BIOGRAPHIES [Hi-Hz]

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

[Bill Hickey]  [Harry Hickey]  [Reg Hickey]  [Alan Hickinbotham]  [David Hickinbotham]  [Darryl Hicks]  [Clem Hill]  [Laurie Hill]  [Malcolm Hill]  [Cliff Hillier]  [Ron Hillis]  [Marcel 'Nugget' Hilsz]  [Ken Hinkley]  [James Hird]  [Cec Hiscox]  [Arthur Hiskins]  [Rupe Hiskins]  [Andrew 'Max' Hislop]  [Mervyn Hobbs]  [Garry Hocking]  [Gordon Hocking]  [Matthew Hodge]  [Kym Hodgeman]  [Scott Hodges]  [Arthur Hodgson]  [Cyril Hoft]  [George Holden]  [Ray Holden]  [Ted Holdsworth]  [Eddie Holland]  [Nick Holland]  [Albert Hollingsworth]  [Dave Hollins]  [Paul Hollis]  [Andrew Holmes]  [Don Holmes]  [Ken Holt]  [Rendell Holten]  [Clarence 'Jackie' Hooper]  [Don Hooper]  [Juan Hooper]  [Alan Hopkins]  [Frank Hopkins]  [Arch Hosie]  [Sampson 'Shine' Hosking]  [Keith Hough]  [Colin Hounsell]  [Brendon Howard]  [Jack 'Chooka' Howell]  [Jack P. Howell]  [Verdun Howell]  [Arthur Howson]  [Herbert Howson]  [Craig Hoyer]  [Paul Hudson]  [Peter Hudson]  [Neville Huggins]  [Alf Hughes]  [Danny Hughes]  [Des Hughes]  [Frank 'Checker' Hughes]  [Robert Hughes]  [Trevor Hughes]  [Ray Hughson]  [Brian Humphries]  [Jack Hunt]  [Ray Hunt]  [Harry Hunter]  [Ken Hunter]  [Ray Huppatz]  [Victor Hutchens]  [Ross Hutchinson]  [Bill Hutchison]  [Brent Hutton]  [Cliff Hutton]  [Eric Huxtable]  [Matthew Huxtable]  [Albert Hyde]  [John Hyde]  [Gordon Hynes]

Bill Hickey (South Melbourne & Carlton)

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Bill Hickey was a Wangaratta product who attracted attention as a centreman, but who was transformed into a highly capable defender by South Melbourne, for whom he played 45 VFL games between 1902 and 1905, kicking 1 goal.  In 1907 he made a return to league football with Carlton, but managed just a single appearance for the year.

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Harry Hickey (Footscray)

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Footscray recruited Harry Hickey from South Footscray - a local club which Hickey himself had helped to form - and he went on to become an out and out champion.  He made his VFL debut in 1937, and during his first couple of years was used mainly as a rover or half forward flanker, in which positions his form was steady but scarcely eye-catching.  After being moved into the centre early in the 1939 season, however, he really came into his own, and it is doubtful if there was a better centreman anywhere in Australia than Footscray's Harry Hickey.  Flamboyant, elusive and audaciously skilled, he won his club's best and fairest award on three occasions - in 1939, 1945 and 1948 - and ran second to Collingwood's Marcus Whelan in the 1939 Brownlow Medal count.  In 1948 he played a handful of reserves games when recovering from injury and managed to pick up enough votes to finish second in the competition's best and fairest award, the Gardiner Medal.  A Big V representative in 1941 and 1948, he would doubtless have played for his state on several more occasions had World War Two not brought about the suspension of interstate games between 1942 and 1944.  Captain of the club in 1947, he was a member of the first five Footscray sides to contest the VFL finals, only to suffer the disappointment of bowing out at the first hurdle every time.  At the end of the 1948 season, aged thirty-one, and with plenty of good football left in him, he accepted a lucrative offer to coach Rochester in the Bendigo Football League, and after 174 games and 169 goals his VFL career was over.

In May 2002 Harry Hickey's importance in the history of the Bulldogs was emphasised when he was included, albeit in the unaccustomed position of wingman, in the club's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Reg Hickey (Geelong)

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Arguably Geelong's most famous son, Reg Hickey served the club he loved with distinction as both player and coach over a total of twenty-six seasons.

As a player Hickey was a tough, highly skilled and always scrupulously fair defender who joined Geelong from Cressy, and who played a total of 245 VFL games between 1926 and 1940.  He was a dual winner of the Cats' best and fairest award, and was a key figure in the their 1931 and 1937 premiership sides, the latter as captain-coach.  Strongly built at 185cm and 92kg, he was a master at breaking attempted tackles, and his frequent clearing dashes were both inspirational and highly telling.  Extremely adaptable, he played equally well in both wet and dry conditions, and the fact that he was a genuinely two-sided player made him extremely hard to contain during an era when such ability was comparatively rare.  A VFL representative on 18 occasions Hickey was one of the most revered figures in Victorian football during his playing career, and eleven seasons as non-playing coach of Geelong only served to reinforce that reputation as he presided over the Cats' greatest ever era, including back to back flags in 1951-2.

After leaving Geelong Hickey enjoyed success as coach of the VFL representative side which he led to victory at the 1956 Perth carnival.

In 2001, Reg Hickey was selected as the captain and centre half back of Geelong's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Alan Hickinbotham (South Adelaide & Geelong)

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A tough, courageous and often almost wantonly aggressive ruckman and defender, Alan Hickinbotham was a shining light in under-achieving South Adelaide sides for almost a decade after World War Two.  Winner of the club's best and fairest award in 1947, he was joint runner-up to Bob Hank in the Magarey Medal the same year.  In 1954, his last league season, he served as South's captain-coach.  Earlier, in 1949, he had crossed to Geelong, only to break his leg in a match at the MCG before his VFL career had properly got going.  Ironically, Hickinbotham had previously broken his leg while representing South Australia at the same ground.  Because of the effects of the injury, he managed just half a dozen senior games in three seasons with the Cats.  After his retirement as a player, Hickinbotham, who played a total of 4 interstate matches for South Australia, continued to serve South Adelaide in various off-field roles, including that of club president.  He was inducted into the Panthers' official Hall of Fame in 2005, the same year that saw the club announcing that its home ground at Noarlunga would be re-named the Alan Hickinbotham Oval.

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David Hickinbotham (Geelong)

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Regarded by some, including no less an authority than Jack Worrall, as the finest centreman of the 1880s, Geelong's Dave Hickinbotham has equal claims to be remembered as a revolutionary football strategist, if not indeed as one of the game's first de facto 'coaches' (although the actual term was not in vogue at the time).  A keen believer in intense physical training, his Geelong sides were widely acknowledged as the fittest seen in football up to that point.  With Hickinbotham as skipper, the Pivotonians played a fast, open brand of football that established a template to which the club would return many times in the future.  In 1886, this style of play was so successful that the side went through the entire season undefeated (won 17, lost 2) to earn the title not only of premiers, but of champions.

