BIOGRAPHIES [D]

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Go straight to the biography of your choice by clicking on the appropriate link:

[Steven Da Rui]  [Peter Daicos]  [Jos Dailey]  [Lou Daily]  [Stewart Daily]  [Alan Dale]  [David Dalgarno]  [Pat Dalton]  [Peter Dalwood]  [Anthony 'Bos' Daly]  [John D. 'Bunny' Daly]  [John W. Daly]  [Mick Daly]  [Gordon Dangerfield]  [Doug Daniel]  [Allen Daniels]  [Anthony Daniher]  [Chris Daniher]  [Neale Daniher]  [Terry Daniher]  [David Darcy]  [Ian Dargie]  [Peter Darley]  [Charles Davey]  [James Davidson]  [Harold Davie]  [Fred Davies]  [Harold Davies]  [James 'Welshy' Davies]  [Jim Davies]  [Neil Davies]  [Rick Davies]  [Edwin Daviess]  [Alan Davis]  [Barry Davis]  [Bob 'Woofa' Davis]  [Frank Davis]  [Jack Davis]  [James 'Jim' Dawes]  [John 'Jack' Dawes]  [Ian Day]  [Robert Day]  [Clem Dayman]  [Leslie Dayman]  [Bert Deacon]  [Jack Dean]  [Robert Dean]  [Roger Dean]  [Colin Deane]  [Jim Deane]  [Andrew Demetriou]  [Bill Dempsey]  [Gary Dempsey]  [David Dench]  [Barry Denny]  [John 'Jack' Dermody]  [Jim Derrington]  [John Dethridge]  [Terry Devery]  [Gary Dhurrkay]  [Charlie Dibbs]  [Billy Dick]  [Robert Dickfos]  [Des Dickson]  [Brighton Diggins]  [Ross Dillon]  [Robert Dipierdomenico]  [Jack Diprose]  [Rod Diprose]  [Carl Ditterich]  [Wally Dittmar]  [Eric Dix]  [Brian Dixon]  [Malcolm Dixon]  [Malcolm Dobson]  [Len Dockett]  [Vin Doherty]  [Charles Doig senior]  [George Doig]  [Jim Doig]  [John 'Hooky' Doig]  [Ron Doig]  [John 'Jerry' Dolan]  [William Dolphin]  [Michael Donaghy]  [Clyde Donaldson]  [Keith Doncon]  [Larry Donohue]  [Neil Doolan]  [William Doolan]  [Jim Dorgan]  [Erwin Dornau]  [George Dougherty]  [Bruce Doull]  [Jim Dowling]  [William 'Shrimp' Dowling]  [William Downie]  [Leo Drew]  [Norm Drew]  [Edward Drohan]  [Bill Duckworth]  [John Duckworth]  [Syd Dufall]  [Larry Duffy]  [Roger Duffy]  [John Dugdale]  [Adrian Dullard]  [Anthony Dullard]  [Alf Dummett]  [Bob Dummett]  [Frank Dunell]  [Harvey Dunn senior]  [Jack Dunn]  [Keith Dunn]  [Roger Dunn]  [Emmett Dunne]  [Francis Dunne]  [Jeff Dunne]  [Ross Dunne]  [Jason Dunstall]  [Bruce Duperouzel]  [Chris Duthy]  [Jack Dyer]  [Robbie Dykes]  [Kevin Dynon]

Steven Da Rui (East Perth & Carlton)

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East Perth recruited Steve Da Rui from St Marks with high hopes, but a succession of injuries prevented him from making the most of his undoubted potential.  Quite solidly built at 183cm and 81kg, he played most of his football with the Royals as a half back flanker, before being tried as a ruck-rover in his final season.  It was his solid form in this latter position that probably persuaded Carlton to take a punt on him.  At the end of the 1986 season, after 86 games in six seasons for East Perth, he headed east to join the Blues, but it was over a year before he managed to break into the senior side.  In the meantime, he played in the club's 1987 reserves grand final win over St Kilda.  Da Rui finally got his chance at league level in 1988, and went on to play a total of 55 games in four years, mainly as an on-baller.  He represented Western Australia in its home state of origin loss to Victoria in 1990.

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Peter Daicos (Collingwood)

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Collingwood's Peter Daicos' phenomenal ability to kick goals from seemingly impossible angles or when under the most extreme pressure was arguably unequalled in the history of the game.  Certainly this ability became Daicos' trademark, so much so that when players nowadays demonstrate a comparable knack they are almost invariably said to be 'doing a Daicos'.

A highly skilled footballer, Daicos, who was known as 'The Macedonian Marvel' because of his parents' country of birth, was much more than just a goalsneak.  He played much of his career on the ball or in the centre where his anticipation, balance and superlative ball handling ability made him a real force.  Former Essendon rover John Birt paid Daicos a rare compliment by comparing his ball handling skill to that of Darrel Baldock and Alex Jesaulenko and it is doubtful if the sport has seen more than half a dozen or so comparably skilled individuals in its entire history.  Peter Daicos' bracketing with such illustrious names is entirely warranted, however.

Recruited from Preston RSL, Daicos made his VFL debut as a centreman in round 4 1979 against St Kilda, racking up 28 possessions as the Magpies surged to a record 31.21 (207) to 3.11 (29) victory.  Thereafter, apart from injury setbacks, which included a full knee reconstruction on one occasion, he never looked back.  When he retired in 1993 he had played a total of precisely 250 league games and kicked 549 goals, besides winning Copeland Trophies in 1982 and 1988, and topping his club's goal kicking list on four occasions.  He was also a regular Victorian state of origin representative.  The highlight of Daicos' career came in 1990 when he was a member of Collingwood's first premiership team for thirty-two years.  He was included in a forward pocket in the Magpies' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Jos Dailey (West Adelaide)

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During tens seasons of senior football with West Adelaide Jos Dailey witnessed both ends of the football spectrum.  When he started with the club in 1902 it was little better than a chopping block for most opponents and managed just 1 win and a draw from a dozen matches to finish above only relative newcomers Sturt on the premiership ladder.  When Dailey retired in 1913, however, he had been a member of no fewer than four league premiership sides, and had played in three championship of Australia deciders for two wins.

Dailey, who missed the entire 1904 and 1905 seasons, did not become a regular senior player with West until 1906, when he actually ended up captaining the side for most of the year after regular skipper A.Mesecke was injured.  Thereafter, he went from strength to strength.  Capable of playing as both a forward and a defender, he probably produced his best football across half forward, from where he could usually be relied on to contribute a goal plus plenty of intelligent link play.  Always popular with his team mates, Dailey again captained West between 1910 and 1912, with the last two years yielding premierships.  He had earlier played in both the 1908 and 1909 flag winning combinations.  Championship of Australia victories against Carlton in 1908 and Essendon three years later capped off a highly memorable career which saw him play a total of 106 senior games,  boot 56 goals, and win the West Adelaide fairest and most brilliant award in 1911.

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Lou Daily (Subiaco, Collingwood, Geelong, Mines Rovers)

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A much-travelled footballer, Lou Daily enjoyed notoriety and success in three competitions.  He began his senior career with Subiaco in 1931 and rapidly established himself as one of the finest defenders in the WANFL.  Next he headed for the VFL, where he played 7 games for Collingwood in 1933, and 19 for Geelong the following year.  Although primarily a defender, in his first match for the Cats he booted 10 goals.  

Daily returned to Subiaco in 1935 a much better all round player, a fact he emphasised by his promptly winning both the club fairest and best award, and the Sandover Medal (jointly with Swan Districts' George Krepp).  He also made the first of an eventual 7 interstate appearances for Western Australia.  His good form continued in 1936 and 1937 when he won two further fairest and best awards.  He spent most of this phase of his career playing at full back, where he combined strength in the air, superb kicking, and a keen awareness of when to leave his man and chase the ball, and when to stay firmly at 'home'.

In 1938, after 92 WANFL games, Daily crossed to Mines Rovers in the GNFL as captain-coach, where he continued to play excellent football, winning a league fairest and best trophy in 1939.  He also captained a goldfields representative side to a memorable win over Port Adelaide that same year.

Although his playing career was comparatively short, there can be little doubt that, for three or four seasons at least, Lou Daily was one of the finest footballers of his generation.  At his peak, he was often compared, in terms of technique and ability, to the great Jack Regan - and full backs do not come any better than the erstwhile Collingwood champion.

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Stewart Daily (Subiaco)

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Stewart Daily made his Subiaco debut early in the 1928 season and within a few weeks was being described in the 'WA Footballer' as "something above the ordinary" (see footnote 1).  Tall and powerfully built, he played most of his early football as a defender, but later developed into a top quality ruckman who could also perform with credit as a key position forward.  A peerless high mark, and a superb long kick, when Daily was firing, so were the Maroons.  In 1931 he topped the club's goal kicking list with 44 goals, and the following season he is shown in official club records as having won the fairest and best award (although other sources list Peter Mackay as the winner).  Between 1928 and 1940 Stewart Daily played a total of 202 league games.  He also made 13 interstate appearances for Western Australia, including games at the 1933 Sydney and 1937 Perth carnivals.

Footnotes

1.  'WA Footballer', 2/6/28.  Return to Main Text

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Alan Dale (Essendon, St Kilda, Oakleigh)

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Essendon recruited Alan Dale locally from Doutta Stars and he worked his way steadily through the ranks before making his senior VFL debut in 1950.  Three years earlier he had enjoyed the distinction of winning the first ever Morrish Medal for the best and fairest player in the VFL's under nineteens competition.  At the end of his debut season with the seniors he was in the centre as the Dons overcame North Melbourne in the grand final by 38 points.  An old fashioned, stay at home type of centreman, he appeared slow, but a combination of strength, guile and excellent anticipation skills enabled him to win more than his fair share of kicks.  After four years with Essendon he spent the 1954 and 1955 seasons as captain-coach of Wangaratta Rovers in the Ovens and Murray Football League.  The 1956 season saw him back at Windy Hill, but after just 3 games, which took his final tally with the Bombers to 45, he crossed to St Kilda, where he rounded off his VFL career with 17 games over the ensuing couple of years.  Stints at Belgrave, Oakleigh and Mt Waverley brought his senior football career to an end.

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David Dalgarno (Western Districts)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

David Dalgarno was a Sherwood junior with excellent leadership qualities and determination that saw him develop quickly into a top ruckman. He commenced his career in 1961 as a  seventeen year old, and became the youngest QAFL captain-coach of the post-war era at just twenty-one.  He led Wests from 1965-7, and after a decade in the wilderness the Bulldogs lost back-to-back grand finals in the last two of those years. A transfer with his employment to Western Australia saw him named on the 1968 Swan Districts list, but he didn't play owing to interstate clearance restrictions. David Dalgarno returned to coach Wests in 1968.

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Pat Dalton (Perth)

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Centreman Pat Dalton was a key member of Perth's 1966-7-8 premiership teams.  Renowned for his work ethic and excellent team sense, he played a total of 217 games for the Demons, winning the club's fairest and best award on two occasions.  He enjoyed an especially noteworthy 1970 season, winning not only his second club champion award, but the Sandover Medal, on a countback from Bill Walker of Swan Districts (who was later awarded a retrospective Medal), as well.  Somewhat surprisingly, given his reputation as one of the most effective and damaging centremen in the game, Dalton only represented Western Australia once.

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Peter Dalwood (Norwood)

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Norwood's Peter Dalwood was a powerful if ostensibly cumbersome giant who, predictably, was well nigh unbeatable in the air, but tended to struggle at ground level.  He was also a superb exponent of the drop kick, which he favoured.  Principally used as a ruckman, he could also hold down a key forward position, and indeed was the Redlegs' leading goal kicker on three occasions, with a league ladder-topping 70 goals in 1946 his best tally.  Dalwood's senior SANFL career consisted of 147 games between 1945 and 1954.  He was a member of Norwood premiership teams in 1946, 1948 and 1950.  In the 1946 grand final against Port Adelaide he booted 5 of the Redlegs' 13 goals to be close to best afield.  He was also listed high among the best players after the 5 goals grand final loss to West Adelaide in 1947.  Peter Dalwood represented South Australia in the interstate arena half a dozen times, kicking 13 goals.

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Anthony Daly (Norwood, West Torrens, West Adelaide, South Adelaide, North Adelaide)

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The first great goalsneak in the South Australian game, 'Bos' Daly began at Norwood and went on to play for West Torrens, West Adelaide, South Adelaide and North Adelaide.  He was the SAFA's top goal kicker on a total of seven occasions with three different clubs between 1893 and 1905, and his record of 23 goals in a match, established while playing for Norwood against Adelaide in his debut season, has been equalled (by Ken Farmer) but never bettered.  Daly also topped his various clubs' goal kicking lists on thirteen occasions, and tallied 556 goals in 213 games.  He played 10 games for South Australia, kicking 9 goals.  A premiership player with Norwood on four occasions, Daly was the top goal kicker for his club no fewer than thirteen times.

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John D. Daly (Norwood & West Adelaide)

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Widely acknowledged as the finest rover of his day, John 'Bunny' Daly was at the forefront of the game for almost twenty years.  Commencing at Norwood in 1887, his blistering pace and exquisite skills of evasion made him a virtual overnight sensation, and he was one of the main reasons for the Redlegs' hat trick of premierships between 1887 and '89.  In 1888 he helped his club to an emphatic triumph 3-0 over South Melbourne in a three match 'Test' series to determine Australia's champion club.

After twelve seasons and roughly 130 games with Norwood, Daly was forced to move to West Adelaide in 1899 because of a new rule stipulating that players had to play for the club in whose electoral district they resided.  At the time, West Adelaide was consistently floundering near the base of the premiership ladder, and although 'Bunny' Daly continued to perform with great distinction, he was unable to improve the club's lot.  He retired at the end of the 1904 season after a total of precisely 200 games which spawned four premierships (all for Norwood) and saw him spend time as captain of both of his clubs.  He also played 7 times for South Australia.

John Daly's brother Anthony was a champion goal kicker with no fewer than five different clubs, while his son, John junior, was a star rover with South Adelaide and South Australia during the 1920s.

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John W. Daly (South Adelaide)

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John W. Daly was the son of John D. Daly and the nephew of Anthony Daly, and every bit as accomplished a player as either of them.  Usually referred to as 'Jack' to distinguish him from his father, he roved with great success in 76 league games for South Adelaide between 1919 and 1924, over the course of which he booted 86 goals.  Pacy, tricky and skilful, he loved nothing better than to kick a goal, and was South's leading goal kicker in 1923 with 24 goals.  Daly was a member of South Australia's 1921 Perth carnival team, and played a total of 8 interstate matches, kicking 12 goals.

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Mick Daly (Central District)

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A member of Central District's first ever league team in 1964, Mick Daly shared with Colin Stutley the distinction of being the first ever Bulldogs players to amass 100 senior games.  Both players achieved the feat in 1969.  A spare parts player for much of his eight season, 139 game, 157 goal senior career, Daly was good enough as a key position forward to top the club's goal kicking list on two occasions, while he arguably produced his best and most consistent football as a centre half back under the coaching of Dennis Jones during the late sixties.  Strong, adaptable, and boasting more skill than he was often given credit for, Daly was a popular figure at Elizabeth and his tenure as captain between 1968 and 1970 can, in hindsight, be seen as helping in no small measure to lay the foundations for the club's initial stab at greatness during the early seventies.

