Happy days for Kevin as Mal delivers
KEVIN Eaton refers to it as a "good morale booster" at just the right time.
When Eaton's Goodna home was flooded in January he lost just about everything, including a prized Souths jersey that had a selection of signatures from the great players of the past.
So when club legend Mal Meninga presented him with a new signed Souths-Logan jersey last week it brought more than just a smile to Eaton's face.
Eaton's nephew emailed Souths chief executive officer Jim McClelland about his uncle's situation and the legendary administrator then organised a jersey and the signatures of club greats.
"It was very moving, actually, and a real morale booster," Eaton said.
"My nephew was the main driver behind it and then Jim took ownership of it and he was great.
"That is why I made a big point of wanting Jim to sign it.
"He said: 'You don't want my signature'. But I said: 'You are as big a legend as the people already on it'.
"The club wouldn't be there today if it wasn't for him. It would have gone under 10 years ago."
Souths incorporated the presentation by Meninga of the jersey to Eaton with the official opening of the refurbishment of the Magpies' clubhouse at Davies Park in West End.
"I had a Southern Suburbs jersey given to me quite a few years ago and over the years I compiled the autographs of current and former Souths players that I could get," Eaton said.
"But then I lost it in the flood. It was just in a cupboard but I was going to frame it when I got all the signatures that I wanted.
"I had Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga and Mick Crocker - not the Michael Crocker who plays for South Sydney.
"Mick's real name was Harold and he played for Australia in the 1950s. I'd been chasing Gary Belcher's for a while and didn't have his, but now I've got his on the new jersey.
"We lost just about everything else in the flood as well.
"All we were left with was photos and jewellery. We lost all our furniture and whitegoods but we've got all that back, thanks to the generosity of workmates and family."
Eaton, who played juniors for the old Souths Inala side, said the Magpies had "always been a family club and a working-class club".