As a footballer, Dave Hickinbotham was a paragon of skill, pace and fine temperament.  He always kept his aggression within acceptable boundaries, and was an excellent kick.  After retiring as a player, he maintained an informal involvement with the club for many years, and was often called upon to impart advice to the players.  In 1910 and 1911 he undertook a more formal coaching role, although he was always careful never to interfere with what he saw as the captain's ultimate, overall authority.  The side failed to reach the finals in both years, however.

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Darryl Hicks (Sturt & Central District)

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Darryl Hicks was a wingman of the highest order who played a total of 211 league games for Sturt between 1960 and 1972, winning the club's best and fairest award in 1962.  He also made a dozen appearances for South Australia, typically reserving some of his best displays for matches against the VFL.  Skilful and quick, with impeccable disposal skills, Hicks played on the wing in Double Blues premiership teams in 1966-7-8-9.  In the 1967 grand final win over Port Adelaide, and that of two years later against Glenelg, he was listed high among his team's best players.

After his retirement as a player, Hicks served as the National Football League's Director of Coaching for a time, and also coached Central District between 1978 and 1983 for an overall success rate of 48.2%.

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Clem Hill (South Adelaide)

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Best remembered as one of the greatest footballers ever produced by South Australia, Clem Hill was also an accomplished footballer.  Agile and nimble, he was a key member of South Adelaide combinations during the 1890s and early 1900s, for much of which time the navy and whites were a significant force in the game.  Hill also played 1 intercolonial game for South Australia and would almost certainly have played more had such contests not been so infrequently engaged in at the time.

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Laurie Hill (Collingwood & Preston)

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Collingwood recruited Laurie Hill from Thornbury and he proved to be a footballer of considerable assurance and flair.  He made his VFL debut in 1962, and was on a half back flank, and many observers' choice as the Magpies' best, in the losing grand final of 1964 against Melbourne (reviewed here).  He also played in the 1966 grand final loss against St Kilda (covered here).  A VFL interstate representative in 1964 and 1965, he played his 114th senior game for the 'Woods in the opening round of the 1969 season against Hawthorn at Glenferrie.  Collingwood lost by 22 points, but most observers felt that Hill had done well in restricting his opponent to a handful of possessions.  The Magpie selection committee thought otherwise, however, and promptly dropped him to the seconds, maintaining that he "hadn't attacked enough".  Disgusted at the decision, Hill, still aged just twenty-six, decided to quit the club and move to the VFA.  Both Northcote, where his elder brothers Max and Len had played, and Preston declared an interest, and Hill opted for the latter.  He went on to give the Bullants five years of highly impressive service.  In his debut season he won the Liston Trophy, and was on his usual half back flank as Preston downed Dandenong by 2 goals in the 1st division grand final.  Hill later described the premiership win as the highlight of his football career.  He won a second Liston Trophy in 1971, making him the Bullants' only dual winner of the award.  He also won club best and fairest trophies in 1970 and 1971.  After playing 84 senior games for Preston, he rounded off his playing career as captain-coach of Diamond Valley League club Watsonia in 1974 and 1975.

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Malcolm Hill (Hawthorn & Sturt)

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Few if any footballers have boasted a premiership strike rate as impressive as that of ruckman Malcolm Hill, whose tally of just 62 league games included no fewer than four winning grand finals.  After playing amateur football with Old Scotch he was recruited by Hawthorn in 1960, and in three seasons with the club he played a total of 22 VFL games, including the winning grand final of 1961 against Footscray, when he was among the Hawks' best.  In 1962 Hill moved to Renmark, and between 1963 and 1969 played intermittently for Sturt, in some seasons only being called upon during the finals.  His 40 SANFL games for the Double Blues included the winning grand finals of 1966, when he was most observers' choice as best afield, 1968 (as 20th man) and 1969 (as 19th man).  A powerful, dynamic player, combining strength overhead with more than adequate ball skills, Hill would almost certainly have been a regular interstate player had he been available to play more league games.

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Cliff Hillier (South Fremantle)

Cliff Hillier was a highly adaptable footballer whose 160 WANFL games for South Fremantle included the winning grand finals of 1952 (as a centre half forward), 1953 and 1954 (both at centre half back).  He also played many fine games as a centreman.  His dozen appearances for Western Australia included all four of the state's matches at the 1956 Perth carnival, after which Hillier was awarded an All Australian blazer.  His performances tended to become more consistently effective the longer his career went on, and in 1959 he won his club's fairest and best award. Twelve months later he retired.

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Ron Hillis (South Melbourne)

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A paragon of poise, panache and aerial prowess, South Melbourne's Ron Hillis was one of the finest defenders of his day.  Most of his 137 VFL games between 1929 and 1937 were played at full back, the position in which he also represented the VFL on 4 occasions.  Hillis had the supreme misfortune to miss both the 1933 flag win and the following year's losing grand final through injury.  When South lost to Collingwood in 1935, Hillis was one of his team's best players.  An excellent kick, he combined dexterous use of the body with superb anticipation and a hefty spring to outmark even the likes of Coventry, Mohr and Titus consistently.

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Marcel 'Nugget' Hilsz (Perth & St Kilda)

Best known as a rugged and dashing defender, ‘Nugget’ Hilsz was also extremely versatile as he proved in 1951 by topping Perth’s goal kicking list with 65 goals after a season spent playing mainly at full forward. He commenced with Perth in 1938, but it was when football resumed after World War Two (during which he had played briefly with St Kilda) that he really came into his own. All 8 of his interstate appearances for Western Australia were made post-war and he was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent defenders in the land. He retired in 1952 after 187 games in eleven seasons with the Redlegs (he did not play from 1942 to 1945). Capable of playing in any defensive position with equal effectiveness, Hilsz was chosen in a back pocket in Perth’s official ‘Team of the Century’.

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Ken Hinkley (Fitzroy & Geelong)

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After failing as a forward with Fitzroy, where he played 11 VFL games and kicked 20 goals in 1987-88, Ken Hinkley was reborn at Geelong as a dynamic, rebounding defender of the highest echelon.  Polished and precise in everything he did, Hinkley won a best and fairest with the Cats in 1992, and was selected in the 1991 and 1992 AFL All Australian teams.  He played in three losing grand finals for Geelong, with the last of his 121 games for the club being the premiership decider of 1995 against Carlton.

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James Hird (Ainslie & Essendon)

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Despite being arguably the greatest Canberra born footballer in the history of the game, one shudders to imagine just how noteworthy James Hird's achievements might have been were it not for his frequent misfortune with injury.  After joining Essendon from Ainslie in 1992 he made a comparatively slow start to his AFL career, but from the time he received a Norwich Rising Star nomination in 1993 things began to pick up appreciably, and by the time he retired at the end of the 2007 season there was scarcely an honour in the elite game that he had failed to achieve.  Joint Brownlow Medallist in 1996, AFL All Australian on five occasions, Norm Smith Medal winner and premiership captain in 2000, Essendon club champion five times and twice the club's leading goal kicker, captain of Australia at International Rules in 2000 - the list runs on and on.  However, as mentioned above, he also suffered more than his fair share of serious injuries, forcing him to miss virtually the entire 1997 and 1999 seasons, and seriously undermining his effectiveness in 2002.  When at peak fitness, however, there was no more valuable or eye catching a player in football.  Playing nominally as a centre half forward, Hird enjoyed a 'license to roam' which could see him bob up almost anywhere on the ground to telling effect.  Despite sometimes appearing almost lackadaisical in his approach, he was actually one of the most energetic and hard working players around, racking up possessions seemingly at will, and invariably using the ball with scrupulous efficiency.  His career at Essendon saw him play a total of 253 AFL games and kick 343 goals, both of which tallies would, but for injury, have been considerably higher.