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Gordon Dangerfield (St Kilda & Brighton)

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Immensely solid, reliable and assured, Gordon Dangerfield was undoubtedly one of St Kilda's finest early defenders.  Prior to joining the Saints he had played briefly with Brighton, including the first few matches of the 1908 season when the club commenced in the VFA..  His VFL stint comprised 159 games and 16 goals between 1905 and 1919 (although as indicated he missed the start of the 1908 season because he had briefly returned to Brighton).  Most of his football was played across half back, where his pace, good judgement, and excellent aerial ability served him well.  Dangerfield was at centre half back for the Saints in the losing challenge final of 1913 against Fitzroy.  He captained the club in 1911 and 1915.  After his league career was over he returned to his original club, Brighton, initially as a player in 1920, and then as coach the following year, when the side unfortunately ran last..

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Doug Daniel (Queanbeyan)

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Former junior Doug Daniel played a total of 238 first grade games for Queanbeyan, including seven grand finals.  When the Tigers overcame the challenge of Ainslie to win the 1988 grand final, Daniel won the Alex Jesaulenko Medal for best afield.  A regular ACT representative player, after his retirement as a player he maintained his involvement with Queanbeyan in a variety of coaching roles.

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Allen Daniels (Claremont, Footscray, Perth)

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Almost universally known as 'Shorty', Allen Daniels was an extremely talented wingman who began with Claremont in 1979 and was on the interchange bench two years later when the Tigers downed South Fremantle to win their first grand final since 1964.  In 1985-6 Daniels played 32 games with Footscray in the VFL, but the promise shown in his first season with the club was undermined to some extent by the effects of a persistent groin injury the following year.  Returning to Claremont in 1987 Daniels played just 3 games to take his final tally with the club to 105 before transferring to Perth.  Daniels spent the remainder of the 1987 season and the whole of 1988 with the Demons, playing a final 34 WAFL games.  He represented Western Australia on 5 occasions. 

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Anthony Daniher (South Melbourne & Essendon)

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One of four Daniher brothers to play VFL football Anthony Daniher was originally recruited by South Melbourne as a wingman but soon developed into a champion full back.  Daniher continued to play for the Swans when they controversially re-located to Sydney in 1982 and all told he played a total of 115 games for the club over the course of six seasons.  In 1987 he joined brothers Chris and Terry at Essendon and over the next few years he played probably the best football of his career culminating in selection in the inaugural AFL All Australian team in 1991.  An excellent mark and a booming kick - often utilising the by this stage somewhat unfashionable torpedo punt - Anthony was the tallest (at 191cm) and heaviest (90kg) of the Danihers; along with Terry he achieved membership of the league's '200 Club', and together with all three of his league football playing brothers he represented New South Wales in state of origin football.

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Chris Daniher (Essendon)

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The youngest, smallest and, arguably, least talented of the four footballing Daniher brothers, Chris Daniher nevertheless performed creditably, if intermittently, at the top level for Essendon over the course of more than a decade.  He had great stamina, was strong overhead, and could be used in both attacking and defensive roles.  He started many games, including the grand finals of 1990 against Collingwood (lost) and 1993 against Carlton (won), on the interchange bench, although as his career went on he began to be accorded greater responsibility, reflecting his gradual, but very definite, improvement as a player.  Between 1987 and 1997 he played a total of 134 senior games, and kicked 40 goals.

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Neale Daniher (Essendon, Werribee, Melbourne)

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Possibly the most naturally gifted, and certainly the unluckiest, of the Daniher brothers, Neale Daniher seemed to be on the verge of developing into one of the game's all time great defenders when his career was cruelly derailed by a serious knee injury, which required a full reconstruction.  That was in 1981, his third league season, during which he had emphasised his potential by winning Essendon's best and fairest award, as well as representing Victoria for the second successive season.  He later made two attempts to resurrect his career, in 1985, and, more concertedly but no more successfully, in 1989-90.  Both attempts gave rise to the need for further knee reconstructions.  At his best, Neale Daniher boasted pace, smooth skills, and commanding aerial prowess.  He also had an extremely sharp football brain, which he would eventually put to good use as coach of Melbourne, where he has been in charge since 1998.  Prior to that he had undertaken support coaching roles at both Essendon and Fremantle.

As a player, Neale Daniher made 82 senior appearances for the Bombers, and kicked 32 goals.  In 1991 he played with Werribee in the VFA.

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Terry Daniher (South Melbourne & Essendon)

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One of four brothers to play VFL football, Terry Daniher was recruited by South Melbourne from Ungarie, where he often played both football and rugby league on the same weekend, in 1976.  A year later he played the last of 19 games for the Swans in their losing elimination final against Richmond; during the close season he was traded to Essendon in exchange for centreman Neville Fields.  Terry's brother Neale, who at that stage had not played a league match, was included as part of what was popularly (although not perhaps entirely accurately) regarded as one of the most one-sided trades in league history.  What is impossible to deny, however, is that Essendon had every reason to be delighted with their side of the deal, as both the Daniher brothers went on to make significant contributions to the club.

As far as Terry is concerned there have been few more popular clubmen in Essendon's illustrious history.  Captain of the renowned 1984-5 premiership sides he played a total of 294 games for the Bombers between 1978 and 1992, was best and fairest in 1982, and twice topped the club goalkicking list.  Despite being a New South Welshman, he represented Victoria on 10 occasions in so called 'state of origin' football, as well as representing his home state 4 times (all as skipper).  He was also Australia's International Rules captain against the Irish in 1987. 

The nadir of Daniher's career came in 1990 when he was suspended for 12 matches after his involvement in an on field fracas during Essendon's grand final loss to Collingwood.  However, he resisted the temptation to retire and in 1991 played in his 20th league final for the Bombers, and his 21st in all.  Terry Daniher ended his career on a high note of sorts when he played in Essendon's 1992 reserves grand final defeat of Melbourne.

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David Darcy (Footscray & South Adelaide)

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Footscray recruited Dave Darcy from Sunshine YCW and used him initially as a half forward, where he was serviceable but hardly outstanding.  At the end of Darcy's debut season of 1963, Bulldogs coach Ted Whitten tried him as a defender during the VFL night series, and his performance levels lifted noticeably.  After that, he never looked back, and became one of the most reliable and consistent key position backmen in the league.  In 1967 he had to relocate temporarily to South Australia for business reasons, and he spent the year playing for South Adelaide, where his form was outstanding, and he was regarded as unfortunate not to make the state team.  Resuming with Footscray in 1968, Darcy carried on playing for another four seasons, taking his final career tally to 133 VFL games.  He had also represented the VFL in 4 interstate matches in 1965.  In 1972 he was enticed back to South Adelaide as captain-coach.  He spent two seasons in the role, steering the consistently under-achieving Panthers to consecutive 9th place finishes, and taking his personal SANFL games tally to 44.  In eleven seasons of league football, Dave Darcy never once participated in a finals series.  He remained at South as non-playing coach in 1974 and the team managed marginal improvement, winning 7 of its 22 matches to finish 8th, but it was not enough to persuade the club committee to retain his services, and he was replaced by Haydn Bunton junior.

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Ian Dargie (Subiaco, St Kilda, West Coast, Southport)

Dual Sandover Medallist Ian Dargie was a forceful and effective on-baller and centreline player for Subiaco in 131 senior games from 1986 to 1988 and between 1991 and 1994. Originally from North Beach, he was hampered by injury in his debut season, but recovered in time to feature in the club’s grand final triumph over East Fremantle. Dargie also played in the Lions’ 1988 premiership team and represented Western Australia against the VFA the same year before embarking on a two season stint in the V/AFL with St Kilda. In 1991 he returned to the west, ostensibly to continue his AFL career with West Coast, but he ended up playing virtually the whole season back with Subi where he showed that he improved markedly as a player by claiming his first Sandover win. His second, which followed in 1994, was accompanied by victory in the club’s fairest and best award. Dargie, who had resumed full time with Subiaco in 1992, finished his senior league career with a four season stint in the QAFL with Southport.

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Peter Darley (South Adelaide)

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For most of his thirteen season, 205 game League career Peter Darley was the archetypal 'man among boys', playing in losing, sometimes woeful, South Adelaide teams.  (The Panthers managed a paltry 37% success rate over the period.)  A fair measure of Darley's stature can be inferred from his being voted club champion no fewer than seven times.  He also represented the state on 13 occasions and, but for injury, would almost certainly have done so more frequently as he invariably performed with great distinction when confronted by top class opposition.  (His selection in the 1969 All Australian team attests to this.)  Hardly surprisingly, Peter Darley was selected as first ruckman in the Panthers' official 'Greatest Team'.

One of Darley's most auspicious interstate adversaries, Carlton's John Nicholls, said of him that "he was an inspiring leader and.....good mark, a very strong kick and above all (he knew) how to use his body when positioning for centre bounces and boundary throw-ins".

High praise indeed from someone who knew the art of ruckwork better than most.

After his league football career was over, Peter Darley played for a time for Hills Football League club Hahndorf.

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Charles Davey (Carlton)

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The archetypal lion-hearted ruckman, Charlie Davey was a mainstay of Carlton sides for eleven consecutive seasons, beginning in 1927, during which time he played a total of 143 VFL games.  A VFL carnival representative in Adelaide in 1930 and Sydney three years later, he also spent time as both vice-captain and captain of the Blues.  Davey led the Carlton rucks against Richmond in the losing grand final of 1932, but his retirement at the end of the 1937 season robbed him of a chance of playing in a premiership side as the Blues went top in 1938.  He was widely acknowledged as one of the finest overhead marks of his day, and was the consummate team player, being - among other things - extremely adept at using his body in order to create space for his smaller team mates.

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James Davidson (Melbourne)

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Recruited from Walhalla, rover Jimmy Davidson made his senior Melbourne debut in 1924 and was a key member two years later of the club's challenge final-winning team against Collingwood.  Originally from Walhalla, he was a consistently good performer throughout his nine season, 137 game, 62 goal VFL career.

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Harold Davie (Melbourne, Carlton, Preston)

 

Despite being lightly built Harry Davie was an excellent key position forward who began his senior career by registering 160 goals in 49 VFL games with Melbourne between 1924 and 1927.  He was the Fuchsias' leading goal kicker on two occasions.  After a staccato 1928 season (9 games, 26 goals) with Carlton, Davie crossed to VFA club Preston where, after spending his first few years at the goal front, he developed into a more than handy centreman, running fourth in both the Recorder Cup and VFA Medal in 1933. 

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Fred Davies (Carlton & Longford)

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Fred Davies was a popular figure at Carlton during a 125 game, 137 goal VFL career that began in 1941 and ended after the losing 1st semi final of 1952 against Fitzroy.  He missed four complete seasons being missed because of war service.  Equally at home as a follower or in either key forward position, Davies was among the best players afield with a 4 goal performance in the Blues' 13.8 (86) to 11.19 (85) grand final victory over Essendon in 1947.  He also played in the losing grand final against the same opposition two years later.  Davies served as Carlton's vice-captain during his final VFL season.

In 1953 he crossed the Bass Strait after being appointed captain-coach of NTFA club Longford.  He spent half a dozen seasons with the Tigers, steering them to three local premierships from four grand finals, plus the 1957 state flag.  On the personal front, he won an Association best and fairest award under-written by 'The Mercury' newspaper in 1956.  Just three years after retiring as a player Fred Davies passed away at the tragically early age of forty.  Precisely forty years later his importance in the history of the Longford Football Club was emphasised when he was selected as captain-coach and first ruckman in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Harold Davies (St Kilda)

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After an unconvincing start to his league career as a half forward flanker - he once asked to be dropped because he was so lacking in confidence - Harold Davies managed to re-invent himself with such success that he became acknowledged as one of the game's premier half backs.  He played a total of 85 VFL games with St Kilda between 1953 and 1959, kicking 20 goals.  Quick, sure and skilful, his predominantly left foot kicking was both penetrative and accurate, and he was selected to represent the 'Big V' before sustaining a serious knee injury that, sadly, was to bring his career to a premature end.

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James Davies (Port Adelaide)

Nicknamed 'Welshy', James Davies was a superb ruckman who played for Port between 1896 and 1909, and of whom the great Tom Leahy said "I class him as one of the great ruckmen of all time.  He always made the ball his objective, and his long, skimming drop kicks on the run were features of his play" (see footnote 1).

A South Australian intercolonial or interstate representative on 5 occasions, Davies was a member of Port Adelaide premiership teams in 1897, 1903 and 1906.

Footnotes

1.  Quoted in 100 Years With The Magpies: The Story Of The Port Adelaide Football Club by A.R. McLean, page 15.  Davies' surname was sometimes rendered 'Davis', but the 'Welshy' tag makes 'Davies' seem more probable.  Return to Main Text

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Jim Davies (Windsor)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Windsor's Jim Davies was a classy centreman of exemplary character, as well as a great leader on and off the field.  He won the De Little Medal three times in the 1930s after also picking up the competition's reserves medal as a teenager. He was captain during his club's astonishing era of five flags in a row from 1936-40.  Davies represented Queensland between 1934-9 and led the Maroons in 1938.

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Neil Davies (Glenelg, Richmond, St Marys, Western Districts)

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Neil Davies enjoyed a varied and mercurial football career in four competitions but overall his achievements fell a little short of what might reasonably have been expected for someone possessing his formidable array of talents.

Touted as 'the next big thing', Davies joined Glenelg from Broken Hill in 1951 and had an immediate, and significant, impact.  In only his 2nd senior game, playing in the centre, he comprehensively outpointed his West Torrens opponent Bob Hank and was instrumental in steering the Tigers to a comfortable win.  After only 3 games of League football he was selected in the state squad for the forthcoming match against the VFA, and played well as South Australia won by 95 points.

The Davies cocktail comprised equal parts aggression, determination, speed and skill, making him, when on form, almost irrepressible.  In 1953 he mixed this cocktail to perfection almost every week, winning Glenelg's best and fairest award, and finishing 2nd to South Adelaide's Jim Deane in the Magarey Medal.  He was also one of South Australia's most prominent performers at that year's Adelaide carnival, earning All Australian selection as a result.  All told, Neil Davies represented South Australia a total of 20 times, kicking 11 goals.

In 1955 Neil Davies moved to Richmond in the VFL but he quit the Tigers after just 2 games over what he considered to be his harsh treatment by the club.  With time on his hands, Davies decided to see Australia.  He ended up in Darwin, where he captain-coached St Marys to a premiership and won the 1955-56 Nichols Medal for good measure.  

The NTFL ran its competition on Saturday afternoons in those days, and for want of something to do on a Sunday Davies decided to throw in his lot with a local rugby league team.  So successful was he in this 'heathen' sport that he attracted the attention of talent scouts from British team Warrington, who enticed him to join them briefly that winter.

