THEY were different players and different men.
For all his success in the old VFA, Bob Bonnett remained a humble and gracious figure, as grounded as the Norm L Goss grandstand at North Port Oval.
He’s lived 76 of his 81 years in Port Melbourne.
Fred Cook was charismatic and colourful, and his life plunged out of control after his football career, a drug addiction and pretty crime inevitably lead him to prison.
What they had in common was seasons of spectacular service for Port Melbourne and a gift for kicking goals: between them they put through 2171 for the Borough.
Next month, Port Melbourne will name the ends of the North Port Oval after its champion spearheads and two of the players who featured in its team of the century, Bonnett in a forward pocket and Cook, 66, at full forward.
Cook — “Fabulous Fred’’ to his many adoring supporters — kicked 1238 goals from a club-record 258 matches between 1971-84.
He topped the century seven times and led the association count on five occasions.
All this from a player who was an unreliable kick.
Tall, strong and surprisingly speedy, he compensated by playing close to the goals and taking mark after mark.
All his teammates said it: you wouldn’t see better hands on a footballer.
When the ball went into them, it never came out.
In the 1970s, as Sunday television coverage lifted the VFA’s popularity to heights it hadn’t known, his public profile exceeded those of many league footballers.