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Cec Hiscox (Northcote)

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Beginning in 1939, Cec Hiscox went on to enjoy an illustrious, if war-interrupted, 174 game VFA career with Northcote.  After being tried in various positions he eventually settled down to become one of the finest specialist back pocket players of his day, with his eye catching forward forays not only delighting spectators, but also frequently capturing the attention of umpires (for the best of reasons).  Fifth in the Recorder Cup voting of 1940, he later came second in the 1947 Liston Trophy, before finally breaking through to win the award, aged thirty-three, in 1951.  He finally retired at the age of thirty-six after the final match of the 1954 season, doubtless with more than a little regret at having failed to play in a premiership-winning team.

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Arthur Hiskins (South Melbourne)

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One of nine brothers, of whom four achieved prominence as league footballers, Arthur Hiskins was a vibrant, powerful player who was sufficiently adaptable to be able to perform well in almost any position on the field.  Nicknamed 'Poddy', he hailed originally from Rutherglen, and was already twenty-one years of age when he commenced his VFL career with South Melbourne in 1908.  The following season saw him lining up on a half back flank as the southerners overcame Carlton by 2 points to win their first flag for nineteen years (match reviewed here).  One of the longest and straightest kicks in the South side, Hiskins also played many fine games as a forward.  His lengthy career was interrupted by war service between 1916 and 1918 which meant he had the misfortune to miss South's second VFL premiership victory in the last of those years.  He resumed as good as ever in 1919, however, and carried on playing for another five seasons, amassing a total of 185 VFL games, and kicking 56 goals.

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Rupe Hiskins (Carlton)

 

Fit, strong and extremely quick, Rupe Hiskins was as much at home as a member of Carlton's awesome ruck division as he was on a half back flank or wing.  He loved running with the ball, but like many such players he sometimes tended to overdo things.  He played a total of 74 VFL games and booted 9 goals for the Blues between 1920 and 1924.

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Andrew 'Max' Hislop (Collingwood, Melbourne, Richmond)

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Without doubt one of the greatest figures in the history of the Richmond Football Club, 'Max' Hislop's illustrious career at Punt Road perhaps serves as the archetypal lesson in the value of perseverance.  Prior to joining the Tigers in 1917, Hislop had endured two frustrating and fruitless stints at other VFL clubs: Collingwood, where he managed 9 games in 1914; and Melbourne, for whom he made just a single appearance the following year.  Talked by a friend into making a third attempted foray into the big time with Richmond, he rapidly developed into an out an out champion of the highest rank.  Combining pace and power in awesome measure, he was well nigh unbeatable both at ground level, and in the air.  His injury late in the 1919 challenge final against Collingwood was regarded as a crucial factor in the Tigers eventually losing the match.  In the following year's premiership decider against the same opposition, however, he was among the best players afield as Richmond pulled away towards the end to win a low scoring game by 17 points.  In the 1921 challenge final against Carlton (reviewed here), Hislop played even better, with his best afield blanketing of Blues champion Horrie Clover arguably representing the key difference between the two teams.  As if to emphasise this point, Hislop made a crucial last gasp interception late on when a Carlton score looked certain, and Richmond ultimately got home by just 4 points.

A centre half back for most of his career with the Tigers, Hislop played a total of 124 league games between 1917 and 1924 and in 1927.  He was a regular VFL interstate representative for most of this phase of his career.

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Mervyn Hobbs (Footscray, Yarraville, Brunswick, Williamstown)

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Perhaps best remembered for the spectacular mark he took in the 1961 preliminary final against Melbourne (which you can view here), Footscray's Merv Hobbs actually did the bulk of his most effective work at ground level.  A tenacious and cheeky rover who compensated for a slight deficiency in pace by a combination of excellent judgement and rare football intelligence, he was especially dangerous when resting in a forward pocket, as his tally of 115 career goals from 75 VFL matches confirms.  He was his club's joint top goal kicker with 16 goals in 1963, and leading goal kicker in his own right with 24 goals two years later.  Footscray recruited him from Daylesford, and he made his league debut in 1961.  At the end of that season he was first rover in the Bulldogs' losing grand final team against Hawthorn.  In both 1963 and 1964 he played in Footscray's night premiership-winning sides.  Had he not been forced into premature retirement he might well have developed into one of the foremost VFL small men of his generation. That possibility was removed when he was injured at training in February 1966. Doctors diagnosed torn anterior and interior ligaments and torn cartilage in the right knee, which had to be removed. Hobbs undertook remedial exercises at physio rooms in Melbourne four days a week for three months in a bid to recover, but was told "You will not be able to play sport again".

Despite this, Hobbs made a competitive football comeback nine years later when he played briefly with first Yarraville and then Brunswick in the VFA. In 1974 he was a member of Brunswick's losing second division grand final team. He later served as non-playing coach of Williamstown where he also spent three years as club president. Hobbs also spent time back at the Western Oval as Footscray's chairman of selectors for three seasons, and coach of the under nineteens for two. He played his last competitive match at the age of fifty-two in 1995 for Hervey Bay in Queensland.

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Garry Hocking (Geelong & Peel)

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Garry 'Buddha' Hocking was an extremely dynamic and fiercely aggressive on-baller who put in tremendous service in the Geelong engine room for 274 V/AFL games from 1987 to 2001.  He won the Cats' best and fairest award in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996, and was an AFL All Australian in the same years.  No one tried harder than Hocking to push Geelong to an elusive premiership, but the best he could manage was to play in four runners-up combinations.  For much of his career he suffered from knee problems, but he remained a highly damaging and influential player for the Cats right to the end.  At the end of the 2003 season, Garry Hocking took over as senior coach of West Australian football's youngest league side, Peel Thunder, where he was confronted by arguably the greatest challenge of his career so far in endeavouring to transform the perennial easybeats into a competitive combination.  However, his two season stint yielded consecutive wooden spoons and no measurable improvement in the team's displays, and once the 2005 season was over he was replaced as coach by Chris Waterman.

In 2001 Garry Hocking was named as first ruck-rover in Geelong's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Gordon Hocking (Collingwood)

 

An extremely popular figure at Collingwood, where he played a total of 171 games and kicked 78 goals in a war-interrupted, fourteen season VFL career, Gordon Hocking was one of the most versatile footballers of his time.  Despite standing just 178cm in height and weighing a mere 77.5kg he often took a turn as knock ruckman, and was equally effective almost anywhere else.  A regular 'Big V' representative, he was one of the best players at the 1950 Brisbane carnival.  He captained the Magpies in 1950-51, but sadly never managed to play in a premiership-winning team, with a losing grand final against Melbourne in 1939 being the closest he came.