Come April 1956, however, and Neil Davies was back at the Bay Oval, ready for another season of proper football.  He soon showed that he had lost none of his natural ability, winning his second club best and fairest award, and topping Glenelg's goal kicking.  The following season he was appointed captain, a position he held for three years, while in 1958 and '59 he coached the side, steering them to a rare preliminary final in the latter year.

With the addition of leadership responsibilities, Neil Davies' personal form began to decline somewhat.  That is not to suggest that he became a poor player, merely that he no longer seemed able to perform at his very best as consistently as during the early part of his career.  He retired from League football at the end of the 1963 season.

Davies left Glenelg at the end of the 1963 season and spent the final 4 seasons of his league career with Western Districts in Queensland, during which time he also represented Queensland's interstate team.

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Rick Davies (Sturt, Hawthorn, South Adelaide)

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If he is probably best remembered today for his Herculean performance for Sturt against Port Adelaide in the 1976 SANFL grand final, Rick Davies nevertheless enjoyed numerous other highlights during the course of his 370 game league career with three clubs.  Far and away the majority of those games (317) were played with the Double Blues, for whom he made his debut as an eighteen year old during a 1970 season that brought the club the last of its extraordinary, near record breaking sequence of five premierships.  Davies did not participate in that season's winning grand final against Glenelg, but from 1971 he became a regular fixture in a Sturt team that would spend the next three seasons re-building before re-emerging as the state's definitive football force in 1974.  

Having played much of his early football as a forward, Davies had developed into a top notch ruckman by the time of the 1974 grand final which saw the Double Blues overcome the challenge of reigning premier Glenelg by 15 points.  Davies was a widespread choice as best afield that day, the perfect consummation of a season which had also seen him claim the second of an eventual seven club best and fairest awards.

Two years later, the SANFL grand final saw a Sturt side which, in the public imagination at least, occupied the role of 'David', fronting up to Port Adelaide's 'Goliath' in front of an all time record crowd officially given as 66,897, but almost certainly at least 10,000 more.  It proved to be one of the most memorable afternoons in South Australian football, with Davies' deceptively casual 21 kick, 21 handball, 15 mark, 21 hit-out performance the most eye-catchingly significant feature of the Double Blues' eventual 41 point win.  "From the beginning of 1974 to the end of 1976 he (Davies) controlled every match he played in," recalled team mate Phil 'Sandy' Nelson years later.  "For those 60 or 70 games he had football by the short and curlies.  Very few people could do that.  Rick did it."  (See footnote 1)

When Sturt next contested a grand final, in 1978, Rick Davies was again prominent, but on this occasion it was Norwood which assumed the role of indefatigable underdog to perfection in scoring an improbable come from behind victory by the narrowest margin.

Despite the fact that he was clearly nearing the end of his career, Davies opted to spend the 1981 season with Hawthorn in the VFL.  Playing mainly as a forward pocket, he booted 37 goals in 20 games and, if his abilities had dimmed somewhat since his halcyon phase of the mid-1970s, he nevertheless looked totally at home in a competition which was on a fast track towards unrivalled national pre-eminence.

The closing seasons of Davies' league career saw him acquire a new reputation as one of the most damaging key position forwards around, topping Sturt's goal kicking list every year from 1982-4, and that of South Adelaide, where he went as captain-coach after Don Scott was sacked in 1985, both that year and the next.  In 1983, he topped the SANFL's goal kicking with 151 goals, a new league record.

A regular South Australian interstate representative (20 appearances) in both the pre- and post-state of origin eras, Davies was selected as captain of the 1980 All Australian team after that year's Adelaide carnival.  His inclusion in Sturt's official 'Team of the Century' as 1st ruckman was presumably almost automatic.

Footnotes

1.  Quoted in True Blue: the History of the Sturt Football Club by John Lysikatos, page 255.  Return to Main Text

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Edwin Daviess (West Torrens)

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West Torrens' Edwin Daviess (the double 's' is correct) was arguably the premier South Australian full back of the immediate post-World War One era.  He represented South Australia at both the 1921 Perth and 1924 Hobart carnivals, and all told played a total of 8 games for his state.  Extremely solid and reliable, he was an expert at the full back's art of racing out from goal to meet the ball and then clearing it with interest back toward the centre of the ground.  Strong overhead, he knew when to spoil, and when to try for the mark, and was rarely caught out of position.  His 107 SAFL games for Torrens included the challenge final of 1924, when he was one of the best players afield in the blue and golds' 8 point win over Sturt (reviewed here).  Daviess, who captained his club in 1922, would be the outright favourite to occupy the full back position should any official 'all time great' West Torrens team ever be selected.

In 1937 Daviess returned to Torrens as non-playing coach, leading the side as far as the semi final, where, in what was his sole season in charge, it lost by 50 points to South Adelaide.

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Alan Davis (St Kilda, Melbourne, Essendon, Collingwood)

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An audaciously talented forward, capable of the spectacular, Alan Davis began his VFL career with St Kilda in a blaze of glory by being the youngest player in the club's 1966 grand final victory over Collingwood.  He went on to spend a decade with the Saints, playing 173 VFL games and kicking 303 goals which included club list topping tallies of 70 in 1971 and 48 in 1973.  He moved to Melbourne in 1976 and added 41 games and 36 goals over the next two seasons before playing 33 games and booting 27 goals for Essendon in 1978-9.  His final port of call was Collingwood where he added just 3 games and a goal in 1980.  Far and away his best football, which included VFL interstate representation, came during his stint with St Kilda, when for a time his penchant for the freakishly unexpected made him one of the VFL's top drawcards.

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Barry Davis (Essendon & North Melbourne)

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In addition to being without doubt one of the greatest figures in the post-war history of the Essendon Football Club, Barry Davis can lay claim to having been North Melbourne's first ever VFL premiership captain.

Recruited by the Bombers from Essendon High School, Davis made his league debut in 1961 and immediately stamped himself as a star in the making.  Initially used mainly as a half forward, by the time of Essendon's victorious 1962 grand final against Carlton he formed one third, along with Ian 'Bluey' Shelton and Alec 'Kookaburra' Epis, of one of the greatest half back lines in VFL history.  Three years later Davis was once again on the half back line on grand final day, and was one of the best players on view as the Bombers comfortably overcame St Kilda.

Allying tremendous toughness to his iridescent all round football ability, Barry Davis seemed to get better with each passing year.  A regular 'Big V' representative, he won Essendon's premier individual award on three occasions, and was runner-up once, but in 1973 he controversially jumped ship to North Melbourne, where he was promptly appointed club captain, after being at the centre of a controversial row over player payments.

Davis could not have arrived at North at a better time as, under dynamic coach Ronald Dale Barassi, the Roos were at long last beginning to emerge as a power.  In 1974 they reached only their second VFL grand final in half a century, and although they were forced to accept second billing on that occasion to an extremely powerful Richmond combination it was obvious that they were very much a side on the make.  The following year, with Davis in the twilight of his glittering career, the Roos went all the way courtesy of an exhilarating grand final win over warm pre-match favourite Hawthorn.  Barry Davis, who by this time had developed into one of the best running players in the game, was a key contributor to North's triumph, and after winning his second club best and fairest award in three seasons he opted to quit while he was ahead, and retired.

In 291 VFL games spread over fifteen seasons he was one of the few players of his time genuinely to warrant the title 'superstar'.  In 1978 he returned to his original stamping ground at windy Hill as non-playing senior coach of the Bombers, but after three seasons of under-achievement opted to do the honorable thing by resigning.

Barry Davis was selected on a half back flank in Essendon's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century', and on the interchange bench in North Melbourne's.

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Bob Davis (Geelong)

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Boasting pace, power and panache in abundance, Bob 'Woofa' Davis appropriately went by the nickname of 'The Geelong Flier'.  As a half forward flanker he made significant contributions to the Cats' premiership victories of 1951 and '52, and was voted club best and fairest in 1957.  Originally from Golden Point, Davis was an avid South Melbourne supporter as a youngster but when that club rejected him he tried his luck with the Cats, who immediately snapped him up.  Between 1948 and 1958 he played 189 VFL games, kicking 149 goals.  A regular 'Big V' representative, Bob Davis earned All Australian selection, as captain, in 1958.  He also captained Geelong in his last four seasons with the club.  Appointed coach of the Cats in 1960 he was successful in guiding the club to a grand final victory over Hawthorn three seasons later.  He went on to enjoy a successful media career.

In 2001, Bob Davis was selected in his accustomed half forward flank position in Geelong's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Frank Davis (Melbourne & Frankston)

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Back pocket specialist Frank Davis was a tremendous servant of the Melbourne Football Club in 168 VFL games spread over ten seasons.  He made his Demons debut in 1964, and managed to keep his place in the side until the finals series, in which Melbourne ultimately prevailed.  In the titanic grand final tussle with Collingwood Davis actually played on a half back flank, but his usual position for most of his career, including interstate matches for the VFL, was the back pocket.  In 1970 Frank Davis was appointed captain of the Demons, and celebrated by winning a best and fairest award that same year.  He retained the captaincy until the end of the 1972 season.  In 1980 he took on the coaching role at VFA 1st division club Frankston but the team performed poorly and he was replaced later in the season by Ian Bremner.

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Jack Davis (St Kilda)

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Undoubtedly one of the finest key position defenders of his era, Jack Davis won best and fairest awards at St Kilda in 1934-5 and 1937, and was a regular member of 'Big V' representative sides.  Between 1930 and 1938 he played a total of 153 VFL games for the Saints and would, presumably, have been a strong contender for inclusion in the club's official 'Team of the Century', announced in 2002.  Unfortunately for Davis, the 1930s was a fairly thankless decade for St Kilda, with the club's only finals appearance coming in 1939, the year after Davis had elected to call it quits.

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Tom Davis (Perth)

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Hard working and tough as nails, with an excellent leap, ruckman Tom Davis was the only Perth player to feature in both the club's 1955 and 1966 premiership teams.  Indeed, his 220 game, 129 goal league career ran between the two years in question, ending with an appearance as 19th man in the 1966 grand final defeat of East Perth.  A Western Australian interstate representative on a couple of occasions, he was perhaps overshadowed during his career by the likes of Farmer, Clarke, Foley and Slater, but opponents underestimated him at their peril.

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James 'Jim' Dawes (South Adelaide)

An extremely capable footballer who exuded ardent concentration and fixity of purpose in everything he did, Jim Dawes played a total of 128 senior games for South Adelaide between 1934 and 1941, plus another 23 for the Sturt-South Adelaide wartime combination.  A glorious high mark, and a fine kick, he helped South to premiership wins in 1935 and 1938, both times at the expense of Port Adelaide.  (The 1938 grand final is reviewed here.)  He represented South Australia 3 times.  After his retirement as a player, he served as a league umpire for a time, and in 1948 officiated at two finals matches.  Appointed non-playing coach of South Adelaide in 1949 he spent two seasons in the role.  However, in complete contrast to his time as a player with the club, this was a rankly inglorious period, and Dawes oversaw just 4 wins in 34 matches.

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John 'Jack' Dawes (South Adelaide)

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'Jack' Dawes played 120 league games for South Adelaide between 1935 and 1941, many of them alongside his older brother Jim.  He also played 21 games during the war years for the temporary Sturt-South Adelaide combined team.  Jeff Pash called him "a polished footballer in all respects, and one of the best leaders I have known" (see footnote 1).  His finest hour came when he skippered South to a startling 23.14 (152) to 15.16 (106) grand final defeat of Port Adelaide in 1938 (click here for a match report).  The previous year he had won both the club best and fairest trophy and its top goal kicking award, and represented South Australia at the Perth carnival.  He captained South between 1938 and 1941, during which time it enjoyed a success rate of over 65%.

Jack Dawes was named in the forward pocket in South Adelaide's official 'Greatest Team'.

Footnotes

1.  The Pash Papers by Jeff Pash, page 38.  Return to Main Text

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Ian Day (West Adelaide & South Adelaide)

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An accomplished and combative rover, Ian Day gave good service to two league clubs in a twelve season career at the top level.  He began at West Adelaide in 1952, and played a total of 67 league matches there (missing the whole of the 1953 season) before crossing to South Adelaide in 1961.  The timing of this move meant that he missed the opportunity later that year to participate in West's grand final defeat of Norwood, but he made amends three seasons later by helping South to its first flag since 1938.  Day formed part of a powerful 1st ruck combination that day along with Peter Darley and Neil Kerley, and had the satisfaction of kicking the Panthers' 9th, and final, goal of the match.  It was the last of Ian Day's 68 SANFL matches for the club.  He also kicked a total of 178 goals, 80 with Westies, and 98 for South which included a club list heading tally of 35 in his last season.

Ian Day's younger brother Robert played with distinction for West Adelaide and Hawthorn.  Once his playing career was over, Ian Day became a television football commentator of note.

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Robert Day (West Adelaide & Hawthorn)

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After making his league debut with West Adelaide in 1962, Robert Day, younger brother of Ian, rapidly established himself as one of the finest centremen in South Australia.  Speedy, strong, well balanced, and elegant, he was a driving force behind West's assault on the 1962 premiership.  In the grand final that year he was widely considered to be the best player afield, despite playing in a losing side.

One of the most eye-catching features of Day's game was his kicking.  According to Jeff Pash, his "long drop is a most handsome and powerful kick.  He puts the ball well out, lies back on it, and gets it away with an elegant ease" (see footnote 1).

Between 1963 and 1966 it is doubtful if there was a more damaging centreman in the game, a status confirmed by his selection in that position in the 1966 All Australian team.  Sadly, over the remainder of his career, Day was beset by frequent injuries, although he managed to perform with some of his old consistency in 1969, achieving selection as centreman in the 'Advertiser' Team of the Year, and in 1970 he won his third club best and fairest award.  The following season he ventured to Hawthorn for a stint in the VFL, and the long overdue fulfillment of every footballer's primary ambition, participation in a premiership team.  Day was on a half back flank as the Hawks overcame St Kilda by 7 points, but after putting in a solid first half performance he was forced from the fray with injury.  After another season in the VFL he returned to West for one last season, with niggling injuries continuing to limit his effectiveness, as a total of just 175 league games in twelve seasons of football confirms.  Day also played for South Australia a dozen times, kicking 2 goals.

Footnotes

1.  The Pash Papers by Jeff Pash, page 234.  Return to Main Text

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Clem Dayman (North Adelaide & Port Adelaide)

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A formidably effective forward and follower, Clem Dayman enjoyed success with two league clubs, besides representing South Australia in the interstate arena 7 times.  He commenced his career with North Adelaide, and was heavily instrumental in that club's emergence as a force when league football in South Australia resumed in 1919 following a three year hiatus because of the Great War.  Dayman was North's top goal kicker in 1919 with 18 goals, and during that season's marathon finals series (described here) he vied with the legendary Tom Leahy as his side's most effective all round contributor.  It was after crossing to Port Adelaide, however, that he truly established himself as one of the foremost footballers in the league.  Between 1921 and 1925 he played 69 games for the Magpies, including the winning challenge final of 1921 against Norwood.  Skipper of the club in 1923, he is listed by some sources as its fairest and most brilliant award recipient in 1922, although according to certain other sources the award went to Charlie Adams.  Nevertheless, he was a highly respected figure at Alberton who, along with his younger brother Leslie, implemented something of a mini dynasty at the club, with his son Lisle Dayman later representing both Port Adelaide and the state with distinction during the 1940s. 

