Pop Northfield legacy is still blooming

\"\"Caption: The extensive Northfield clan were again out in force for the recent final of the Pop Northfield Maiden at Casino, NSW, which was won by Charlie and Toni Northfield’s Kingsbrae Kenzie (Photo: Lisa Vanderstok)

By David Brasch

IT\’S not unusual for a bunch of Northfields to line up at Casino on the day of the Pop Northfield Memorial Maiden final … they\’ve been doing just that for decades.

But, while many of the faces have been around for as long as we can remember, there is also a smattering of younger ones, and the tiny faces of babies and toddlers means the Northfield name will be around for much longer to come.

When Charlie and Toni Northfield won the Pop Northfield Maiden recently with Kingsbrae Kenzi the track was besieged by the Northfields and their close relations.

Pop Northfield came to the Northern Rivers as a 17-year-old tagging along with his dad Charlie making the move from Wollongong.

Pop and ‘Nan’ produced four kids, Hanna (Lollback), Marie (Newstead), Charlie and 10 years after the rest of them along came Billy.

Charlie\’s family included Gary, Glen, Brad and Vicki. Glen and Brad are obviously carrying on the family tradition in greyhound racing and Glen\’s son Jake is flying the flag as well with great recent success.

\”Gary went into the air force,\” said Brad. \”No, he\’s not the black sheep of the family, but you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he\’s been greyhound racing.\”

The Lollback and Newstead families have founded their own branches of greyhound loving ‘offspring’. They continue to be dominant in the sport on the Northern Rivers.

Pop\’s son, Billy, became a legend in the industry mainly through the deeds of the great Pretty Short.

But, his sons Mitch and Charlie and daughter Collette all have made their mark on the industry.

Collette, or Curly as she is known to the family, owned former star Sydney galloper Arenia Miss later the mother of Queensland greyhound of the year Miss Grub.

Mitch has been president of the Casino Club for the past couple of decades, so long in fact none of the family can remember exactly how many years it is.

Mitch has produced recent stars like Mitcharlie Mia.

Charlie and Toni continue to toss up stars with regularity, Kingsbrae Kenzi yet another example of this.

Brad\’s daughters all have family and the youngest love nothing better than helping with the dogs.

Pop Northfield became a legend around the Northern Rivers.

\”We\’ve got a photo of Nan holding a dog the picture being taken in 1937,\” said Brad. \”The very first greyhound race meeting was held at Casino in 1936, the year Billy Northfield was born.\”

Pop\’s pride of place in the industry came in 1969 when local star Stratheden Rock downed legend Zoom Top at Lismore in a celebrated ‘match race’.

On the very same night, ‘Aunty’ Hanna\’s dog Abbey Road won the National Derby at Wentworth Park.

\”I was a 10-year-old then and it\’s a memory of good times that will never fade for me,\” said Brad.

Pop died in 1973 aged 73. The Pop Northfield Maiden was run that year in his memory and it has grown in stature ever since.

These days Billy is being looked after in aged care, but his wife Colleen still lives on the mammoth Stratheden property where so many great greyhounds were reared and trained.

Where would greyhound racing on the Northern Rivers be without the Northfields … and the Lollbacks, and the Newsteads?

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