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Matthew Hodge (Fremantle & South Fremantle)

 

Boasting the full given names of Matthew Henry Hodge, but invariably known simply as 'Harry', Hodge was a brilliant centreman, initially with Fremantle during that club's final years, and later with South Fremantle, for whom he played right from the club's inception in 1900.  He later served with distinction as a club administrator, and was a West Australian selector for the triumphant 1921 Perth carnival.  When he was made a life member of South Fremantle in 1906 he was only the second person to achieve the honour.

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Kym Hodgeman (Glenelg & North Melbourne)

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One of Glenelg's greatest ever products, Kym Hodgeman gave some indication of his promise in 1974 when he won the reserves Magarey Medal, despite spending half the season in the senior team.  From 1975 he was a regular in the Bays' league side, and rapidly established a reputation as a courageous and skilful goal kicking rover of the highest order.  A club best and fairest winner in 1977 and 1978, Hodgeman also topped the club's goal kicking list with 51 goals in 1978, and 32 the following year.  The highlight of his first stint with Glenelg came with his popular Magarey Medal win in 1978; in the first season of the short-lived two umpire voting system, Hodgeman finished with 50 votes, one more than Port Adelaide champion Russell Ebert.  A regular South Australian interstate representative, he achieved All Australian selection after the Perth state of origin carnival of 1979.

In 1981, after 160 games for the Tigers, Kym Hodgeman crossed to North Melbourne, where he continued to excel, playing 91 VFL games and kicking 133 goals in five seasons, besides winning the club's 1984 best and fairest award.

Returning to the Bay in 1986, Hodgeman played in a long overdue premiership in 1986, and continued playing for another four years.  When he finally retired he had amassed 244 SANFL games for the Tigers, and booted 411 goals.  He won a third club best and fairest award in 1989.  Appointed senior coach at Glenelg in 1991, he steered the side to a losing grand final the following year, after which he stood down in favour of Mark Williams.

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Scott Hodges (Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Port Adelaide Magpies)

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Had Port Adelaide and not Adelaide been awarded the first South Australian AFL license in 1990 it is tempting to speculate on the impact this might have had on the career of Scott Hodges.  At that time, Hodges had just finished his fourth season with Port, and was at the very peak of his form: he had just booted a league record 153 goals for the year, and had become only the second full forward to win the Magarey Medal.  Had it then been his destiny to enter the AFL with Port, it is hard not to imagine him - injuries permitting - having achieved considerable success.  As it was, he ended up being forced to ply his trade at the game's elite level with the Adelaide Crows, which in a way was a bit like Jack Dyer being told, while still at the peak of his career, that he was being cleared to Collingwood.  In three seasons with the Crows, Hodges displayed only rare glimpses of his true ability, and one sensed that he had difficulty - if only, perhaps, unconsciously - generating the same levels of passion and commitment while wearing a navy, gold and red jumper as he did in his much loved black and white one.

Judged by any standards, Scott Hodges' achievements in the SANFL with Port Adelaide and the Port Adelaide Magpies were noteworthy in the extreme.  Between 1987 and 1998 he played a total of 183 SANFL matches, and kicked 684 goals.  In addition to his 1990 Magarey Medal, he was a dual club best and fairest winner, and headed the league's goal kicking ladder on three occasions, each time with in excess of 100 goals.  A Magpie premiership player in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998, he probably vies with Tim Evans for the mantle of the greatest ever Port Adelaide full forward.  (Fittingly, the club's official 'Greatest Team 1870 to 2000' includes both players.)  Strong both in the air and at ground level, deceptively quick, and a prodigious, if not always unwaveringly accurate, kick, Scott Hodges was undoubtedly one of the most exciting and noteworthy SANFL footballers of his generation.

At AFL level for the Crows, he played a total of 38 games, and kicked precisely 100 goals, between 1991 and 1993 and in 1996, with his tally of 48 goals in 1992 being good enough to top the club's list.  In 1997 he was a member of Port Adelaide's inaugural AFL list, but failed to break into the team.

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Arthur Hodgson (Carlton & Ulverstone)

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Born in Sydney, Arthur Hodgson moved to the mining settlement of Queenstown in west Tasmania at the age of nine and quickly acquired a prowess at the ‘foreign’ sport of Australian football. A best on ground performance for the Queenstown Football Association representative side against a TFL second 18 in 1947 earned him a crack at the ‘big time’ as part of the NTFA combination which took on, and lost narrowly to, the TFL in Hobart. His stellar performance at centre half back in that game was rewarded with inclusion in Tasmania’s 1947 carnival team, making him the first QFA player since 1904 to be so honoured.

Hodgson’s meteoric rise continued when his displays in the carnival attracted the attention of recruiting officers from the mainland. In 1948 he began a five season, 76 game association with Carlton which included an appearance in that club’s losing 1949 grand final side, a club best and fairest award in 1950, and VFL representation in the Brisbane carnival of that same year. Returning home in 1953 Hodgson took over as coach of Ulverstone whom he steered to four NWFU premierships in seven seasons in charge, as well as the 1955 state flag (Ulverstone’s first). His prowess as a player had not diminished either as he won a Wander Medal in 1955 and represented Tasmania in 11 more interstate matches, including involvement in the 1953, 1956 and 1958 carnivals. Hodgson’s record of five interstate carnival appearances is matched only by another Sydney-born player in William ‘Nipper’ Truscott of Western Australia, plus South Australia's Fos Williams. Throughout his career Hodgson’s speed, safe ball handling, and exquisite disposal skills made him one of Australia’s finest centreline players.

In June 2004, Arthur Hodgson was selected as a wingman in the official Tasmanian 'Team of the Century', and two years later he was inducted as a legend into Tasmanian Football's official Hall of Fame.

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Cyril Hoft (North Fremantle, Perth, Glenelg)

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Cyril Hoft began his league career with North Fremantle for whom he played 11 WAFL games in 1914 before joining Perth, where he played in 1915 and 1916.  He spent the next couple of years undertaking military service overseas, during which time he took part in a number of battalion matches, before resuming his league career in 1919 with Perth.  A talented, extremely pacy centreman, Hoft was particularly renowned for his strong high marking and prodigious place kicking.  He tied for the inaugural Sandover Medal with Subiaco's Tom Outridge, only for the award to be conferred on the Maroons man on the casting vote of the league president.  In 1997 the league made retrospective awards to all players who had originally been deprived of a Medal in such circumstances.  He was a member of Western Australia's triumphant Perth carnival team of 1921, and also played in the match against South Australia in Adelaide two years later.  During that game he sustained an eye injury and had to remain in Adelaide for treatment.  For reasons which are unclear, he elected to settle in South Australia, and the 1924 season saw him lining up with Glenelg in the SAFL.  He had a highly auspicious debut season, taking over the Glenelg captaincy two rounds into the season, representing South Australia at the Hobart carnival, and winning the club's best and fairest award.  In 1925 he was appointed captain-coach and, in the opening round of the season, had the immense satisfaction of leading the club to its first ever league win at the expense of reigning premier West Torrens.  Hoft remained at Glenelg for another couple of years, playing a total of 56 senior games, and earning carnival selection again at Melbourne in 1927.  In 1928 he returned home to the west where he played one final season with Perth, taking his total number of games with that club to 88.