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Leslie 'Bro' Dayman (Port Adelaide, Footscray, Coburg)

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Almost invariably known as 'Bro', Les Dayman arrived at Port Adelaide from the Salisbury Football Club in 1921, the same season that saw his brother Clem transfer to the Magpies from North Adelaide.  A dominating presence whether in a key position or as a ruckman, 'Bro' Dayman was without doubt one of the Port Adelaide Football Club's all time greats.  In his debut season he was an auspicious contributor to Port's first post-war premiership, and throughout the 1920s he went on to prove himself one of the game's finest exponents.  Powerful overhead, and abundantly skilled, he won Port Adelaide's best and fairest award on three occasions and topped the club's goal kicking four times.  He was the league's top goal kicker in 1929 with 86 goals, and was a near automatic choice for South Australia for much of his time in that state, playing a total of 19 interstate matches and booting 30 goals.

After 165 games for the Magpies, Dayman was enticed east by Footscray in 1932.  He played 33 VFL games in three seasons for the Tricolours, topping their goal kicking list in his first year with 37 goals.  He continued his senior career with a brief stint at Coburg in the VFA before rounding things off back home with Port Adelaide where he added a final league game to his tally in 1937.  He kicked a total of 401 goals for the Magpies.

After World War Two 'Bro' Dayman returned to Port Adelaide and served in a variety of off field capacities including secretary and coach of the club's seconds.  At the turn of the century he was named at centre half forward in Port's official 'Greatest Team 1870 to 2000'.

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Bert Deacon (Preston & Carlton)

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Somewhat surprisingly for a club with such an illustrious pedigree, it took Carlton twenty-seven years to come up with its first Brownlow Medallist in the shape of virtuoso centre half back Bert Deacon.  

As fair as he was talented, Deacon began and finished his senior career with VFA side Preston.  He joined the Blues in 1942, and was a key member of premiership teams in both 1945 and his Brownlow year.  Strong overhead and brilliant at ground level, he effectively constituted the first line of attack for the Blues, with his superb anticipation frequently enabling him to intercept the ball and return it with interest, almost invariably to his team's advantage.

In 1952, Deacon returned to his original club Preston as captain-coach.  He was regarded as having "an excellent rapport with his players" (see footnote 1), but it was not until he began to coach the team from the sidelines that this began to bear fruit.  In 1955 the Bullants qualified for the finals for the first time since the war, and although they would not win a premiership for another 8 seasons there is little doubt that Deacon was instrumental in laying a foundation of professionalism on which his successors were able to build.

In 1958, Bert Deacon returned to Carlton as vice-president, and later served as club secretary.

Footnotes

1.  The Bullants: a History of Preston Football Club by Marc Fiddian, page 44.  Return to Main Text

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Jack Dean (Eastern Suburbs & Sydney Naval)

 

Ruckman Jack Dean was a leading light in the Eastern Suburbs teams which dominated Sydney football during the 1950s.  He made his senior debut for the club as a seventeen year old and went on to play in six consecutive premiership teams between 1953 and 1958.  After coaching in the country in 1959-60 he returned for one last season with Eastern Suburbs in 1961, taking his final tally of games with that club to 310, before rounding off his career with 45 games for Sydney Naval between 1962 and 1966.  Dean, who was Sydney born and bred, won Eastern Suburbs' best and fairest award on four occasions and was voted New South Wales' best player at the 1958 centenary carnival in Melbourne.  He represented New South Wales 25 times, and, in 2003, was selected as one of ten inaugural members of the Sydney AFL Hall of Fame.  Between 1970 and 1982 Jack Dean was president of Eastern Suburbs, overseeing another highly auspicious era in the club's illustrious history.

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Robert Dean (Collingwood & South Melbourne)

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A product of Ivanhoe Amateurs, Robert Dean was recruited by Collingwood, and made his VFL debut in 1969.  Tall (189cm), athletic and pacy, the Magpies used him mainly on the wing.  His 121 games for the club between 1969 and 1975 included the infamous losing grand final of 1970 against Carlton (reviewed here).  In 1976 he crossed to South Melbourne where his aerial prowess was utilised to good effect at centre half forward.  He topped the Swans' goal kicking list in his first season at the club with 37 goals, and went on to amass 81 in 66 games over five seasons to add to the 37 he had booted for the Magpies.

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Roger Dean (Richmond)

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Roger Dean epitomised perhaps more than anyone else the quintessential 'Tiger spirit' with which Tom Hafey imbued Richmond after his appointment as coach in 1967.  Tremendously resolute and determined, but also highly skilled, he played in two premiership sides during his 246 game league career with the Tigers.  He was skipper of the club for four seasons, including the premiership year of 1969.  Normally a permanent back pocket, Dean could also do a job on the forward lines if required, plundering many a goal for the Tigers from free kicks for which he 'staged' with unequalled virtuosity. 

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Colin Deane (New Town, Melbourne, St Kilda)

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A forthright and terrier-like rover, who kicked the ball beautifully, Colin Deane played his early football with New Town during that club's first few seasons in the TANFL.  Recognised as one of the league's finest players, he was a regular member of TANFL intrastate representative teams, and played for Tasmania at the 1924 Hobart carnival.  The following year he moved to Melbourne, where he gave excellent service in 82 games over the course of the next six seasons.  He was a member of the Fuchsias' 1926 premiership-winning team, and played interstate football for the VFL.  In contrast to his time in the TANFL, Deane played most of his football in Victoria as a follower.

After leaving Melbourne, Deane spent some time in New Zealand before returning as coach of the club's seconds team, which he promptly steered to the flag, in 1932.  The following year he returned to senior football as captain-coach of St Kilda.  After playing just 3 games, however, he retired as a player in order to concentrate on coaching, but a return of just 6 wins from 18 games for 9th place on the ladder was not good enough for him to retain his position for 1934. 

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Jim Deane (South Adelaide & Richmond)

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Arguably the most famous name in the post-war history of the South Adelaide Football Club, Jim Deane won the 1953 Magarey Medal and was runner-up on a countback in 1957 (see footnote 1), claimed half a dozen club best and fairest awards, was an automatic selection in South Australian interstate teams (15 appearances, and 12 goals), and yet never played in a single major round match in a league career stretching twelve seasons, which included a two year stint at Richmond.  His reputation transcended state boundaries, and in the early 1950s he was widely regarded as the best half forward flank specialist in Australia, a status which was endorsed by his consistent selection in that position in the prestigious 'Sporting Life' Team of the Year.

As a player, Deane possessed all the attributes necessary to succeed in the tough and frenetic world of the VFL: powerful and resilient, no matter how heavy the traffic he almost always seemed able to get his hands on the ball and off load it purposefully.  Whereas contemporaries like Bob Hank or Lindsay Head were masters at dodging and pirouetting their way out of trouble, Jim Deane seemed almost to glory in confronting it head on.  He picked up numerous injuries as a result, but this eschewing of personal safety in the interests of the team arguably made him a more effective and valuable player.

After his league career came to an end in 1957, Deane continued as a player in country football for the better part of another decade.  He captain-coached Myrtleford in the powerful Ovens and Murray Football League from 1958-62, winning the Morris Medal for best and fairest in the competition twice.  He spent his final seasons as a player in Port Pirie.

In 1971, Jim Deane returned 'home' to South Adelaide as non-playing coach, but in two seasons in charge he was unable to lift the side above second from bottom on the ladder.

Footnotes

1.  In 1998, the SANFL awarded all such runners-up retrospective Medals.  Return to Main Text

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Andrew Demetriou (North Melbourne & Hawthorn)

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Andrew Demetriou was recruited from Pascoe Vale by North Melbourne and made his VFL debut in 1981.  Between then and 1987 he played a total of 103 senior games for the Kangas, kicking 47 goals.  A skilful, inventive player, he produced his best football on the wing.  In 1988 he transferred to Hawthorn where he added a final 3 games and 1 goal.  Since retiring as a player he has maintained involvement in football as an administrator, most notably as Chief Executive Officer of the AFL, a post to which he was appointed in September 2003.  Prior to that he had been Chief Executive of the AFL Players' Association (1998-2000) and General Manager AFL Football Operations (2000-3).

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Bill Dempsey (Darwin & West Perth)

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After leaving the Darwin Football Club as an eighteen year old in 1960 Bill Dempsey went on to become one of the finest ruckman to play in Western Australia since the war.  Whether on the ball or resting in a back pocket he was an imposing, formidable presence, who inspired his team mates. Cardinals best and fairest in 1966, he won a Simpson Medal after the 1969 grand final in which he formed part of an irrepressible 1st ruck combination with the legendary Graham 'Polly' Farmer, and Bill Valli.  West Perth won that game by 73 points, and would go on to lift further premierships, with Dempsey a prominent contributor both times, in 1971 and 1975.  He also returned home to the Top End occasionally, and was a member of Darwin's unbeaten 1967/68 premiership team.

After making his interstate debut in an ignominious home defeat against Tasmania in 1963, Dempsey went on to more than make amends with some superb performances in a total of 14 state appearances over the course of the next decade.  

The last game of Bill Dempsey's illustrious 343 game WANFL career came in the losing 1976 1st semi final against Perth.  Only Mel Whinnen, with 371 games over 18 seasons, represented West Perth on more occasions than Dempsey.

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Gary Dempsey (Footscray, North Melbourne, Southport)

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Few players have experienced triumph and trauma in their careers to quite the same extent as Gary Dempsey.  Recruited by Footscray from Footscray Technical School Old Boys, he was a ready made league player when he debuted in 1967, and over the course of the ensuing eighteen seasons he built a reputation as one of the finest ruckmen ever to play the game.  In January 1969, however, the prospects of any sort of football career, let alone a highly auspicious and successful one, seemed virtually non-existent, as Gary Dempsey lay in a hospital bed with severe burns covering fifty per cent of his body, a legacy of a failed attempt to repel bush fires threatening the family farm at Lara.  The fact that he eventually recovered from such serious injuries was remarkable enough, but the fact that he recovered sufficiently to return to top level football was next door to miraculous.  

Having returned to the Footscray side in round 19 1969, just seven months after his life had hung in the balance, Dempsey was soon playing the best football of his life.  In 1970 he won the first of six Bulldog best and fairest awards and finished second to South Melbourne's Peter Bedford in the Brownlow voting, and in 1971 he took over from Stuart Magee as Footscray's captain.  In 1972 he assisted the Big V to a seemingly effortless triumph in the Australian interstate championships in Perth, and was rewarded for his own dominant series of performances with selection in the All Australian team.

Like his namesake at West Perth, Bill Dempsey, a key element in Gary Dempsey's greatness was that he was, effectively, two champion players rolled into one.  Virtually unbeatable in 'round the ground ruck contests, he transformed seamlessly into an indomitable, strong marking defender when resting in the backlines.  Small wonder he attracted so much attention - of the right sort - from umpires: after coming second in the Brownlow in 1970, he came within clutching distance of the award in each of the following four seasons, before finally breaking through for a win in 1975.

Individual awards are all very well, but what every footballer worth his salt really wants is participation in a premiership team.  With that in mind, in 1979 Gary Dempsey sought, and was granted, a transfer from the perennially under-achieving Bulldogs to the team which had contested the previous five VFL grand finals, North Melbourne.  Sadly for Dempsey, it was to be another eighteen seasons before the 'Roos would again feature in that 'one day in September', by which time, needless to say, his career as a league footballer was long over.  Nevertheless, Dempsey gave North sterling service in 123 games over six seasons, winning a best and fairest award in 1979, besides consistently polling well in the Brownlow.  When he left the VFL at the end of the 1984 season he had played a total of 337 games, and had secured more Brownlow Medal votes than any other player in history (see footnote 1).  Moreover, his achievement in winning 7 VFL club champion awards has only been bettered by three players.

Still in search of that elusive premiership, Dempsey, who now spoke in a coarse, rasping voice courtesy of a hefty blow to the throat received during a game, ventured north once the VFL phase of his career was over, and joined consistently successful QAFL side, Southport.  In 1987, he finally achieved his 'Holy Grail' with a best afield performance as the Sharks scored a 23 point win over Windsor-Zillmere in a tempestuous grand final which left many players much the worse for wear, and Dempsey himself with an assortment of facial wounds requiring ten stitches.  Having spent the majority of the night before the match wide awake, nursing his asthmatic son, he certainly earned his spurs the hard way, but the broad grin on his face as he clutched his premiership and Joe Grant medallions to his chest after the game made it obvious that, as far as Gary Dempsey at any rate was concerned, it was 'mission accomplished', and 'cheap at half the price' (see footnote 2).

Gary Dempsey's selection as first ruckman in the Western Bulldogs official 'Team of the Twentieth Century' was predictable, but eminently warranted.

Footnotes

1.  Dempsey received a total of 246 votes, 44 more than second placed Leigh Matthews, but both these players' totals were somewhat inflated by the fact that they played in 1976-7, when double votes - one complete set per umpire - were awarded.  Return to Main Text

2.  I am indebted to Greg Parker for supplying details of Gary Dempsey's QAFL career.  Dempsey was also a joint runner-up in the 1987 Grogan Medal voting.  Return to Main Text

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David Dench (North Melbourne)

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North Melbourne recruited David Dench from West Coburg and he rapidly developed into one of the best full backs of his era.  A superb mark, and extremely hard to beat one on one, he also knew when to back his judgment and embark on telling forays down field.

Dench made his VFL debut with North in 1969 while still only seventeen.  Two years later he won the first of his four club best and fairest awards.

Among the best players afield when the 'Roos beat Hawthorn in the 1975 grand final to annex their first VFL flag, Dench was acting captain of the club's second premiership team against Collingwood a couple of years later.  He was a regular member of VFL interstate, and later Victorian state of origin, teams, and seldom lowered his colours.

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Barry Denny (Morningside & Melbourne)

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by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

A South Brisbane junior who was recruited from Morningside to VFL club Melbourne, Barry Denny played 22 games from 1977 to 1979 as a utility defender.  He enjoyed a stand out career with Morningside before and after his stint in Melbourne, winning the club best and fairest award  in 1972 and 1976, and regularly polling well in the Grogan Medal, in which he was runner-up in 1973. Denny played 7 times for Queensland, and later coached the Panthers.

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John 'Jack' Dermody (Port Adelaide)

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Recruited from Kapunda, for whom he won the Barossa and Light Association's best and fairest award, the Doering Medal, in 1930, wingman Jack Dermody was a key figure in the great Port Adelaide sides of the 1930s.  Between 1932 and 1938 he played a total of 108 SANFL games, which included the winning grand finals of 1936 against Sturt and 1937 against South Adelaide, in both of which he appeared as the Magpies' captain.  Pacy and skilful, Dermody represented South Australia on 16 occasions, and was state captain for the 1937 Perth carnival, having also played in the Sydney carnival four years earlier.  He won Port Adelaide's best and fairest award in 1933 and 1935, and ran third in the voting for the 1933 Magarey Medal.  He would have to be considered slightly unfortunate not to have been selected in Port Adelaide's official 'Greatest Team 1870-2000', but the fact that he felt constrained to retire from league football early, aged just twenty-seven, may have counted against them.  Throughout his Port career Dermody had to travel back and forth from Kapunda twice a week, once for training, and once for the game on Saturday.  In return, all he received was his travelling expenses, plus an end of season bonus of two shillings and sixpence for every senior game played during the year.  In 1939, Dermody resumed playing with Kapunda, and continued until he broke his collar bone in the second quarter of the 1950 grand final.  He went on to serve in various off-field roles with the Barossa and Light Association, confirming himself as one of the greatest names in that competition's history.

