, the 19-game former Carlton ruck-rover who chased the leather through the Barassi years of the late 1960s, has died peacefully at his home in Eden Park at the age of 66.
Ron’s unusual surname, pronounced ‘Ocker-tell’, was understood to be a derivative of the Italian ‘Ochetto’, which was shelved at some point after the Victorian goldmining days of the 1850s when Ron’s forefathers sailed to Australia from the Ticino region of Italy’s north to stake their claim.
Raised in the northern suburb of Merlynston, Ron presumably came to the attention of the famed recruiter Newton Chandler, who with the likes of former Carlton footballers Harry Vallence, Ansell Clarke, Stewart McLatchie and Ron Robertson served as talent scouts at the time. Whatever the case, he was part of the Princes Park recruiting intake of ’66 which included Robinvale’s Richard Vandenberg, Irymple’s Maurice Hengson and Maffra’s Bill Bennett, the 17 year-old who would later be part of the 1968 Grand Final triumph.
Ron made his senior debut in the 18th and final round of the ’66
season, having been named 20th man alongside John Morrison
for the match against Geelong, which attracted more than 37,000 spectators to Princes Park. Sporting the No. 41
now worn by Levi Casboult, Ron was also amongst the Carlton 22 who confronted the Cats in the 1967 Preliminary Final. Named on a half-forward flank, he would contribute one goal to the Blues’ losing scoreline, in what doubled as 1964 Brownlow Medallist Gordon Collis’ 95th and final senior appearance.
As it happened, Ron’s 19th and final game would also come against the Cats, in the 17th round of 1969 at the same venue, on the occasion of Alex Jesaulenko’s 50th game for Carlton. By then, Auchettl had earned a four-year certificate for services to the club, together with teammates Peter Jones, Ian Robertson and the late Vin Waite.
Having been a runaway winner in his club’s reserve grade best and fairest count in 1967, Ron captained the Blues’ Reserves team in his final season of ’69 - but on the eve of the 1970 season, was cleared to Castlemaine.
The three-time Carlton premiership rover and club best and fairest Adrian Gallagher remembered Ron as a terrific clubman whose opportunities at senior level were few and far between for obvious reason.
“Ron’s favoured position was ruck-rover, but at the time you had Ron Barassi and Sergio Silvagni playing there,” Gallagher said.
“He was a handy bloke to have a round and he would have played more games. He was similarly built to Barassi and Silvagni, but because he was up against ‘Barass’ and ‘Serge’ he was never going to get too many runs.
“Ron was close but not quite there. He played a lot of good reserves games at Carlton and he would have been a good senior player there in any other era.”
A woodwork teacher at Whittlesea Secondary College until his retirement two years ago, Ron was regarded as a disciplined mentor who commanded great respect from his pupils.
About three years ago, Ron was diagnosed with a form of leukemia which adversely impacted on his kidneys and prompted him to go on dialysis. More recently he developed pneumonia, which prompted his admission to the Alfred Hospital. Desperately ill, Ron rallied there, and was discharged just a few days ago.
Ron’s wish to be home was granted with a peaceful ending, and he died in the early hours of last Sunday morning. He is survived by his wife Lynette, son Peter, daughter Kerrie, daughter Jane, son-in-law Wally, grandson Hayden and twin granddaughters Allison and Annalise.
His funeral is to be held this Friday, December 7, commencing 10.30 am, at Cordell Fawkner Cemetery.
Blueseum: Auchettl's Blueseum Biography