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George Holden (West Melbourne & Fitzroy)

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George Holden commenced his senior career with VFA club West Melbourne but it was at Fitzroy, where he played 164 VFL games between 1908 and 1919, that he made his name.  Quick and tenacious, he was a dual winner of the Roys' best and fairest award.  In Fitzroy's winning grand final of 1913 against St Kilda Holden, playing on a wing, was many observers' selection as best afield.  Three years later, when Carlton was vanquished on grand final day, he put in a similarly auspicious performance in the centre.  George Holden captained the Maroons in 1917-18 but his career came to a peremptory end when he wrenched a knee during the opening fixture of the 1919 season.

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Ray Holden (West Perth, Melbourne, Perth)

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Ray Holden was a polished and extremely effective full back who for a time was arguably the best player in that position in Western Australia.  He hailed from Tuart Hill, from where he was recruited by West Perth.  Between 1979 and 1983 he played a total of 79 senior games for the club, impressing with his sound judgement, aerial prowess and dependability.  He played state football for Western Australia on 4 occasions, with his form in 1982 in particular genuinely outstanding.  Unfortunately for Holden, there was no All Australian team chosen that year, but if there had been he would almost certainly have been among the first players picked after featuring high in the best player lists for the home and away matches against South Australia and the home fixture against the Vics.  In 1984, he crossed to VFL club Melbourne but found it hard to dislodge Danny Hughes from the full back position, and only managed 3 senior games for the year.  He then returned home to Western Australia where he joined Perth, playing 16 senior games for the club in 1985 and 1986.  In 1987 he returned 'home' to West Perth, taking his final tally of games with that club to 97 by the time he retired two seasons later.

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Ted Holdsworth (Swan Districts & Kalgoorlie City)

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One of many fine full forwards to grace the 1930s, Swan Districts' Ted Holdsworth's undoubtedly impressive achievements were tempered by three constraining factors: first, he played in one of the less accomplished sides of his era, which inevitably meant that goal kicking opportunities were limited; secondly, he spent a considerable amount of time away from full forward, endeavouring to bolster deficiencies in a side that was often stretched to the limit; and thirdly, his career was interrupted by World War Two, just as he was commencing what might reasonably have been regarded as his peak years.  

Holdsworth, in fact, finished his senior career playing at full back, in which position he was every bit as successful as at full forward.  Indeed, he represented Western Australia in both positions.

Seven times Swans' leading goal kicker for the year, he topped the ton on two occasions, but never managed to top the WANFL list.  In 1937 he booted 109 goals, but missed the last five games of the year through injury.  Holdsworth interrupted his WANFL career in 1939 when he spent the season on the goldfields, coaching GNFL side Kalgoorlie City.

Not the most agile or fleet-footed of players, Holdsworth owed his success at the goal front to his strong overhead marking and accurate kicking.  Like many full forwards of the time, he favoured the torpedo punt when kicking for goal.

Ted Holdsworth was non-playing coach of Swan Districts in 1952, and later served as club vice-president.  He was the almost inevitable choice as full forward in Swans' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Eddie Holland (Woodville)

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Eddie Holland was a fine servant of the Woodville Football Club in a ten season, 118 game league career that would have seen him play many more matches had he not been such a frequent victim of injury. After commencing the 1968 season playing at centre half back in the thirds he quickly graduated to the seniors, for whom he ended up playing 18 games for the year, mainly in the back pocket, a position to which his compact 173cm, 80.5kg frame was well suited. Over the years, Holland's energetically dynamic style, whether playing out of defence or in the centre, made him a firm favourite among Woodville supporters. He made the state team for the match against Western Australia in Perth in 1970 and might reasonably have been expected to gain further state honours had injury not hampered him so persistently.

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Nick Holland (North Adelaide & Hawthorn)

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After 19 games with North Adelaide in 1992 Nick Holland was drafted by Hawthorn where he made his senior AFL debut in 1994 and became a regular the following season, when he won the prestigious Norwich Rising Star Award as the league's best rookie.  Strong overhead and extremely courageous, he could perform with equal effectiveness at both ends of the ground.  Had it not been for his often wayward and sometimes genuinely atrocious kicking he would undoubtedly have been regarded as a bona fide superstar.  As it was, he fell a little way short of champion status, but was still an outstanding performer for the Hawks in 179 games over twelve seasons during which he kicked 239 goals.  His best season came in 2000 when he topped Hawthorn's goal kicking list with 51 goals (having previously achieved the feat, albeit with just 29 goals, three years earlier); Holland also tied with Daniel Chick for the club's best and fairest award in 2000.

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Albert Hollingsworth (Port Adelaide)

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Albie Hollingsworth was a strong marking, long kicking centre half forward who enjoyed an auspicious, if somewhat brief, SANFL career with Port Adelaide during the 1930s.   He made his league debut in 1934 and enjoyed a marvellous season which earned him the club's best and fairest award.  He blotted his copybook somewhat in that year's grand final against Glenelg, however, when some lax kicking for goal produced a match tally of 4.7, and the Bays edged home by 9 points.  (You can access a review of the match here.)

Hollingsworth won another club best and fairest award in 1936, and, after being moved to full forward following Jack Prideaux's retirement, he topped the Magpies' goal kicking list in 1938 with 45 goals and in 1939 with 78.  A South Australian interstate representative on half a dozen occasions, including both matches at the 1937 Perth carnival, he had played a total of 91 league games by the time he called it a day in 1940.  Among those 91 games were five grand finals, three of which were won.

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Dave Hollins (East Fremantle)

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Recruited from South Bunbury, East Fremantle centreman and on-baller Dave Hollins played a total of 189 league games plus 5 for his state, was club champion in 1971 and 1975, and won the 1971 Sandover Medal.  He was one of Old Easts' best in their 1974 grand final victory over Perth.  An excellent all round performer, perhaps the most conspicuous feature of his play was his prodigious drop kicking.  

Hollins won his Sandover in style, finishing 10 votes ahead of runner-up Mel Whinnen.  However, the win was attended by controversy after an alleged 'leak' elicited a late betting frenzy, with hordes of gamblers accruing an admittedly miniscule profit after jumping on the Hollins bandwagon. 

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Paul Hollis (Sturt)

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Born in Mackay, Paul Hollis followed in the footsteps of both his father, Brian, and grandfather, Tom, in playing League football in South Australia.  However, where he broke with tradition was in heading for Unley rather than Thebarton.  At 183cm and 73kg Hollis did not possess the physical attributes normally associated with a full forward but that was where he played much of his career, topping Sturt's goalkicking list in 1980 and 1981 with 70 and 65 goals respectively.  All told, he played a total of 145 games for the Double Blues between 1980 and 1986, kicking 283 goals.  Despite his lightweight frame he certainly knew how to get the ball and, once in possession, was a tellingly accurate left foot kick.  He may not always have been in the very highest rank as a player but at his best he could compete with anyone.