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Jim Derrington (Sturt)

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Dynamic, tenacious and intermittently classy, rover Jim Derrington gave Sturt loyal service for eleven seasons, playing 188 SANFL games and kicking 232 goals, besides missing many other games through injury.  He made his league debut in 1977, when he became one of a select group of footballers to register a goal with his first kick in league football.  In the losing grand final of 1983 against West Adelaide Derrington was one of the Double Blues' best players.

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John Dethridge (Claremont)

 

A dynamic and hard working ruckman whose energetic approach helped compensate for a lack of inches, John Dethridge was a key player for Claremont in 157 games between 1959 and 1968. The twin highlights of his career were helping Western Australia to its famous 1961 carnival win, and playing for the Tigers in the victorious grand final of 1964 against East Fremantle. Dethridge represented his state on 5 occasions.

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Terry Devery (Box Hill, Footscray, Morningside)

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by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Terry Devery was a match-winning rover, originally from Box Hill, who joined Morningside after playing 31 VFL games with Footscray from 1957 to 1961.  He formed an awesome combination with ruck giant Terry Johnston to drag the Panthers out of the doldrums, culminating in their first premiership in 1965. Runner-up in the Grogan Medal in 1962, Devery played 6 games for Queensland, and was regularly among the Maroons' best.  He was named captain of the Morningside 'Team of the Half Century' announced in 2001.

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Gary Dhurrkay (Wanderers, East Fremantle, Fremantle, Kangaroos, Darwin)

 

A supremely talented footballer, Gary Dhurrkay should probably have achieved more than he did.  A member of Fremantle's inaugural AFL team in 1995, he played a total of 51 games with the Dockers over four seasons, but frustrations over the spasmodic nature of his contributions led to his ultimately being delisted.  His last game in Western Australia was the 1998 Westar Rules grand final in which he was a solid contributor to East Fremantle's comfortable victory over West Perth.  Dhurrkay had earlier played in the Sharks' 1994 premiership-winning team.  

Picked up by the Kangaroos in 1999 he failed to impress and, after just 14 more games, his AFL career came to a premature and disappointing end.  

A joy to watch when on song, Dhurrkay was probably just one of those players whose natural talents end up being stifled by the rigours of AFL football.  Quick, agile, highly skilled, and a superb kick, his best performances were of the very highest quality.

In addition to his two premierships with East Fremantle, Gary Dhurrkay was a member of the Wanderers team which defeated St Marys by 51 points in the 1992-93 NTFL grand final.

In August 2005, aged just thirty-one, Dhurrkay was tragically killed in a car accident near Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.

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Charlie Dibbs (Collingwood & Geelong)

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Despite standing only 175cm in height and weighing in, on average, at just 75.5kg, Charlie Dibbs played for most of his VFL career at full back, and would doubtless have been extremely grateful, not to say relieved, to count the redoubtable figure of Gordon Coventry among his team mates, rather than opponents.

Dibbs joined Collingwood in 1924, and went on to play 216 VFL games for the Magpies over the ensuing twelve seasons.  The key to his success as a defender was his uncanny anticipation, which repeatedly enabled him to outmark taller, heftier, and higher leaping opposition full forwards.  Dibbs was at full back in Collingwood's record-breaking four-in-a-row premiership teams of 1927-8-9-30 and again in 1935.  The 1936 season saw him at Geelong as captain-coach, but he lasted only a few games before resigning and being replaced by Reg Hickey.

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Billy Dick (Fitzroy & Carlton)

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Billy Dick began his senior career with Brighton during that club's pre-VFA days, but it was with Fitzroy in the VFL that he made his name as a highly accomplished half forward and follower with an eye for goal.  He played a total of 53 VFL games and kicked 40 goals for the 'Roys between 1908 and 1910, topping the club's goal kicking list with 26 goals in 1909.  In 1911 he crossed to Carlton and lifted his average performance level another notch or two.  He represented the VFL in 1913 and 1914, and captained the Blues to the 1914 flag courtesy of a 6 point challenge final win over South Melbourne.  Dick was many people's choice as the best player afield in that match, but in 1915, while still captain, he was forced to watch the premiership decider from the sidelines after incurring a suspension.  His team mates did him proud, thrashing Collingwood 11.12 (78) to 6.9 (45), but Dick's joy would no doubt have been tempered by frustration at missing out.  He carried on as club captain in 1916 and 1917, and fronted up for the last time in 1918 to bring his final tally of games with the Blues to precisely 100.  He also booted 35 goals.

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Robert Dickfos (Windsor-Zillmere, Claremont, Mayne)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Robert Dickfos was a skilful utility player with Windsor-Zillmere, who was the middle of three Dickfos brothers - younger than Michael, and older than Danny.  He made his debut as a seventeen year old straight out of the Queensland Teal Cup side in 1981, and was a member of the Eagles' 1981 premiership side. Later on he joined Michael in an outstanding season with Claremont in Western Australia where he played 20 games in 1984 (see footnote 1), before returning home to savour a second QAFL flag with the Eagles in 1988. Robert Dickfos holds the distinction of once being chosen to play for the Brisbane Bears before being forced out of the side after it was learned he was ineligible to play. He was a reluctant representative player who nevertheless posted 9 games for Queensland. He later coached the Eagles to the 2000 AFLQ grand final, and is now in charge at Mayne.

Footnotes

1.  The Tigers' Tale by Kevin Casey, page 224, gives the year as 1985.  Return to Main Text

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Des Dickson (Hawthorn)

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Known ironically as 'Delicate Des', Hawthorn ruckman Dickson was one of the roughest, toughest, meanest footballers of his or any generation.  He adopted his overtly ferocious persona quite deliberately, on the principle 'kill or be killed', after he was callously king-hit from behind in his first outing for the Hawks' reserves.  Unfortunately, his ruthless approach had its draw backs, most notably when he was suspended from the 1963 grand final clash with Geelong after being found guilty of striking North Melbourne's Noel Teasdale.

Dickson's extra curricular proclivities tended to distract attention from his qualities as a footballer, but the fact that he was no mean player is attested to by his playing 73 VFL games and kicking 31 goals for the Hawks between 1962 and 1966.  He also won Hawthorn's best first year player award after his debut season.  Richmond legend Jack Dyer once paid Dickson a not inconsiderable compliment when he described him as "the sort of player coaches dream about".

'Delicate Des' would almost certainly have spent a good deal longer at Hawthorn had not an unusual set of circumstances arisen.  The Hawks' 1961 premiership coach John Kennedy coached Stawell between 1964 and 1966 while based there as a teacher, but in 1967 he was ready to return to Melbourne.  Given that the Hawks had struggled in 1966 under the coaching of Peter O'Donohue, they were not surprisingly keen to reappoint Kennedy, but Stawell refused to consent to a clearance unless they received the Hawthorn player of their choice in return.  One can scarcely imagine such a situation arising nowadays, but in the 1960s football was a very different game, and the VFL and its clubs were bound by the same clearance regulations as every other ANFC-affiliated body in Australia.  The player Stawell wanted was Des Dickson, and so Hawthorn was left with little option but to release him, a decision they would have ample cause to congratulate themselves for in years to come.  In the short term, however, it left VFL football a somewhat tamer spectacle.

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Brighton Diggins (Subiaco, South Melbourne, Carlton)

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Debuting with Subiaco in 1927, Brighton Diggins immediately captured attention with his robust, energetic and dashing play.  Midway through the year he was selected in a West Australian 'second string' combination to take on Collingwood at Subiaco Oval, and "playing on the half back line he was brilliancy personified in every department of the game" (see footnote 1) as he helped his side to a crushing win.

Diggins made his debut for Western Australia's first choice side in 1928 against Canberra, and went on to play a total of 8 interstate matches.  His approach to the game was felt to be more typically Victorian than West Australian, and his emphasis on vigour and physicality certainly helped his club to emerge from a sustained period of under-achievement to mount a long overdue legitimate assault on the flag.  In 1931, the Maroons reached the grand final, only to lose by 18 points to East Fremantle, and the following year, after 88 WANFL games, Brighton Diggins joined his former coach Johnny Leonard as a member of the rapidly expanding 'foreign legion' at South Melbourne.  

The 1932 season was not a good one for Diggins: forced to stand out of football until round 7 while he awaited ratification of his clearance, he managed only a handful of games before a fractured leg undermined what, until then, had been solid progress.  The following year, however, he was strongly instrumental in South Melbourne's march to a first flag in fifteen years.  On grand final day, he was at centre half forward, rather than his more usual position of ruckman, and was close to best afield as South led from start to finish in securing a comfortable 42 point win over Richmond.

At the end of the 1936 season, after 65 games for South, Diggins sought a clearance to Carlton, where he was wanted as captain-coach, but he was forced to stand out of football for twelve months before getting his way.  As far the Blues were concerned, it was to be well worth the wait, as the tough, honest and resolute Diggins proved to be exactly the kind of leader they needed.  Having failed to contest the finals the previous year, Carlton won all bar 4 matches in 1938 to top the ladder before trouncing Geelong in the 2nd semi final, and scoring a tenacious and gripping victory over arch rivals Collingwood in the 'big one'.  As was ever his wont, Brighton Diggins led from the front, putting in a stirring, four quarter effort in the ruck which was a key factor in the win.  In helping the club to break a twenty-three year premiership drought, Diggins became a Carlton hero overnight.

After another couple of seasons with the Blues, which brought his final overall tally of league games to 184, Diggins retired in order to join the armed forces.  However, after just three months he was discharged on medical grounds when it was felt that his ankle, which he had injured in a match in 1934, would be unable to withstand the rigours of infantry training.

Footnotes

1.  'WA Footballer', 4/6/27, quoted in Diehards: 1896-1945 by Ken Spillman, page 109.  Return to Main Text

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Ross Dillon (Melbourne & Norwood)

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A strong, one grab mark, and an accurate kick for goal, Ross Dillon joined Melbourne from Goulburn Valley Football League side Kyabram and played 85 VFL games for the club between 1966 and 1972.  He topped the Demons' goal kicking in 1969 with 53 goals and the following year with 47.  In 1973 he joined Norwood and added another 114 league games over the next six seasons.  He was the Redlegs top goal kicker in his debut season at the club with 46 goals, and again in 1975 with 66.  He won the club's best and fairest award in 1975, and was at centre half forward in that years grand final as the Redlegs downed Glenelg by 2 goals.  Dillon, who had earlier represented the VFL at the 1969 Adelaide carnival, also played 2 games of interstate football for South Australia.

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Robert Dipierdomenico (Hawthorn)

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One of the most colourful football personalities of recent years, Robert Dipierdomenico's often outrageously larger than life demeanour sometimes obscured the fact that he was also a fine footballer.  Heftily built at 185cm and 88kg, 'Dipper' played most of his career as a wingman, utilising his naturally aggressive instincts to excellent effect.  He made his Hawthorn debut in 1975, but then spent a couple of years in the reserves before coming good in 1978.  In that year's winning grand final against North Melbourne, playing a classic rebound role across half back, he was many observers' choice as best afield.  He went on to play key roles in further premiership victories in 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1989.  In 1986 he was a surprise joint winner, along with Sydney's Greg Williams, of the Brownlow Medal, his proudest moment in football until the 1989 grand final, in which he contributed enormously to the Hawks' win over Geelong despite suffering from a punctured lung.

In 2003, Robert Dipierdomenico was chosen on a wing in Hawthorn's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Jack Diprose (Railways, West Perth, Subiaco)

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Jack Diprose commenced his league career on the West Australian goldfields with Railways.  In 1904 he was a member of that club's highly regarded premiership team, and the following year he ventured to the coast where he joined West Perth.  In four years with the Cardinals he acquired a reputation as a fine player, who supplemented his undoubted pace and skill with rare intelligence and perceptiveness.  These qualities came even further to the fore during the six season stint at Subiaco which rounded off Diprose's career.  In 1910, he captain-coached the side, and in 1912-13 he was a sterling contributor on the wing to the Maroons' challenge final victories over East Fremantle and Perth respectively.

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Rod Diprose (Morningside)

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by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Rod Diprose was a Tasmanian schoolboy representative who became a dynamic rover at Morningside. He was a club stalwart who was the backbone of a side which struggled through the late 1960s and into the 1970s. Diprose played 7 times for Queensland during the period from 1966-74, was chosen in the Morningside 'Team of the Half Century' named in 2001, and was the Morningside games record-holder (243) until it was recently topped by Craig Edwards.

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Carl Ditterich (St Kilda, Melbourne, Coorparoo)

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When Carl Ditterich burst onto the VFL scene against Melbourne in the opening round of the 1963 season he became, literally, an overnight sensation.  Aged just seventeen, "he bounded around the field like a young stallion with a flowing blond mane" (see footnote 1), bowling over opponents, soaring high for marks, and displaying a verve, a passion and an energy that set him apart from every other player on the ground.  That St Kilda duly won that 1st round match by 18 points was attributable in no small part to the impact, both visceral and tangible, of the youngster swiftly, if predictably, dubbed 'the blond bombshell'. 

Over ensuing seasons, Ditterich rapidly developed into a St Kilda legend, with even the fact of his missing the club's historic 1966 premiership win through suspension only serving to augment the aura.  Winner of the Saints' best and fairest award in 1968 - no mean feat when you consider the quality of some of his team mates - he represented the VFL in 1964-5 and 1968, but it was probably his regular appearances before the league Tribunal which saw him capture the headlines on most occasions.

'Big Carl' finally got to play in a grand final in 1971, but he was unable to prevent the Saints from succumbing to a more relentless Hawthorn by 7 points.  Two years later he was on the move, joining Melbourne under a short-lived league rule whereby players who had given their clubs ten years of service could be granted an automatic clearance.  Ditterich won a best and fairest award in his debut season with the Demons, but after just three years he returned 'home' to St Kilda after being offered the captaincy.  The 1979 season saw him back at Melbourne as captain-coach for the final two season phase of his VFL career.  He later moved north to Queensland and spent some time coaching QAFL side Coorparoo.

In total, Carl Ditterich played 285 VFL games, 202 with St Kilda and 83 with the Demons.  However, for those who were alive during the 1960s, the statistics fade into insignificance when compared to the memory of the hyper-active "young stallion" bounding out of nowhere onto the back pages of Melbourne's newspapers in April 1963. 

