The Bendigo sporting community is mourning the passing of one of the region's best all-round sportsmen, Colin Tully.
The former Collingwood footballer and brilliant cricketer passed away in hospital in the early hours of Friday morning. He was 75.
"Bendigo has lost a sporting legend and a champion person,'' Tully's former cricket team-mate and opponent and Bendigo Sports Star committee member Morrie Hesse said on Friday.
"Col was so talented and such a fierce competitor. It's a sad day."
Tully was best known for his achievements on the football field.
After winning the league under-18 best and fairest in 1963 with South Bendigo, he caught the eye of multiple VFL clubs when he won the Bloods' senior award in his first year in 1964.
Essendon was one of the clubs to chase Tully, but despite being a Bombers' supporter, he chose to sign with Collingwood for the 1965 season.
Tully played 92 VFL games for Collingwood between 1965 and 1970, including the Pies' heartbreaking grand final defeats to St Kilda in 1966 and Carlton in 1970.
Tully was a utility player in his career with the Pies, spending time in the centre, on the wing and in defence.
Renowned for his kicking ability, in 1966 he drop-kicked a goal from the centre of the MCG.
He represented Victoria alongside the likes of John Nicholls, Bob Skilton and Royce Hart against Western Australia and South Australia in 1967.
The 1970 grand final was the last game he played for Collingwood.
Tully moved to Western Australia to play with Claremont and went on to represent WA in 1972 before moving to Tasmania where he coached Glenorchy.
On the cricket field, Tully was a top-order batsman who could bowl at a fast clip.
As a teenager he led Bendigo United to back-to-back C-grade premierships in 1960-61 and 1961-62.
After moving to Melbourne for football, Tully went on to play 84 first XI games for Collingwood in Premier Cricket.
Tully returned to his home club Bendigo United Cricket Club for the 1974-75 season.
He played a further two more seasons and finished with career first XI figures of 2040 runs and 123 wickets.
In 1975-76 he was selected to play for Victoria Country against the West Indies at the QEO.
The following season Tully moved to Tasmania where he coached North Hobart, South Hobart and Glenorchy and spent time on the board of the Tasmanian Cricket Association.
Bendigo's Ian Coates played under Tully at North Hobart.
"We played Glenorchy one day and bowled them out for 221. The next week Col made 222 not out and beat their score by himself,'' Coates said.
"He was 38 years of age at that stage. He was such a brilliant player. He drove the ball beautifully and was a very good puller. He liked to go after the bowlers. He was a gun.
"Col was a ripper bloke, a great coach and a fantastic all-round batsman."
Footy, cricket, tennis, golf - Tully had the natural ability to be good at any sport he tried.
"Col was an outstanding sportsman,'' Tully's former South Bendigo team-mate Rob Cook said.
"I marvelled at his all-round ability. I played golf with Col and he could hit the ball as far right-handed as he did left-handed.
"It was extraordinary to watch. He was a unique sportsman Col and a great character."
Cook said Tully's kicking ability on the footy field with the Bloods was stuff of legend.
"I saw him drop-kick goals on the QEO from the centre,'' Cook said.
"The ball just seemed to go forever. In those days players used to kick stab passes and Col's stab passes went so hard they could have knocked a person over.
"He was a brilliant footballer...one of the best Bendigo has ever had."
Fittingly, earlier this year Colin Tully was inducted to the Bendigo Sports Star Hall of Fame alongside his brother Trevor.
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