Michael Hibberd and former premiership player Merv Neagle were seated together by chance at a club function in early 2012.

“We sat together for a few hours and had a good chat. He was very easy to talk to,” Hibberd said.

“With everything that had happened, his sad passing, it was good to meet him and good to know that we got along so well.”

Neagle tragically passed away in August that year leaving behind his wife and six children and a lasting legacy as an uncompromising and talented premiership wingman.

Hibberd, who has played 39-games for the red and black, paid attention to what the hard running wingman’s teammates said about him and could see how much he had meant to them.

Hibberd wanted to honour Neagle in a way he thought he could, when he approached James Hird and asked to move to the No.1 guernsey at the end of last year.

Club legends Mark Harvey, Mark Johnson, Jack Clarke have all worn the famous No.1 guernsey.

“No one was wearing the number at the time, so I spoke to Hirdy about it. I think it has more 100-game payers than any other number at the club so it’s a special number at Essendon. He seemed pretty happy with what I saw in it and was happy for me to take it on,” Hibberd said.

“There’s some great players who have worn it, and a lot of premiership players as well, so it would be to follow them. When you see all the premiership players and get to meet people like Merv you see the friendships they have and how they’re friendships that last forever.”

The Dick Reynolds Club is proud to present the ‘Merv Neagle Tribute Dinner’ on Thursday 22 August at the Grand Hyatt.

He played 147 games for Essendon between 1977 and 1985 and 56 games for Sydney between 1986 and 1990.
Merv was an imperative member of Essendon’s 1984 premiership side and finished second in the 1980 Brownlow Medal count. He ended his career at the Sydney Swans in 1990.

Essendon teammates including Paul Van der Haar, Terry Daniher, Paul Salmon, Mark Harvey, Mark Thompson, Simon Madden and his former Sydney teammates Tony Morwood, Gerard Healy, Anthony Daniher, Paul Kelly and Barry Mitchell will all be present on the evening. Many of Merv’s adversaries including Dermott Brereton, Robert DiPierdomenico and Doug Hawkins will also be in attendance.

Date:     Thursday 22 August, 2013
Venue: Grand Hyatt on Collins Street, Melbourne.
Time:    6.30pm for 7.00pm start
Price:    Premium ticket $325 (includes; the opportunity to be hosted with a famous football identity prior in premium seating and an exclusive memorabilia piece.)
Standard ticket $195

Click here for more information on the Merv Neagle Tribute Dinner.