Footnotes

1.  The Point Of It All by Jules Feldmann and Russell Holmesby, page 161.  Return to Main Text

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Wally Dittmar (Port Adelaide)

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Wally Dittmar was "a highly accomplished footballer; technically........ at least as well equipped as the best" (see footnote 1) - which immediately begs the question, why was he so often little better than a fringe player at Port Adelaide during his league career which spanned twelve seasons, and yet saw him play just 79 senior games (plus half a dozen for the state).  When given a concerted run in the senior side, as he was in 1959-60, he proved himself to be arguably the most effective full forward in the SANFL; at any rate, with tallies of 74 and 69 goals, he topped the league's goal kicking list in both seasons.  For the most part, however, he was given only sporadic opportunities at the top level, for reasons which will probably always remain a mystery, although perhaps Jeff Pash's wry observation that he had "not the flashing eyes and floating hair, and in fact the gritted teeth so beloved of those who see football as a battle" (see footnote 2) hints as closely as we are ever likely to get at the truth of the matter.  Sometimes, at least as far as clubs like Port Adelaide, which pride the team ethic above all else, are concerned, it is perhaps possible to be too audaciously gifted for one's own good.

Footnotes

1.  The Pash Papers by Jeff Pash, page 96.  Return to Main Text

2.  Ibid., page 96.  Return to Main Text

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Eric Dix (West Torrens)

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West Torrens ruckman Eric Dix only had a comparatively brief league career, but he was a key player for the Eagles when, under the coaching of Dick Reynolds, they mounted arguably their last realistic assault on the flag in 1963.  Torrens won the minor premiership that year but, significantly, lost their last two home and away matches when Dix was on the sidelines injured.  He resumed during the finals but, unable to recapture his best form, was unable to prevent the Eagles bowing out in straight sets against Port Adelaide and North Adelaide.  Extremely tall and thin, but beautifully balanced, Dix was a smooth mover who had the knack of unsettling his opponents so that they appeared awkward by comparison.  He was one of the few SANFL ruckman of the time who always seemed to give as good as he got against Norwood champion Bill Wedding.  In 1959 and between 1962 and 1965 he played a total of 66 senior games for Torrens.  During the 1966 season, when the Eagles were short of ruckmen, he interrupted his coaching stint in the country to answer the club's SOS and line up for the Seconds. 

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Brian Dixon (Melbourne)

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Arguably the finest VFL wingman of his era, Brian Dixon played 252 games for Melbourne between 1954 and 1968, including the winning grand finals of 1956, '57, '59, '60 and '64.  Tremendous pace allied to great tenacity enabled him repeatedly to win possession of the ball before breaking into the clear and getting his kick away.  Perhaps the only real weakness in his game was his disposal, which was sometimes slipshod; however, the sheer number of possessions he managed to accumulate helped to compensate for this.

At his peak during the early 1960s, Dixon won Melbourne's club champion award - undoubtedly the most competitive in football at the time - in 1960 before putting in three dominating performances at the following year's Brisbane carnival to secure both All Australian selection and the Tassie Medal.  

Away from football he enjoyed a successful political career which saw him appointed Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation for a time.

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Malcolm Dixon (North Adelaide)

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Mal Dixon joined North Adelaide in 1961 and spent the season commuting backwards and forwards from his home in Port Augusta in order to play.  After managing just 3 senior games for the year he decided to 'retire' from league football, but the yearning to prove himself remained, and two years later the Roosters managed to woo him back for another stab at the big time.  On this occasion, he managed to play 21 of the team's 23 matches for the year, including the losing grand final against Port Adelaide.  Thereafter, his performances steadily improved in both quality and consistency, and in 1966, after a series of eye-catching performances on his half forward flank, he captured the club's best and fairest award, and was named in the prestigious 'Advertiser Team Of The Year'.  The only people oblivious to Dixon's brilliance in 1966 were the umpires, who astonishingly failed to award him a single Magarey Medal vote.  When Mal Dixon retired a year later, he had played a total of 82 league games, and probably travelled close to 50,000 kilometres in order to do so.  During his career he was widely acknowledged as one of the paciest players in the SANFL, and might reasonably be adjudged as unfortunate not to have achieved state representation.

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Malcolm Dobson (East Fremantle)

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A formidable tackler, calm and assured under pressure, and the consummate team player, Mal Dobson gave East Fremantle 167 games of solid service in 1972-3 and from 1975 to 1981.  Most of those games were played in a back pocket, including the losing grand final of 1977 against Perth, and the premiership win over arch rival South Fremantle two years later.  Never flashy or particularly eye-catching, Dobson tended perhaps to be under-rated, but those within the club recognised the importance of his contribution, and respected him accordingly.

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Len Dockett (Melbourne)

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Already twenty-six by the time he commenced his league career with Melbourne, Len Dockett was an extremely effective attacking wingman, centreman and half forward flanker who combined great verve and enthusiasm with considerable skill.  He joined Melbourne from Mordialloc, which at the time was in the Federal Football League, and played a total of 102 VFL games, kicking 47 goals, between 1946 and 1951.  At the end of his first league season he played in the centre in the Redlegs' grand final loss to Essendon, while two years later he was a wingman in their premiership side.  Dockett won Melbourne's best and fairest award in 1949, and was a member of the VFL's victorious Brisbane carnival team in 1950.

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Vin Doherty (Collingwood, Hawthorn, Fitzroy)

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Originally from Carlton Brewery, Vin Doherty spent the bulk of his league career with Collingwood, where he proved himself a lively, penetrative and consistently effective half forward flanker in 96 games between 1934 and 1939.  Those games included the grand finals of 1935-6-7-8-9, the first two of which were won.  In 1940 Doherty crossed to Hawthorn where he added another 5 league games before rounding off his VFL career at Fitzroy, where he played a final dozen games in 1942-3.  Small and comparatively lightweight at 169cm and 69.5kg, he had plenty of pace, sure ball handling skills, and was a reliable kick for goal.  His senior VFL career yielded 156 goals, 122 of which came during his time with the Magpies.

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Charles Doig senior (East Fremantle)

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An early member of the famous Doig clan, Charles 'Chas' Doig senior was an extremely talented forward who played a total of 209 games for East Fremantle between 1903 and 1915, and then in 1919 and 1921.  During that time he was a member of no fewer than seven premiership teams, as well as in three losing grand finals.  His 8 interstate appearances for Western Australia included games at the carnivals of 1908 in Melbourne, 1911 in Adelaide, and Sydney in 1914.  Goal kicking records in Western Australian football during the early twentieth century were not always meticulously maintained, but it is known that Doig topped East Fremantle's goal kicking list in 1913 with 36 goals and in 1914 with 34.  More than likely, he would have been the club's leading goal kicker on several other occasions as well, although he was far more than just a goalsneak, being capable of playing in any position on the forward lines with equal effectiveness.

Charles Doig senior was non-playing coach of Old Easts for one season in 1940, when they finished 3rd.  

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George Doig (East Fremantle)

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Known in his home state as 'football's Bradman' (much as Ken Farmer was in South Australia), George Doig's goal kicking achievements in the 1930s and early '40s certainly endorse the comparison.

A left footer, Doig favoured the torpedo punt, which he could execute with almost unwavering accuracy, whether from a set shot or on the run.  Unlike many prolific goalsneaks he did not rely heavily on any one specialist means of getting the ball, but was a true all rounder, as much at home on the ground as in a huge goalmouth pack.

George Doig arrived at East Fremantle in 1933 and set his stall out right away by becoming the first Western Australian player to kick a century of goals.  He went on to repeat this achievement in every one of his first nine league seasons, topping the WANFL list on six occasions.

Doig's career total of 1,111 League goals in 201 games included a then record 19 in one game against Claremont-Cottesloe.  He also kicked goals with unfailing regularity in interstate football, ultimately amassing a total of 62 from 14 appearances, all of which were against either the VFL or South Australia.

Football, however, is a team sport, and Doig never let the pursuit of individual achievements blind him to team goals.  Indeed, he was the consummate team man, and probably gave away almost as many goals as he scored.  If you asked him to choose, he would probably have accorded pride of place among his many achievements to his participation in three East Fremantle premiership teams.

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Jim Doig (East Fremantle)

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A prodigiously talented centre half back, 'Scotty' Doig was one of the earliest members of arguably the most famous clan in Australian football. He was a member of East Fremantle's grand final winning teams of 1904, 1906, 1909,1910 and 1911, having earlier also been a regular in the side during its 1900, 1902 and 1903 premiership years, when no grand final was played.  In 1904, when Western Australia embarked on its first ever interstate tour, playing matches in Melbourne against the VFL, and Adelaide against South Australia (reviewed here), 'Scotty' Doig was a key member of the team.

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John Doig (East Fremantle)

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Invariably known as 'Hooky', John Doig was a member of East Fremantle's inaugural WAFA team in 1898, and thereafter was a stalwart of the side for well over a decade.  Never averse to a stoush (one cannot help but feel compelled to wonder at precisely how he came about his nickname!), he was once ordered from the field, along with teammate Tom Keenan, during a match against Fremantle.  A versatile player, Doig could perform with equal effectiveness on the last line of defence, across half back, on the wing or in the centre.  A member of no fewer than nine Old Easts premiership sides, he played alongside three other members of the Doig clan at various stages of his illustrious career. 

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Ron Doig (South Fremantle)

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Not by any means the most illustrious or talented member of the famous Doig clan, Ron Doig was nevertheless an accomplished footballer, who played 117 league games for South Fremantle between 1960 and 1965 as well as in 1967.  He also played 3 times for Western Australia.  The son of former champion full forward George Doig, he played the majority of his career as a wingman, and was widely regarded as one of the most polished performers in the competition.  Especially dangerous if allowed latitude, his left foot kicking was a delight to watch, but he played during a generally dire era for South and never came close to achieving the premiership success enjoyed by his father with Old Easts.

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John Dolan (Kalgoorlie City, East Fremantle, East Perth)

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John 'Jerry' Dolan's only serious challenger for the accolade of doyen of Western Australian football coaches would probably be Phil Matson, but whereas Matson hailed from South Australia, Dolan was locally born and bred.

Like Matson, Jerry Dolan was an excellent player as well as coach - a fact worth highlighting, as it is perhaps a little surprising how often the one does not seamlessly lead to the other.

Dolan arrived at Old Easts in 1923 after two seasons with GFL side Kalgoorlie City, and went on to play 166 games for the club, in addition to representing the state.  However, in the coaching sphere his achievements, and more importantly perhaps his legacy, were unparalleled.  

While still a player, Dolan coached East Fremantle to the 1930 and 1933 premierships, before joining East Perth as non-playing coach in 1934.  In five seasons with the Royals he oversaw five finals campaigns, including one flag, but at heart he was still an East Fremantle man, and, after a couple of years out of football, he returned 'home' in 1941, steering his club to a grand final in his first year.

Because of the war, the three years from 1942 to 1944 saw the WANFL operate an underage competition only, but Dolan stayed on as coach, and steered his youthful charges to the 1943 flag.

It is primarily for his role in shaping the great East Fremantle sides of 1945 and 1946 that Jerry Dolan's name is venerated, however.  In 1945 the club made a slow start before cruising to the premiership with 10 consecutive wins.  In 1946 it became the only Western Australian side of the 20th century to secure an unbeaten premiership.  Admittedly, apart from grand final opponents West Perth, the standard of most opposition teams, who were still recovering from the inroads made by the war, left something to be desired, but statistically the achievements of the 1946 East Fremantle team are beyond comparison.

Dolan, a school teacher by profession, thought deeply about the game, which he always saw in quintessentially team terms.  His teams always exhibited great collective strength, and were structured so as to mask or minimise any deficiencies.  In this respect, it could be argued that he was ahead of his time.

In his seventeen seasons as a league coach, Jerry Dolan never once failed to steer his team to the finals, while overall his sides enjoyed a phenomenal success rate of 68.2%, which compares more than favourably with the success rates of other great coaches (see footnote 1).

Footnotes

1.  Examples include: Phil Matson 74.1%; Dick Reynolds 67.0%; Jack Oatey 66.4%; Fos Williams 66.3%; Jock McHale 66.1%; 'Checker' Hughes 65.1%; Tom Hafey 64.7%; Allan Jeans 62.3%; and Norm Smith 56.7%.  Return to Main Text

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William Dolphin (South Melbourne)

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William Dolphin was a superb kick and great all round defender whose total of precisely 100 VFL games for South Melbourne between 1905 and 1911 sadly did not include participation in the club's victorious grand final of 1909.  Dolphin, who hailed from Yarrawonga, was injured on that occasion, but he captained the red and whites to second place in 1907 when they lowered their colours to Carlton by 5 points.  Renowned for his impeccable judgement and resilience, his VFL career began in 1905, and ended six years later.

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Michael Donaghy (Carlton, Geelong, Port Adelaide)

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After managing just 10 VFL games with Carlton in 1898 Michael Donaghy re-emerged with Geelong two years later and went on to establish a reputation for himself as one of the competition's most auspicious key position players.  An exhilarating overhead mark, he possessed considerable pace for a big (193cm, 92kg) man, and was a penetrative and accurate kick.  After 80 VFL games in six seasons with the Pivotonians he moved to Port Adelaide where he played on for another four years, captaining the side for part of 1908 and in 1909.  A VFL interstate representative on two occasions during his Geelong phase, Michael Donaghy also played once for South Australia while with Port.  He was appointed non-playing coach of the Magpies for a time in 1911, and went on to serve Port in a variety of off field roles, including chairman in 1913-14-15, until the club went into recess because of the war in 1916.

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Clyde Donaldson (Essendon)

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After making his VFL debut with Essendon in 1913, Clyde Donaldson's career had just begun to blossom when it was interrupted by four years abroad serving with the Australian Expeditionary Force.  During that time he represented the Australian Training Units in an exhibition match in London.

Donaldson resumed with the Dons in 1919, and quickly established himself as one of the finest permanent back pocket players in the game.  He had as much pace as the nippiest rover and this, coupled with his strength and aerial prowess, made him extraordinarily difficult to beat.  He was also a thumping kick, characteristically tearing out of his back pocket to meet the ball at full tilt before propelling it back into Essendon's attacking zone.

A member of the Same Old's 1923-4 premiership teams, Donaldson was also a regular Big V representative, earning state selection in 1920-1-2-3 and 1926. He retired at the end of the 1926 season after 143 VFL games.

Clyde Donaldson later became a renowned football correspondent for 'The Truth'.

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Keith Doncon (East Perth)

 

Rover Keith Doncon joined East Perth from Scotch College and made his WANFL debut in 1963.  He impressed, but in 1964, feeling homesick, he decided to return to his home in the country, and played no football for the year.  Wooed back to the city by the Royals in 1965, he continued where he had left off, proving himself a physically tough and pacy rover of the highest order.  Despite his somewhat diminutive (174cm, 71.5kg) physique, he was strong overhead, and kicked many goals from marks taken while resting in a forward pocket.  Along with the likes of Barry Cable and Bill Walker he gave Western Australia arguably the most potent roving division in interstate football during the 1960s, a fact emphasised by his All Australian selection following the 1966 Hobart carnival.  In 1970, aged just twenty-five, Keith Doncon was compelled to retire after he was injured in a farm accident; he had played 75 league and 6 state games, and kicked 136 goals for East Perth, and 13 for Western Australia.  The disproportionately significant impact he made during his brief career was recognised in 2006 with selection in his club's official 'Team of the Century 1945 to 2005'.