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Andrew Holmes (Swan Districts)

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Andy Holmes was a reliable servant of the Swan Districts Football Club during a career lasting 138 senior games between 1986 and 1995.  An energetic, hard working footballer who was equally at home across centre or on the ball, he was a member of Swans' 1990 grand final team against Claremont, and contributed 3 goals to an eventual 16.7 (103) to 10.17 (77) triumph.  At just 172cm and 65kg he was one of the smallest and lightest players at the club, but he punched above his weight.  Always a danger near goal, he topped Swans' goal kicking list in 1988 with 41 goals, 1989 (56) and 1990 (53).

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Don Holmes (Swan Districts & West Coast)

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Originally from Bassendean, Don Holmes made his league debut for Swan Districts as a nineteen year old in 1978.  He took a while to establish himself but eventually developed into an extremely useful player, whether roving or as an opportunistic half forward flanker.  He was a member of Swans' losing grand final side of 1980 against South Fremantle (match reviewed here), and in the winning grand finals of 1982, 1983 (both against Claremont) and 1984 (versus East Fremantle, when he booted 5 goals to be among the best players on view).  His form in 1984 was exceptional, and he was chosen to represent Western Australia against South Australia that year at Football Park, a match which the visitors won by the narrowest of margins.  When the West Coast Eagles entered the VFL in 1987, Don Holmes was an inaugural squad member, and although he never quite managed to achieve regular selection in the team, he invariably did a creditable job when called upon.  In three seasons with the Eagles he played 23 VFL games and kicked 40 goals, all the while continuing a simultaneous WAFL career with Swans.  That WAFL career, which comprised 158 senior games and saw him amass 323 goals, came to an end in the best imaginable way when he helped his club to a 16.7 (103) to 10.17 (77) upset grand final victory over Claremont in 1990.

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Ken Holt (East Fremantle)

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Fast, elusive, and a noted exponent of the torpedo punt, East Fremantle's Ken Holt was one of the most damaging half forwards of his generation.  He made his league debut in 1954, and topped the club's goal kicking list with 60 goals the same year, a feat he repeated in 1956 (with 61 goals) and 1961 (39).  He was a member of Old East premiership teams in 1957 and 1965 (the last of his 202 senior games).  Somewhat surprisingly, he made only one interstate appearance for Western Australia, against the South Australians at the 1961 Brisbane carnival.

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Rendell Holten (Collingwood)

 

Known by team mates and supporters alike as 'Mac', Rendell Holten was a sublimely talented footballer who had the misfortune to play for Collingwood during one of that club's rare pre-'colliwobles' periods of under-achievement.  Between 1942 and 1948, he played a total of 82 VFL games, and kicked 83 goals, for the Magpies, mainly as either a half forward flanker or centreman.  Collingwood reached the finals in only three of Holten's seven seasons, and he had the misfortune of only ever once appearing in a winning finals side - the 1st semi final of 1948 against Footscray - out of a total of six finals appearances.

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Clarence 'Jackie' Hooper (Port Adelaide & Claremont)

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The archetypal 'pocket dynamo', 'Jackie' Hooper commenced his league career in 1931 when he played a single game for Port Adelaide.  He became a regular senior player the following year.  Christened 'Clarence John Hooper', but invariably referred to as 'Jackie', Hooper combined with Bob Quinn to give the Magpies arguably the best roving combination in South Australia.  However, in 1935 he accepted an offer to play with Claremont, which was just about to embark on its tenth season in the WANFL, and was determinedly endeavouring to put together a side capable of challenging for the premiership for the first time.  The last of Hooper's 52 senior games for Port had been the losing grand final of 1934 against Glenelg (reviewed here).  He had also played 4 interstate matches and kicked 8 goals for South Australia.  

With Claremont, things took an unexpected twist early in Hooper's first season when the club's coach, Charlie Parsons, had to stand down because of work commitments.  After due deliberation, the club committee offered Hooper the role, and he accepted.  It was not a successful season, however, as the Monts managed just 5 wins from 18 games to finish second from bottom.  Nevertheless, on a personal front, Hooper enjoyed a fine season, culminated by his winning the club's fairest and best trophy.

In 1936, Hooper was replaced as coach by Dick Lawn, but he continued to give the club excellent service as a player.  Indeed, he was one of the real cornerstones of what might be called Claremont's 'first golden era', playing as first rover in the losing grand finals of 1936 and 1937, and in the premiership sides of the ensuing three seasons.  When he finally retired at the end of the 1946 season he had played a total of 162 WANFL games, and earned himself a prominent place in the club's unofficial 'Hall of Fame'.  Hooper also played 8 games for Western Australia, kicking 17 goals.  He seemed to reserve his best interstate performances for clashes with his home state, with the most noteworthy being his 3 goal, best afield display in the opening match of the 1937 Perth carnival, a match which Western Australia won by a then record margin of 114 points.  He was also listed high among the best players on view after a rare West Australian win in Adelaide in 1938, as well as when they established a new record margin of victory (123 points) later that same season at Subiaco.

Hooper's son Jeremy Hooper later extended the family tradition by playing 26 games for the Tigers between 1966 and 1970.

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Don Hooper (Melbourne & St Kilda)

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Melbourne recruited Don Hooper from Dandenong High School, and when he broke into league ranks in 1932 he was one of the youngest followers in the VFL.  Powerful and hard working, and a capable mark and kick, it would probably be fair to suggest that he never fully realised the potential shown in his first couple of seasons.  After four seasons with Melbourne he crossed to St Kilda but failed to hold down a regular senior place, managing just half a dozen games in two years.  In 1943, following a seven year break from league football, he returned to the big time for one last season with Melbourne, taking his final tally of senior games with the club to 56.

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Juan Hooper (West Adelaide)

Juan Hooper (sometimes referred to as 'Jan', which he disliked) commenced his league career with West Adelaide in May 1963 after responding to the club's SOS following a serious injury to John Ryan.  Prior to 1963, Hooper had played in three amateur league premiership teams with University, as well as representing South Australia at the amateur interstate carnival of 1962 in Melbourne.  He proved to be a ready made league footballer, giving West consistently capable performances, mainly as a rover, in 117 senior games over seven seasons, during which he kicked 130 goals.  He played his best football late in his career under the coaching of former Collingwood iron man Murray Weidemann.

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Alan Hopkins (Footscray & Yarraville)

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Footscray's first Brownlow Medallist, albeit only retrospectively, Alan Hopkins also finished as a runner-up in the award on two occasions, and fourth once. 

Hopkins began with the Tricolours in 1923, when they were still members of the VFA, and was a prominent member of premiership teams in his first two seasons in senior football.  In 1924 he played in the famous Footscray side which defeated Essendon for the championship of Victoria.

