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The enthusiastic, ultra-fit Robinson would not be denied in his quest for stardom. Unable to make the Carlton side as a wicketkeeper because of the presence of Ray “Slug” Jordon, he made it as a batsman. Unable to make the Test team because of Rod Marsh, he also made it as a batsman.

Such was the drive and talent of the tall and athletic Robinson that he refused to accept initial hurdles. He went on to keep wickets for Carlton and Northcote in premiership teams, for Victoria and for Australia.

Robinson joined Carlton at 13 and graduated through the lower XIs. He made his senior debut when Jordan was representing Victoria in 1963/64, dropping back whenever Jordon returned. However his batting was so promising that eventually he stayed in the seniors as a specialist batsman even when Jordon was playing. Eventually Jordon moved to Fitzroy, and, at 25, Robinson replaced him as Victoria’s wicketkeeper in 1970/71.

Robinson played in the 1968/69 premierships with the Blues during a career there than spanned 89 games between 1963/64 and 1970/71.

He then took over Northcote as captain/coach in another 44 appearances between 1971/72 and 1976/77. One of his fondest memories is the 1973/74 premiership.

“We had finished last the previous season and it was very special to bounce back and win the flag. I was playing for Victoria then and I was away for two or three matches on end, so I handed the captaincy over to John Wildsmith. It was better for consistency, and I played as coach and vice-captain.

“The season was fantastic. We had Rodney Hogg, Gary Cosier, Brendan McArdle, Jim Christou and a couple of older players such as Phil Burn. We were underdogs against Melbourne but I was fortunate enough to top score with 93 not out in the first innings of 258. I have never seen Hoggie bowl faster than he did late in the match, capturing 4/69 to clinch the victory by only 14 runs.”

After a stint with WSC, Robinson played another 17 with Essendon between 1979/80 and 1981/82 before a stint with Preston in sub-district and then a productive coaching career in Queensland.

“The Premier scene was fantastic and I was lucky enough to play with some of the great old-timers such as Bernie Smith, Bert Numa, Eddie Illingworth, Keith Stackpole and John Miles. Playing against those experienced blokes accelerated your learning. Unfortunately these days a lot of the older blokes look for a dollar away from the Premier scene, which is not helping the young players. There used to be seven or eight experienced players in a team and only a couple of youngsters. These days the trend seems to be reversed.”

Robinson also enjoyed an outstanding first-class career. He broke into the Victorian team in 1970/71 and retired mid-season in 1981/82, aged 36. In 76 matches for the state, including 25 as skipper, he established a Victorian wicket-keeping record of 265 dismissals (235 caught), passing Jordon’s 260. 

He made 3838 runs for Victoria, with 175 the highest of his seven centuries. 

He toured England in 1975 and again in 1977 when he played three Tests as an opening batsman. He then joined World Series Cricket, after which he returned to play with Essendon and regaining the state captaincy in 1980. 

In 97 first-class games, he scored 4776 runs at 39.8, including seven centuries, and claimed 329 wickets behind the stumps.
 
He moved to Queensland where he played three seasons with Southport and became Queensland’s state director of coaching in 1984. He held the post for six years, and also was coach of the Queensland team which lost both years to NSW in the final. He then moved to the Northern Territory for two years in a bid to help the NT make Sheffield Shield cricket, before four trips to Malaysia to help build their international team.

And yes, he is fit. Having just turned 60, Robinson said he played beach volleyball three hours a week. “I train only eight months of the year these days. It gets too cold to swim after April, but between September and April I really work hard.”

Those who know him would expect nothing else.

 


Batting
InningsN.O.RunsBatting AvgHigh Score50s100s
16340431635.08153264

Bowling
RunsWicketsBowling AvgBest5wi10wmCt/St
 410    261/28