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Larry Donohue (Geelong)

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Formidably built at 196cm and 96.5kg Geelong full forward Larry Donohue boasted the evocative nickname of 'Bear'.  Despite having the physical proportions of a ruckman he was extremely quick, especially when leading, and he topped off many an exhilarating lead and mark by bisecting the uprights with perfectly executed and weighted drop punts.  Between 1976 and 1978 Donohue was probably the most damaging key forward in the game, topping both the century in terms of goals, and the league list, in the first of those years, and bagging highly respectable totals in the others.  Before and after those seasons, however, he struggled somewhat, and midway through the 1980 season felt constrained to retire on account of a mysterious shoulder injury sustained during the previous summer.

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Neil Doolan (North Melbourne)

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Neil Doolan was a resourceful and resolute centreline player who improved with age and experience.  He joined North Melbourne from Happy Valley, and took his league bows in 1951, the same season that saw him land the Gardiner Medal as the best and fairest player in the VFL reserves competition.  Over the next few seasons Doolan gradually established himself in North's senior team, in which he played chiefly as a wingman.  During the second half of his career he took over from Kevin Dynon as the Kangas' first choice centreman, and his form was so consistent that he twice earned interstate selection for the Big V.  Neil Doolan's VFL career ended in 1960, by which time he had played a total of 103 senior games.

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William Doolan (Footscray)

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A back pocket player for Footscray during that club's last few years in the VFA and its first five in the VFL, Bill Doolan could always be relied upon to give a solid, imperturbable account of himself.  Excellent overhead, he was an acknowledged master of the saving mark, and also repelled many opposition attacking thrusts with his fine judgement and determination to win the ball.  He was in the back pocket in the Tricolours' 1923-4 VFA premiership teams as well as the 1924 state premiership victory over Essendon.  In 1925, Footscray's debut season in the 'big time', he was one of the club's first two VFL interstate representative players.

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Jim Dorgan (Williamstown, Melbourne, South Melbourne)

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Jim Dorgan began his senior career with Williamstown and then played 3 VFL games with Melbourne in 1950.  It was only after moving to South Melbourne in 1951, however, that he began to exhibit his true talent.  Playing alongside South's champion full back Fred Goldsmith Dorgan developed into one of the finest back pocket specialists in the game, winning the club's best and fairest award in 1956, and running third in the Brownlow Medal voting the same year.  He spent eight seasons at South, playing a total of 102 VFL games.

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Erwin Dornau (Kedron & South Melbourne)

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by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Erwin Dornau was the first native born Queenslander to play VFL football. A Kedron junior and then senior, he was the dominant centre half back of the Queensland competition, and represented the Maroons in 1946-7. Dornau caught the eye of South Melbourne scouts when runner-up in the 1947 Tassie Medal at the Hobart national carnival.  He played 54 games at South between 1948-52, and now resides at Woodend in Victoria.

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George Dougherty (Carlton, Geelong, Footscray, South Melbourne)

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George Dougherty commenced his VFL career at Carlton, where he played 17 games and kicked 15 goals between 1934 and 1936.  However, it was at Geelong, where he moved midway through the 1936 season, that he truly established himself as a top quality league footballer.  Strong overhead, he kicked both accurately and long, and although not fast was a good ball getter.  He was also extremely dangerous near goal.  His 121 games and 188 goals for the Cats came in two stints, between 1936 and 1941, and from 1944 to 1945.  He was a follower resting in the forward pocket in Geelong's 1937 grand final win over Collingwood.  During his two season stint away from Geelong, Dougherty played 25 games and booted 30 goals for Footscray.  He finished his league career at South Melbourne, where he added 10 games and 26 goals in 1945.

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Bruce Doull (Carlton)

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Both on and off the field Carlton defender Bruce Doull, who was recruited by the Blues from Jacana, was renowned for giving nothing away.  Off the field he was painfully shy - almost unprecedentedly so for an elite sportsman - while on it he was rarely beaten over the course of a 359 game VFL career which began in 1969 and ended after the 1986 grand final.

There were few frills about Doull's game, but equally there were few if any discernible deficiencies.  It was almost as though he was afraid of making a mistake.  When Hawthorn's Jason Dunstall kicked 6 goals against Doull in Doull's last ever VFL appearance there were some who regarded it as the one major blot on an otherwise perfect copybook; alternatively, it could be regarded as an indication that, just as with virtually every other decision required of him during eighteen seasons of elite level football, Bruce Doull's decision over the timing of his retirement was tantamount to perfection.  As a result the memories which endure are those of his sure hands, effortless disposal skills, safe marking, fierce tackling, and sublime anticipation - attributes of a rare champion whose status as one of the game's true giants can now never be undermined.   

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Jim Dowling (North Melbourne, Footscray, Brunswick)

 

After 49 games with North Melbourne between 1927 and 1931, and 19 for Footscray in 1932-3, Jim Dowling joined Brunswick midway through the 1933 season in time to help the club re-emerge as a VFA power for the first time in more than a decade.  Fast, skilful, and deadly near goal, Dowling won the VFA Medal in his first complete season with the Magpies, and was runner-up in the Recorder Cup to Danny Warr of Preston.  The following year he was a joint winner of the VFA Medal with Fred Brooks of Williamstown, after which, presumably because he began to be surrounded by so many other fine players, the votes dried up somewhat, but Brunswick's performances as a team began to improve immeasurably.  After winning the minor premiership in 1936, the side lost both finals matches to end up a disappointing third.  Nevertheless, it was the senior side's first finals involvement for seven years, and the following year it made amends to some extent by reaching the grand final.  However, after seeming to be in control for much of the match, opponents Prahran hit back strongly in the dying moments, and Brunswick finally fell agonisingly short by 2 points.

The 1938 grand final against Brighton was arguably Jim Dowling's, and maybe even Brunswick's, finest hour.  To use modern parlance, Dowling 'roved the socks off the opposition', creating numerous opportunities for his forwards in a best afield display.  By quarter time the game was virtually over as the Magpies had amassed a record opening term tally for a grand final of 8.3, five goals more than their opponents.  Brunswick's final score of 19.17 (131) was also a VFA grand final record.  

In 1939 Brunswick again made the grand final, but despite another fine display from Dowling went down to Williamstown by 9 points.

Jim Dowling eventually retired seven rounds into the 1941 season with 183 VFA games to his credit.

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William Dowling (West Adelaide)

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It is doubtful if any player has enjoyed a more illustrious career in the red and black of West Adelaide than William 'Shrimp' Dowling.  A tenacious and richly talented rover, particularly noted for his adeptness with the stab pass, he was a key reason behind West's emergence as a power in 1908, his second league season.  Under the shrewd coaching of Jack 'Dinny' Reedman, the red and blacks, who had never previously finished higher than 5th, confounded observers in 1908 by making light of every challenge with which they were confronted, both locally and interstate.  After being a key contributor to the challenge final victory over Norwood, 'Shrimp' Dowling was later unanimously acclaimed as best afield when West defeated Carlton by 29 points at Adelaide Oval for 'the premiership of the Commonwealth'

Over the next few seasons West Adelaide enjoyed a level and consistency of success never equalled before or since, and no player made a greater all round contribution to that success than Dowling.  Consistently named among the best players, he won his club's best and fairest award in 1910,. and produced another best afield performance when West again secured the championship of Australia, this time with a win against Essendon, in 1911.  First rover in the club's 1908-9 and 1911-12 premiership wins, he was a regular in South Australian interstate teams between 1910 and 1914, including the Adelaide and Sydney carnivals.  When football resumed in 1919 after the war, Dowling was again chosen to represent his state in what was to be his final season in league football.  In all, he played 14 interstate matches, kicking 21 goals.

Dowling's final total of 136 league games included 109 in succession, which at the time was proclaimed - and indeed commemorated - as an Australian record.

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William Downie (Footscray, St Kilda, Northcote)

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Originally from Eaglehawk, Bill Downie was a solidly built, strong marking ruckman who gave fine service to three top level clubs.  He began with Footscray, where he played 54 VFL games and kicked 26 goals between 1929 and 1932.  A single season stint with St Kilda followed, where he added 15 games and 2 goals, before moving to Northcote where he rounded off his career.  A member of the Brickfielders' 1937 premiership team, Downie won the following year's Recorder Cup (jointly with Williamstown's Arthur Cutting), and, for good measure, topped the club's goal kicking list with 48 goals.  

Bill Downie met his end in tragic circumstances during World War Two when, as a prisoner of war, he was the victim of an act of rank, arrogant cowardice on the part of a Japanese guard.

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Leo Drew (Williamstown)

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Excellent overhead, and a quick mover, Leo Drew was one of Williamstown's bona fide luminaries of the 1930s.  Playing either as a centreman or as a 'spare parts' player he gave the Seagulls excellent service over many years, but he had already signed up for war service abroad by the time his club broke through for its first premiership in almost two decades in 1939.  Tragically, Leo Drew never returned to Australia to resume his football career, as he was to make the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country at Tobruk during World War Two.

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Norman Drew (North Adelaide & West Perth)

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A player of consummate polish and skill, Norm Drew had the rare good fortune to play in premiership teams in the senior football competitions of both South Australia and Western Australia.  Born in Adelaide, he commenced his league career with North Adelaide as a twenty year old in 1928, and, playing mainly as a wingman, went on to be a major driving force behind that club's rise to prominence in the early 1930s.  In both 1931 and 1933 he won North's best and fairest player award, and he made a total of 5 interstate appearances for South Australia during this period.  He played on a wing in the premiership deciding matches of both 1930 (against Port Adelaide) and 1931 (against Sturt) which saw the red and whites securing consecutive flags. 

In 1934, Drew ventured to Western Australia, where he continued his league career with West Perth.  He spent three years with the Cardinals, and in both 1934 and 1935 was on a half forward flank as the side won consecutive grand finals against East Fremantle and Subiaco.

Norm Drew returned home in 1937 and played one last season with North Adelaide to bring his final tally of SANFL games to 103.  In 2001 he was selected on a wing in North Adelaide's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Edward Drohan (Fitzroy, Collingwood, St Kilda)

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A wingman who exuded class and poise, and boasted impeccable judgement, Edward Drohan was a driving force behind Fitzroy's 1899 premiership win.  After 77 games for the 'Roys between 1898 and 1902 he crossed to Collingwood, and had the immediate satisfaction of playing in a grand final winning side against his former comrades.  After initially struggling to come to terms with the change of surroundings he developed into a fine player for the 'Woods, for whom he played a further 96 VFL games over six seasons.

After retiring as a player, Drohan became a field umpire for a couple of seasons before coaching St Kilda to 9th place on the ladder in 1911.  

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Bill Duckworth (West Perth & Essendon)

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A tough, hard hitting defender who was an inspiration to his team mates, Bill Duckworth is probably best remembered by many for his superb, Norm Smith Medal-winning performance in Essendon's 1984 grand final victory over Hawthorn (reviewed here).  He made his league debut with West Perth in 1980, and went on to be rated one of the season's most promising debutants.  He spent two seasons with the Falcons, as West Perth had become known in 1980, playing a total of 35 games.  In 1982 he crossed to Essendon, where he made a sound start, only to suffer a bad ankle injury in his second season which forced him to miss 14 games, including the losing grand final clash with Hawthorn.  He recovered well in 1984, however, enjoying a fine season culminating in his best afield performance in the grand final defeat of the Hawks.  The fact that this was no mere flash in the pan was emphasised by his selection at full back in 'The Sun' All Stars Team of the Year.  A straight ahead, relentlessly aggressive type of player, he thrived in the intense pressure cooker atmosphere of the VFL, and went on to enjoy premiership success for a second time in 1985, when the Bombers again accounted for the Hawks on grand final day.  Duckworth also played in Essendon's victorious night grand final side of 1984.  When he returned to Western Australia at the end of the 1990 season he had played a total of 126 VFL games and kicked 64 goals.  He carried on for two further years at West Perth, taking his final tally of games with the club to 51.  He made 1 state of origin appearance for Western Australia, against the Big V in 1987.  Bill Duckworth was the younger brother of John Duckworth.

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John Duckworth (Fitzroy, West Perth, Central District)

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While engaged in National Service training in Melbourne, West Australian John Duckworth turned up at Fitzroy Football Club asking for a game.  He had already had a couple of trials with East Perth and failed to impress, but the Lions brains trust liked what they saw, and signed him up.  Volatile, dynamic and robust, he also possessed plenty of flair, and would probably have enjoyed a highly auspicious VFL career had his National Service commitments not repeatedly interfered.  As it was, Duckworth performed serviceably in 58 VFL games in 1970 and between 1974 and 1976, kicking 24 goals.  Some of the intervening time was spent fighting in Vietnam.

In 1977 Duckworth - who gloried in the nickname 'Whatsa' - returned home to Western Australia and joined West Perth, the team he had supported as a boy.  He enjoyed a fine year, representing the state, and running 5th in the Sandover Medal voting.  After just two years and 44 WANFL games, however, he decided he wanted to leave, and Central District won the race to procure his signature.

John Duckworth spent just two seasons at Elizabeth but created a significant impression.  His coach at Centrals, Darryl Hicks, said of him, "I doubt if a bigger, truer or more real personality has ever played the game in South Australia" (see footnote 1).  In 1979, Duckworth represented South Australia, headed his club's goal kicking list with 41 goals, and topped things off by becoming a surprise, but highly popular, winner of the Magarey Medal.  The following year, however, he suffered a ruptured kidney during the opening round clash with Port Adelaide, and although he returned to the fray later in the year, he was never able to produce his best form.  At season's end, now aged thirty-one, he decided it was time to return home and finish his career with West Perth.  He continued playing league football for the Cardinals for three more years, took a year off, and then made a one season comeback at the behest of club coach John Wynne, who needed an experienced hand to help steady his predominantly young team.  All told, John Duckworth played a total of 120 senior games for West Perth to add to the 42 he had played with Central District.  He also represented both Western Australia and South Australia 3 times.

Although his time in South Australia was brief, he probably made the biggest impact there, and few people would have been surprised with his inclusion, at centre half back, in Centrals' official 'Best Ever Team 1964 to 2003'.

Footnotes

1.  'Football Times', 28/6/79, page 3.  Return to Main Text

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Syd Dufall (West Perth)

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Syd Dufall commenced with West Perth in 1953, and, after struggling to gain a regular place in the senior side for a few seasons, developed into an extremely handy player who could do a job in a variety of positions.  He spent a dozen seasons with the Cardinals, and his 150 league appearances included the winning grand final of 1960, when he lined up on a half forward flank.  A resolute and hard working footballer, he also played many fine games as a defender.

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Larry Duffy (East Perth)

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During the course of his 147 game league career with East Perth from 1919 to 1929 rover Larry Duffy achieved virtually everything the game had to offer.  In 1926, he was the first recorded winner of the Royals' fairest and best award, and he served as club captain in 1929.  Thin and wiry, Duffy had ample pace, and was a tremendous ball getter.  He was one of only three players to play in all seven of East Perth's premiership teams between 1919 and 1927, and more often than not he featured high in the list of best players.  Larry Duffy made 9 interstate appearances for Western Australia, and also represented the state in a total of 3 matches against visiting club sides from South Australia and Victoria.  In June 2006 he was named first rover in  East Perth's official 'Team of the Century 1906 to 1944'.

