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Peter Schreiner

Accolades & Accomplishments 

3-Wall

Australian Team Selections

- 1985 (Captain)

- 1986

- 1987

- 1993

- 1994

- 1996

- 1997

O'Connor Cup Champion

​- 1993

- 1996

Australian Open Doubles

- 1985

- 1986

- 1987

- 1996

 

SA Open Singles

​- 1986

- 1987

- 1988

- 1989

- 1990

- 1992

- 1993

- 1995

SA Open Doubles

​- 1984

- 1985

- 1986

- 1987

- 1988

- 1989

- 1990

- 1991

- 1992

- 1993

- 1994

- 1995

4-Wall

Australian Open Doubles

- 1982

Pic 24 - Peter Schreiner and Jim Cormie.jpg

Peter Schreiner

In South Australian Handball we have “that butt”. It was hit late into the afternoon at CBC in 1985 when an exhausted Peter Schreiner and Jim Kiley were slugging it out for their first title against Chris King and John Black. The Victorians had come back after losing the first game and were just about to grasp the second when Peter, in desperation, put down a 30 footer, flat as you like, cross court, down the left side. The whole gallery, with their backs to Ifould Street, rose as one in applause. It was daring, foolish, skillful and a defining moment in the game. It broke the momentum of the Victorians.  Peter used to call it the ‘80/20’. 20 percent chance of getting it and 80 percent chance of breaking their hearts. Peter glared at the Victorians, ‘high fived’ Jimmy and roared. This garrulous, maverick, outrageous bloke unified his state by ‘that butt’ and by the strength of his personality. He would go on to win more Australian honours and be remembered as one of our greatest competitors. He would go to entertain and to encourage and to shoot for those 80/20’s and break hearts and be worthy of his place in Handball history. 

 

For Peter handball wasn’t complicated. You went on and played a basic plan. You go for shots and win 80% of them. You start on the front foot and never allow anyone to intimidate you. There are no tantrums, no excuses, just a sense of controlling your own destiny. And Peter played against some great handball names in a great era and he gets excited and almost humble when he thinks about some of his opponents. Mention of Sweeney, Dempsey, Jones and King and you see Peter gasp at the opportunity he has had to play against them. He has a reverence for the great opponents but he was never in awe of them for Peter was the master of the psychological dimension of competition. After one particularly grueling and successful battle against Vince Costanzo from Victoria, Peter rushed off the court and demanded that all the South Australian O’Connor Cup team assemble. “You see”, he said “We can beat the pricks”. And every South Australian believed him. He could put doubt in the opposition and unity in a team.

 

Peter Schreiner was strong and fit and quick, with a terrific anticipation on the court. He rose to big occasions and took people with him to the heights. Peter enjoyed successful partnerships with Jim Kiley, Peter Fitzgerald and Jim Cormie and considers that Open Doubles Championships are the most rewarding events because it is all about team and mateship and sharing the triumphs and despair together. He laughs in fond memory about his relationship with Jim Kiley. Both men were different in their approach to a game but each has a deep mutual respect. Both feel very grateful for the partnership and cite their wins together as amongst their proudest moments. Peter laughs about ‘Kiley the golden haired boy’ under Jack Foley’s tutelage. He remembers the second Australian championship with Jim in Sydney as Jim’s best ever game when they defeated the highly credentialed Jones and Dempsey. 

 

Playing well with other blokes was important and Peter was a flexible and astute enough player to bring the best out in partners as well as playing at his best. Peter remembers taking very seriously the mentorship of both Peter Fitzgerald and Jim Cormie. He urged Fitzy to believe in himself and laughs at the memory of ‘tracer bullets’ that came back in reply to encouragement during games. He encouraged Jim Cormie to ‘lose the halo and taste the blood’. He spoke with Jim Cormie about the hardness and ‘mongrel’ needed to succeed at the top level. And it is not coincidental that both Fitzgerald and Cormie have had significant achievement at the highest handball level. They played under the guidance of a champion. However, Peter’s contribution to handball was not only to mentor emerging talent, he invited all levels of players to hit the ball. I have spoken with players who have kept around the game because Peter was playing and because he encouraged them. His charisma and his enthusiasm created enthusiasm. His respect for even the most basic players encouraged them to play on. It is little wonder that blokes played so hard, at a local level, as South Adelaide chalked up premiership after premiership. They were playing in a Schreiner team.

 

It’s hard to ignore Peter Schreiner. He is an extraordinary character. He is larger than life and full of energy and passion for things. He has a way of enveloping people into his enthusiasm and making them feel part of what is going on. It begins with the intensity of the eye contact and the firmness of the handshake when you meet. It continues with the nick name he’ll give you immediately or when he calls you ‘brother’. When you meet Peter Schreiner he makes you think the meeting is important. There is no pretense in the meeting. No petty personal games played. He calls a ‘spade a spade’ or probably a ‘f…ing shovel’. He is a man’s man and he would think that someone writing an article about him as just a bit of bull shit. But he would laugh and encourage those around him to laugh. He makes things fun. He draws people into his view of the world and makes people laugh. With Peter there is always something amusing that underpins his very serious approach to winning. He has certainly made the handball community so much more colourful, and so much more interesting, because he is in it.

 

We will remember Peter Schreiner because he said witty things. During a match when the ball he hit just went out, he would groan “Any stiffer and I’d be dead”. After a carnival he would quip “I’m so sore my nasal hairs are hurting”. And handballers remember a hundred other jokes. We remember the slapping of his hands and the swiveling on one foot if he missed a butt. We remember his deep rivalry and friendship with Chris King or Paul Sweeney and his truckie attitude to life and the moustache and the VB and the cigarettes. We remember Peter slapping the side of the court to keep concentration, fists in fighting position if he won a point or hands on hips and half crouching to receive a service. We also remember a bloke who didn’t tell Jim Kiley he had four stitches in his foot during the Sydney assault on the title. We remember Peter’s great loyalty to his mates and that he celebrates well. Peter has such a great heart for this game and he was a bloke who said to us ‘don’t doubt your ability’. We won’t forget that. We remember his relish of the O’Connor cup triumph and breaking the Victorian strangle hold in 1993. We remember his copy book action over the ball, the pride he had in wearing the Number 1 SA singlet, his bear hug on Jack Foley when he dedicated a championship victory to him. Peter was inducted to the Hall of Fame because he showed such a sense of privilege in playing the game and he lifted the standard and he created something honourable with his achievements. Peter will be remembered because he so simply loved the contest and enjoyed, sincerely, the achievement of others. Peter Schreiner made a difference, an impact, in all our lives, by the manner in which he embraced handball.

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