Notoriously ungainly of gait, and rather slow for a centreman or on-baller, Hopkins was nevertheless devastatingly effective, and opponents who underestimated him were quickly made to look like mugs.  A regular, and almost invariably successful, Big V representative (20 appearances), at the 1930 Adelaide carnival he was voted player of the series.  Somewhat surprisingly, given that he was often seen to be carrying the load for many of his less talented team mates, Hopkins only won Footscray's top player award once.

After 151 VFL games for Footscray between 1924 and 1934 Hopkins made the short move to Yarraville, where he was appointed captain-coach for the 1935 season.  It was a stunningly successful appointment as the Villains reached their first ever VFA grand final, beating Camberwell by 9 points after a topsy-turvy tussle.  Hopkins' form as a player was consistently good all year, and he finished runner-up in the Recorder Cup.  

After three seasons away from the game, Hopkins returned to Yarraville in 1939 for one last stint as a player.  Despite being one of the oldest players in the VFA, he showed that he had lost none of his class and poise.

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Frank Hopkins (Boulder City, West Perth, Claremont)

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After playing mainly as a defender with Boulder City, Frank Hopkins was transformed into a key position forward by West Perth, where he went in 1926.  The following year saw him make the first of an eventual 11 interstate appearances for Western Australia.  Superb overhead, and a mighty kick, he topped the WANFL goal kicking list in 1930 with 79 goals, in spite of the fact that the Cardinals finished last.  In a game against Perth that year Hopkins booted 14 goals but his side still lost.  In the 1932 grand final against East Perth he booted 2 goals from centre half forward as West Perth came home with a wet sail to win 18.9 (117) to 11.8 (74) after leading by just 5 points at the last change.

After failing to win a place in the Cardinals' 1934 grand final team Hopkins transferred to Claremont where, over the next seven seasons, he added 70 WANFL games to the 145 he had played previously.  Used more often at full forward by Claremont he topped the club's goal kicking list with 83 goals in 1936 and 119 the following year.  When the Tigers won their first league flag by defeating East Fremantle in 1938 Frank Hopkins was 19th man for both the drawn grand final and the replay.

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Arch Hosie (Port Adelaide)

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Ruggedly relentless and inspirational, Arch Hosie was a lynch-pin of the Port Adelaide Football Club for fourteen seasons, during which time it won three premierships and was runner-up on four occasions.  He later had two brief stints as coach of the club, in 1909-10, and 1924-5.

As a player he was aggressive but fair, and boasted extraordinary versatility.  Many of his finest performances came in the ruck, but he was almost equally effective in the centre or across half back.  In 1901-2-3 he captained Port, and was state captain for a couple of years as well, leading South Australia to a famous victory over the VFL in Melbourne in 1902.  In all, he played for South Australia 6 times.

In 1898, Hosie received a trophy from the club for 'the best all round player', as a result of which he is listed in the record books as Port Adelaide's earliest known best and fairest award winner.  He retired at the end of the 1903 season having just led his team to a 6.6 (42) to 5.5 (35) challenge final victory over South Adelaide.

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Sampson Hosking (Port Adelaide, West Adelaide, West Torrens)

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Sampson 'Shine' Hosking's 1910 Magarey Medal win was but the most conspicuous of numerous achievements over the course of a sporadic three decade career in league football as both a player and a coach.  (The SANFL later awarded Hosking a second, retrospective Medal for 1915.)  As a coach he steered his beloved Magpies to a total of three premierships during two separate stints at the helm.  He also coached West Torrens to a flag in 1933 and took West Adelaide to a grand final in his only season in charge of the red and blacks.  During World War Two he spent two seasons as coach of the Port Adelaide-West Torrens combined side for 1st and 2nd place finishes.  However, it is as a player that he is rightly best remembered.

Despite being repeatedly beset by injury during the early part of his Port Adelaide career Hosking quickly established a reputation for speedy, effective play, notably characterised by accurate disposal, fierce, almost callous determination, and a notorious partiality for gamesmanship.  Given his self-confessed reputation as "one of the dirtiest players who ever stripped" [see footnote 1] his achievement in twice winning an award presented to the League's best and fairest player was remarkable.  Perhaps standards of 'fairness' have changed or, more probably, Hosking was simply very good at camouflaging his less congenial actions.

During his playing career Hosking gave notice of his latent coaching ability by instigating strategies such as commissioning a loose man in attack (typically Hosking himself) or stationing one of the team's on-ballers a kick behind the play (again, as often as not, this proved to be Hosking).

Despite officially retiring in 1921 after 12 seasons and 149 games with the Magpies (plus 10 for South Australia), Hosking was later to effect two brief 'come backs'.  In 1927, his first season as coach of Port he added 2 further games to his tally and, even more remarkably, during his second stint as coach of the Magpies, at the age of forty-eight, he sat on the bench as 19th man for 1 game in 1936.  Despite the fact that there were to be no further 'resurrections' after that, the status of Sampson Hosking as one of the true giants of the game had been well and truly established.

Footnotes

1.  From an interview with Hosking conducted by 'The Express and Telegraph', 23/9/22, page 4.  Back to Main Text

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Keith Hough (Claremont-Cottesloe/Claremont)

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After being recruited from the Pastimes Football Club in Bunbury, Keith Hough made his league debut with Claremont-Cottesloe in 1928.  His impact was pronounced, as he won the club's fairest and best award in his debut season.  Two years later he finished second in the Sandover Medal count to West Perth's Ted Flemming.  An energetic, rebounding half back flanker, he was one of the few shining lights in a team of persistent under-achievers that finished last or second to last every season during his career except the last.  The season of the sudden and spectacular improvement was 1936 when inspired coaching from Dick Lawn guided the club to a losing grand final against East Perth.  Keith Hough was on a wing that day, in the last of his 120 senior appearances for the club.

Many of the best of those performances came in a 1932 season that saw Hough earmarked as the best footballer in the state courtesy of a resounding Sandover Medal win which saw him procure a record 32 votes.  For good measure, he also won a second club fairest and best award.

A Western Australian state representative 8 times, Hough was once described in 'The West Australian' as "a player who never gives up.  His dogged persistence and fleetness of foot, sure hands and masterly disposal have made him one of the state's foremost players".

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Colin Hounsell (South Melbourne/Sydney, Nightcliff, Woodville)

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Skilful, hard working, and boasting plenty of pace, Colin Hounsell enjoyed a fine league career lasting eleven seasons.  That career commenced in 1975 with South Melbourne and when he retired in 1985 he had played a total of 122 VFL games and kicked 98 goals for the Swans, as well spending the 1979-80 season with Nightcliff in the Darwin competition, and playing 13 games and booting 12 goals for Woodville in 1980-81.  Hounsell signed a two year contract with the Woodpeckers but left after playing just 1 game in 1981 because his fiancée missed Melbourne.  Woodville threatened legal action, but in the end Hounsell was allowed to resume his VFL career with the Swans.  Equally effective as an on-baller or across centre, he was not quite in the very highest echelon as a player, but was a reliable and highly effective performer nevertheless 

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Brendon Howard (Sturt)

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Sturt recruited Brendon Howard from Port McDonnell, where he worked as a fisherman, and in his debut season of 1973 he slotted into the centre like a veteran, and ended up being many observers' choice as the SANFL recruit of the year.  Less flamboyantly skilful than some of his Double Blues team mates such as Bagshaw, Graham and Burgan, he was nevertheless a vital component in Jack Oatey's reconstructed side of the mid-1970s which won premierships in 1974 and 1976.  Brendon Howard was in the centre in both of those premiership wins, and also played in the losing grand finals of 1978 and 1983.  He was the Blues' captain in 1981.  Tough, resilient and courageous, he was capable of winning possessions under extreme duress, and his distribution, by both hand and foot, was typically first rate.  He was runner-up in Sturt's club championship award in 1974 and 1979, and when he retired in 1984 had played a total of 221 senior games.

