By Dean Richie
27 June 2015 - The Daily Telegraph
THERE was a memory everywhere you looked at Belmore Sports Ground yesterday. The Daily Telegraph was inside the chairman's function and there they all were, Canterbury legends.
Steve Mortimer, Peter Mortimer, Michael Hagan, Paul Langmack, Andrew Farrar, George Peponis, Jarrod McCracken, Geoff Robinson and bustling Barry Ward.
Elsewhere at Belmore were Terry Lamb, David Gillespie, Les Johns, Chris Anderson, Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Darren Britt, Rod Silva and Andrew "Bobcat" Ryan.
They all dug the well at this unique rugby league venue nestled among the old federation homes decked out in blue and white.
You can say what you like about Canterbury but they always look after their own. Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.
Robinson has lost his long flowing locks, which lit up Belmore during the 1970s and 1980s, but not his passion.
He was a true icon, a personality.
Despite the 18-16 defeat, these champions loved yesterday.
No matter how hard they were as players -- how tough, how uncompromising -- they turned into soft kittens when returning to Belmore yesterday.
This was where they made their names, this was where they became champions. Belmore is in their hearts, their souls, their DNA.
The hill was jammed, the Stewart stand chock-full. The atmosphere was heaving. Langmack actually left the corporate box to sit on the hill for two hours. "You can sit in the grandstand any day of the week," Langmack said.
"I wanted to mingle with the fans. I was talking to people from Taree, they drove five hours to get here. There were kids kicking the footy on the hill. It was unreal." Asked what Belmore meant to him, Langmack said: "Success. I had the greatest eight years of my life growing up here, winning three grand finals, mates for life." Hagan knows the rules at the club.
"Peter Moore (legendary CEO) used to say that to play for Canterbury you either had to be a Catholic or a champion -- I was neither," Hagan joked.
Memories came flooding back for Robinson. " Belmore has got me to where I am today," Robinson said. "The memories here are incredible.
"We parked up the road near the train station. There were sausage sizzles everywhere, it gave me goosebumps." Steve Mortimer has always been top dog. The greatest.
"Belmore to me is Peter Moore, who signed me and employed me," Mortimer said. "I had so many wonderful years here at Belmore . It is a very special place and I feel very proud to be a part of it."There was blue and white everywhere yesterday. This ground must remain part of our great game.