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Roger Duffy (Newtown & Footscray)

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Roger Duffy commenced his senior career with Newtown where, playing mainly at full forward, he topped the league's goal kicking list with 78 goals in 1950 - a premiership season - and 96 the following year.  In 1952 he joined Footscray, where he immediately impressed with his verve, cleverness and goal sense, topping the club's goal kicking list in his debut season, albeit with the comparatively meagre total of just 20 goals.  Used chiefly as a half forward with an occasional run on the ball, he served the Bulldogs well in 117 games over seven seasons, kicking 116 goals.  He performed serviceably in the 1954 grand final, managing 16 kicks and 3 handballs from a half forward flank as the Dogs overcame Melbourne by 51 points.  Highly regarded by peers and opponents alike, Roger Duffy earned a VFL interstate jumper in 1957.

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John Dugdale (North Melbourne & Coburg)

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Probably best remembered today for his goal kicking exploits - he topped North Melbourne's goal kicking list on no fewer than six occasions - John Dugdale was actually a highly proficient key position player at either end of the ground.  A club best and fairest winner in 1968, Dugdale played a total of 248 games between 1955 and 1970, kicking 358 goals.  He skippered the Roos from 1968 to 1970.  Among his interstate appearances for the VFL were matches at the centenary Melbourne carnival of 1958 when he booted 18 goals to head the series goal kicking ladder and achieved All Australian selection.

After leaving North, Dugdale spent some time as coach of VFA side Coburg before returning to Arden Street as chairman of selectors.

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Adrian Dullard (Melbourne & Williamstown)

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Originally from Rochester, Adrian Dullard was a tall and pacy forward or ruckman who played 116 games and kicked 138 goals for Melbourne between 1940 and 1949.  He was one of the best players afield when Melbourne downed Essendon in the 1941 grand final, and also played in the 1948 premiership team.  After leaving Melbourne, Dullard spent the 1950 and 1951 seasons as captain-coach of VFA club Williamstown.  His son, Anthony Dullard, later also played for both the Demons and the Seagulls.

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Anthony Dullard (Melbourne & Williamstown)

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Tony Dullard was the son of dual Melbourne premiership player of the 1940s Adrian Dullard.  Like his father, he was a ruckman or key position player, but the fact that he was 8cm taller and 11kg heavier made him a very different sort of footballer, one reliant more on power and strength than pace and guile.  He joined Melbourne from amateur side North Melbourne Old Boys and played a total of 108 VFL games between 1973 and 1981, kicking 49 goals.  After departing the VFL scene, Dullard played briefly in the VFA with Williamstown.

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Alf Dummett (Collingwood)

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One of the key players in Collingwood's 1902 and 1903 premiership-winning teams, defender Alf Dummett clocked up 118 VFL games for the Magpies between 1901 and 1910.  He was recruited locally, and later served the club in a variety of off field capacities.

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Bob Dummett (Richmond)

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Quite tall at 188cm, but thinly built (71.5kg), Richmond's Bob Dummett's chief asset was his unwavering goal sense.  In a spasmodic league career he played a total of 77 VFL games for the Tigers between 1954 and 1961, booting a total of 199 goals, which included club list-topping tallies of 32 in 1956, 41 the following year, and 45 in 1959. 

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Frank Dunell (Windsor-Zillmere, Essendon, Brisbane)

 

Frank Dunell was a highly versatile performer who enjoyed an 8 season, 99 game VFL career with Essendon, followed by a couple of seasons, and a further 15 games with Brisbane.  Initially used mainly at full forward by the Bombers he later migrated to the wing before playing some of his best football in a forward pocket, where he combined pace, aerial prowess and a keen goal sense.  In 1983 he played in Essendon's reserves premiership team before experiencing senior success the following year.  He was also a member of the Bombers' 1984 night premiership team.

On his return to his original club, Windsor-Zillmere, in 1988 he immediately tasted premiership glory once again as the Eagles overcame Southport in the QAFL grand final by 32 points.

From 1907 to 2001 Dunell was non-playing coach of North Old Boys in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

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Harvey Dunn senior (Carlton)

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Diminutive (164cm, 74kg), elusive and and with an alert eye for goal, Harvey Dunn played most of his VFL career with Carlton as a half forward flanker.  He joined the club in 1924, and played a total of 71 games over the ensuing six seasons, kicking 139 goals.  His tally of 35 majors in 1925 was good enough to top the Blues' list.  His son, Harvey Dunn junior, played 9 VFL senior games for Carlton between 1951 and 1954.

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Jack Dunn (North Hobart, Devonport, Longford)

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Superb overhead, and a tremendous kick, Jack Dunn enjoyed a twenty-one year senior career in Tasmanian football during which he was widely acknowledged as the best centre half back in the state.  He began with North Hobart in 1910, aged just fifteen, and the following year saw him selected in a combined TFL team which lost narrowly against the NTFA in Launceston.  In 1914 he travelled to Sydney with Tasmania's carnival side, and he would remain a regular fixture in Tasmanian interstate combinations for much of the remainder of his career.

After the war, Dunn continued with North Hobart, captaining the side to premierships in 1920, 1923, 1928 and 1929.  He spent the 1927 season as captain-coach of NWFU side Devonport, and also led the combined Union team on four occasions during the year.  His last season in senior football, 1930, was spent in the NTFA with Longford.

In August 2000, Jack Dunn was selected as a co vice-captain in North Hobart's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Keith Dunn (Sturt & Carlton)

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Keith Dunn (his full given name was William Keith Dunn) overcame a slow start to his league career with Sturt to develop into an excellent ruckman.  Between 1927 and 1933 he played a total of 74 senior games, and represented his state 3 times.  He rounded off his career with the Double Blues in style, winning both the Magarey Medal and his club's best and fairest award.  Between 1934 and 1937 he added 38 VFL games for Carlton before retiring. 

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Roger Dunn (Sturt)

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Solidly built (174cm, 80.5kg) rover Roger Dunn was the personification of consistency throughout his 139 game league career with Sturt between 1957 and 1968, during which he kicked 200 goals.  Unfortunately, he was prevented by injury from displaying that consistency as often as both he and his club would have wished.  Combining well with his fellow rover Roger Rigney, he struck a particularly rich vein of form toward the end of his career, representing South Australia 3 times at the 1966 Hobart carnival, and helping the Blues to consecutive wins over Port Adelaide in the grand finals of 1966 and 1967.

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Emmett Dunne (Richmond & Footscray)

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Of gargantuan build at 197cm and 98.5kg, Emmett Dunne was an immensely powerful but surprisingly mobile footballer who enjoyed a decade at the game's elite level.  He arrived at Richmond from Mt Waverley and made the first of an eventual 115 appearances (booting 56 goals) for the club in 1976.  Known as 'Plod' because of his off-field occupation as a policeman, he played the majority of his games as a ruckman, but was sufficiently flexible to hold down a key position when required.  Exceptionally strong overhead, Dunne was at full back when the Tigers trounced Collingwood by 81 points in the 1980 grand final, with his direct opponent Craig Davis managing just a couple of goals for the match.  In 1984 Dunne crossed to Footscray where, over the next couple of seasons, he added a final 14 VFL games and 7 goals.  He later coached the reserves sides of both his former league clubs.

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Francis Dunne (St Kilda, South Fremantle, Sturt)

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Francis Dunne (the 'e' on the end is correct), known to friend and foe alike as 'Diver', owing to his great propensity for swimming and diving, was one of many football itinerants to enjoy success during the early part of the twentieth century.  A formidable physical presence, he performed the role of ruck shepherd to perfection, initially with St Kilda, with whom he managed just 1 VFL game in 1905, secondly with South Fremantle, where he played 59 senior games between 1905 and 1908, and latterly at Sturt, for whom he made another 54 appearances from 1909 to 1913.  He arrived at Sturt as one of 'Dempsey's immigrants' (see Sturt section), and went on to play a couple of games for South Australia, having earlier represented Western Australia on four occasions at the 1908 Melbourne carnival.  He remained in Adelaide after his football career was over, and died there in 1937 aged sixty-five.

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Jeff Dunne (St Kilda & Richmond)

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Originally from North Ballarat, Jeff Dunne was the archetypal hard running, hyper-resilient back pocket specialist who, while at his peak during the late 1970s and early '80s, was among the very best in the business.  During those peak seasons he was chosen to represent Victoria, and was a dual winner of St Kilda's best and fairest award.  After 101 VFL games for the Saints between 1977 and 1983 Dunne transferred to Richmond but managed just 1 game in 1984 before retiring.

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Ross Dunne (Collingwood)

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Best remembered for kicking the late goal that sent Collingwood's 1977 grand final against North Melbourne into a replay, Ross 'Twiggy' Dunne deserves to be remembered for much more.  A tall (193cm) lightly built (81.5kg) player - hence the nickname - Dunne was an excellent all round performer who made the centre half forward position his own for much of his 213 game, 238 goal VFL career, which commenced in 1967 and ended in 1978.  Ultra courageous and determined, Dunne epitomised the Magpie spirit during what was, overall, a frustrating and somewhat less than auspicious era for the club.

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Jason Dunstall (Coorparoo & Hawthorn)

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Arguably the greatest, and certainly the most decorated Queensland-born footballer to date, Jason Dunstall's chunky frame belied his athleticism, skill and tremendous pace off the mark.  Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, given the fact that only two players in football history have booted more V/AFL goals, Dunstall was also extraordinarily unselfish.  He was also, in truth, a somewhat less than 100% reliable kick for goal, regularly losing to team mate Chris Langford, a robust defender, when the pair engaged in their post training ritual of a 'kicking for goal' competition.  What Dunstall did to a tee, however, was perfect the art of leading fast into space to collect, as often as not on the chest, the unerringly precise passes of his prodigiously talented Hawthorn team mates, who collectively comprised one of the most formidable combinations in the history of the code.  This is not to imply that Dunstall was merely a cog in the Hawk machine, his success primarily attributable to the prowess of his team mates.  As he demonstrated emphatically right from the time he made his senior debut with Coorparoo, aged just 17, in 1984, his was a rare and exceptional talent.  During that one, blistering debut season, Dunstall topped the QAFL goal kicking list with 73 goals, contributed 7 goals to Coorparoo's winning grand final tally of 18.22, and was a key member of Queensland's winning Escort Shield team.

The 1985 season saw Dunstall join Hawthorn, and over the next 14 seasons he established himself as one of the few bona fide legends of the game, with the highlights of his illustrious V/AFL career including:  

a total of 1,254 goals in 269 games
Coleman Medallist in 1988, 1989 and 1992
premierships in 1986, 1988-89 and 1991
5 night flags
17 goals in a match against Richmond in 1992
twice second, and twice third in the Brownlow Medal voting
AFL All Australian selection on 4 occasions
state of origin football for both Victoria and Queensland
winner of Hawthorn's best and fairest award on 4 occasions, in 1988-89 and 1992-93

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Bruce Duperouzel (Claremont, St Kilda, Footscray)

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A dynamic, audaciously talented rover, Bruce Duperouzel commenced his senior league career with Claremont where he played 86 WAFL games between 1969 and 1973.  He enjoyed a particularly noteworthy season in 1971, topping the club's goal kicking list with 36 goals, and winning the fairest and best award.  In 1974 he crossed to St Kilda where his vibrant, energetic style won him many admirers.  Between 1974 and 1982 he played 139 VFL games for the Saints, kicking 160 goals; he was club captain for part of the 1981 season and the whole of 1982.  He finished his career with Footscray where he added 25 games and 24 goals in 1983-84.  A Western Australian representative on half a dozen occasions, Duperouzel earned All Australian selection after the 1980 Adelaide carnival.

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Chris Duthy (South Broken Hill, Glenelg, Fitzroy)

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A tall, strong, competent defender from South Broken Hill, Chris Duthy gave useful service to Glenelg in 201 league games between 1982 and 1986 and from 1988 to 1992.  He kicked 21 goals.  In 1987 he joined Fitzroy, but injury restricted him to just 3 senior games.  He struggled with injury again on his return to the Bays in 1988, but his last three seasons saw him approaching his best form again.  Duthy was at full back in Glenelg's 1985 and 1986 grand final defeats of North Adelaide.  His last league game was the Tigers' grand final loss to Port Adelaide in 1992.  He had earlier also played in the losing grand finals of 1982 and 1990.

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Jack Dyer (Richmond)

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The nickname 'Captain Blood' says almost everything which needs to be said: Richmond's Jack Dyer was the epitome of the tough, ruthless footballer who took no prisoners.  However, the tiny amount which it doesn't say is also worthy of telling: Jack Dyer was a highly accomplished footballer who would have been a creditable performer even without the embellishment of brutality.  Perhaps more to the point, had Dyer elected to sacrifice some of his team-orientated qualities in favour of the individualistic approach espoused by certain of his contemporaries there are some (Melbourne super-coach Norm Smith - no mean judge of player talent, one ventures to suppose - among them) who suggest he might have become the greatest and most highly decorated footballer of all time.

Decorations were for Christmas trees as far as Jack Dyer was concerned, however.  Football was - and is - a team game, and if the best way to help his team to victory was to intimidate and unsettle the opposition, then so be it.  Moreover, if the needs of the team were best served by inflicting actual bodily harm on members of the opposition, then that was fine, too.  Having been schooled by nuns and Christian brothers, Dyer was nothing if not pragmatic.  "Anything goes," he once observed, "as long as you can get away with it."  The fact that Jack Dyer was only suspended once during his 20 season, 312 game, innumerable collar bone-breaking VFL career suggests that he was eminently capable of 'getting away with it'.

He was also a pretty good footy player.

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Robbie Dykes (Glenorchy & New Norfolk)

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Robbie Dykes was a tough, durable, hard at the ball footballer who managed the extraordinary feat of playing in every TFL grand final between 1975 and 1986 - nine of them with Glenorchy, and three with New Norfolk.  He won flags with the Magpies in 1975, 1985 and 1986, and with the Eagles (as captain-coach) in 1982.  Although renowned for his ruthless approach to both ball and man he was also a genuinely talented performer who won both the 1981 William Leitch Medal and Glenorchy's best and fairest player award in 1985.  Dykes was a regular Tasmanian interstate representative who resisted the temptation to test himself in the VFL.  He played almost 300 games of club football.  Robbie Dykes was chosen on a half back flank in both the Glenorchy 'Team of the Twentieth Century' and New Norfolk's  'Best Team 1947-2001'.

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Kevin Dynon (North Melbourne & Moorabbin)

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An accomplished, left-footed centreman who progressed through the ranks at North Melbourne, Kevin Dynon played a total of 149 games between 1943 and 1954.  Quite tall for a centreline player of his era at 179cm he combined great strength with good all round skills and considerable pace.  A regular VFL representative player, Dynon joined VFA club Moorabbin as captain-coach in 1955, steering his charges to 4th place on the ladder in the first of his two season stint in charge.  He had earlier spent a couple of seasons as captain of North.

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