LIKE many veterans, Don Poyner rarely speaks about his experiences on the battlefield while serving with the 29/46th Australian Infantry Battalion during World War Two.

But he will happily chat for hours about the thriving football competition that developed while he was in New Guinea in 1944.

The 90-year-old is a humble man, but the reality is that he held his own in matches featuring a host of VFL stars, including Melbourne's Wally Lock and Richmond's Alan McDonald.

"We had a good time," Poyner told during an interview at the football oval in his hometown of Boort in central Victoria, 251km north-west of Melbourne.

"It was better than marching. But the humidity was tough. You'd only jog 100 yards (about 90m) and you've have to wring the sweat out of your shirt."

The games he spoke about took place on a patch of cleared land near the coastal city of Madang.

"We'd just come out of action, and were having a bit of leisure time, when Lt-Col Cusworth thought we needed a bit of activity," Poyner recalled. "He got us cutting down the kunai grass to make a footy ground.

"We worked away there. It didn't take long. A couple of days, I suppose. It was pretty flat. We cut it pretty low to the ground."

Some of the matches that were staged there involved the 29/46th Battalion taking on teams like the 2/14th Field Regiment and the 152nd Australian General Transport Company.

"The first mob that challenged us came from Darwin, I think," Poyner remembered. "They were an artillery mob and they hadn't been beaten.

"They came trotting out in their football boots, jumpers and knickers (shorts) and everything. We came trotting out with our cut-off jungle-green trousers and singlets and army boots with stops in them.

"Anyhow, we stitched them up. Everybody who challenged us, we fixed them up. I don't know how we would've gone against a league (VFL) team, but we'd have pushed some of them."

Read the full Don Poyner story in the round five edition of the AFL Record, available at all grounds.