joe Roff, Clyde Rathbone, Owen Finegan and Geoff Didier. Wests will also use the occasion to honour club stalwarts.
Geoff Larkham played 318 games across all grades while Rob Moloney played 437 - 213 of those in first grade - and Darryl Cowie suited up 262 times in the top grade.
All will run around one last time.
Current first-grade coach and club champion Craig Robberds will show his players how it's done when he takes the field.
Stephen Larkham is the club's greatest product.
But with Robberds suiting up, Larkham said he's happy to shift to scrumhalf, which would allow him to form a combination with his dad who will play in the back row.
The Larkhams played together before Geoff retired.
''I used to make sure he didn't get damaged, but I didn't direct him around the paddock,'' Geoff laughed. ''He never set me up for a try, but I expect one on Saturday … this time he's looking after me.''
Stephen Larkham rapidly developed through Wests' ranks to become one of the Wallabies' and Brumbies' greatest players.
''Dad was hanging around so we could get a game together but I think the only time we played was a trial match,'' Stephen said.
''I was surprised last time, I was playing halfback and he was at No.8 and I couldn't believe how quickly he got around the field.
''Everywhere I was, he was either in front of me or right behind me.
''My job as halfback was to boss him around, but I definitely didn't do that. Wests played a big part in our family, it was a big social outlet for us, we've only ever played for Wests and it's a very proud club with a great history.''