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Jack Howell (Carlton & Oakleigh)

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Dubbed 'Chooka', like his father before him, because of his ungainly gait, Jack Howell was nevertheless deceptively agile and extremely quick for a big man.  He also possessed extraordinary stamina, enabling him to ruck all day if required.  He was versatile, too, and could play, with equal effectiveness, at centre half forward or full forward. A member of Big V carnival teams in 1947, 1950 and 1953, he was selected in the inaugural All Australian team after the last of those championships.  In 1947-8-9 and 1953 he was selected in the 'Sporting Life' Team of the Year, further testimony to the sustained and consistent nature of his brilliance.

Howell made his VFL debut with Carlton in 1942 but after just one match he was not selected again all year.  It later emerged that his father, Jack Howell senior, himself a former Carlton player, had complained to the club that his son was too young for league football.  He was not considered too young to serve his country, however, and the remainder of the war years saw him on active service with the RAAF.  In 1943 and 1944 he managed a handful of games for the Blues while on leave, but to his immense regret he was forced to miss the entire 1945 season, and the possibility of involvement in a Carlton premiership.

Jack Howell's first full season was thus 1946.  Tall for his era at 193cm, but weighing under 80kg, Howell used his long, spidery arms to gain the advantage at ruck contests, and his coach Percy Bentley for one regarded him as the most formidable knock ruckman of all time.  Selected to represent the Big V for the first time in 1946, he went on to become an automatic choice for most of the remainder of his career.

Carlton reached the grand final in 1947, beating Essendon, and again two years later when the Bombers turned the tables.  Jack Howell led the ruck in the former game, and was at centre half forward in the latter.  On both occasions he was among the Blues' best players.

In 1951, Howell received a couple of lucrative offers to play in Tasmania, but Carlton refused to let him go.  Despite standing out of football for the year, he was unable to get the committee to change their minds, and so the 1952 season saw him reluctantly resuming in the VFL.  After a season spent mainly in the forward lines, he topped Carlton's goal kicking list with 42 goals.  He had earlier won the club's best and fairest trophy in 1946 and 1948.

In 1955, Howell crossed to Oakleigh as captain-coach but was unable to get the team into the finals.  He retired as a player in 1957 after sustaining a serious knee injury.

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Jack P. Howell (South Melbourne, Footscray, Prahran)

Originally from Melbourne District, Jack 'Chooka' Howell played just 40 VFL games for South Melbourne, kicking 22 goals, but for a brief time he was arguably the most outstanding knock ruckman in the land.  His form when he began with South in 1915 was serviceable rather than brilliant, and he then missed the entire 1916 season as his club went into temporary abeyance owing to the war.  However, when he resumed in 1917 his performances simply got better and better.  In the 1918 finals series he was arguably the biggest single reason behind the southerners' eventual premiership triumph.  He was best afield in the semi final defeat of Carlton, and vied for that honour with Collingwood's 'Flapper' Hughes as the Magpies were downed by 5 points in the 'big one'.  Having enjoyed stellar form all year, and had South offered a best and fairest trophy in 1918, Howell would almost certainly have been the recipient.

Which, in hindsight, makes it seem somewhat astonishing that the very next year, while still at the peak of his ability, he elected to throw in his lot with Footscray in the VFA.  In both that season and the next he emphasised that he remained one of the pre-eminent footballers in Australia by helping the Tricolours go from nowhere in 1917 to consecutive premierships.  Howell remained at Footscray until 1924, having played in another flag-winning side in his penultimate year.  He was appointed captain-coach of VFA side Prahran in 1925, but a sequence of poor results prompted the club's committee to replace him towards the end of the season with Joe Scales.

Unfortunately, the fact that Jack Howell chose to spend the majority of his career away from football's very highest level has meant that his importance and status have tended to be undervalued.  His best, however, may well have been on a par with that of any ruckman in the history of the game.

Jack Howell's son, also named Jack, was himself a footballer of the very highest order.

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Verdun Howell (City-South, St Kilda, Claremont)

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A half forward during the bulk of the Tasmanian phase of his career with City-South, Verdun Howell was transformed by St Kilda into a prototype of the modern attacking full back. He played 159 games for the Saints between 1958 and 1968 and was second on a countback for the Brownlow in only his second season. Thirty years later the VFL saw fit to award him a medal retrospectively.

Despite his venturesome spirit which manifested itself in a tendency to leave his man in order to embark on dashing runs upfield Howell seldom conceded many goals for the simple reason that whenever he pursued the ball he normally got it. In short, he transformed the backing of one's judgement into an art form.

As Howell's VFL career progressed he made a gradual journey back to the forward lines. He was on a half back flank when St Kilda won its only senior flag in 1966 and, as vice captain, combined with skipper Darrel Baldock to provide the Saints with a unique, all Tasmanian on field leadership team.

As his career drew to a close Howell frequently played on the forward lines and was highly effective; in one game against Hawthorn he booted 9 goals. However, it was as a defender that he rose to his greatest heights, winning St Kilda's best and fairest award in 1959, representing the Big V on 9 occasions, and, to all intents and purposes, re-writing the chapter in the manual of footy entitled "How to Play Full Back".

After his retirement as a player, Howell coached Claremont from 1972 to 1974, steering the Tigers to a losing grand final against East Perth in his first season only to see them plummet to a wooden spoon the following year.  When the 1974 season brought scant improvement he was replaced as coach by Mal Brown.

In 2004, AFL Tasmania announced its Tasmanian 'Team of the Century', which included Verdun Howell in a back pocket.

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Arthur Howson (Claremont-Cottesloe/Claremont)

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Talented centreline player Arthur Howson was one of Claremont-Cottesloe's most noteworthy performers during its debut season in the WAFL in 1926.  With 2 votes, he was the club's leading vote getter in the Sandover Medal, and his name frequently featured in the weekly best player lists.  Unfortunately, however, the 'Babies' as they were known at the time did not run a fairest and best player award in 1926, so Howson's fine season was not accorded the official stamp of recognition that it perhaps warranted.  Howson's fine form continued into 1927 and during the year he became Claremont-Cottesloe's first ever interstate representative when he played for Western Australia against New South Wales at the Melbourne carnival.  His league career continued intermittently until 1935, by which time he had played a total of 87 senior games.

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Herbert Howson (South Melbourne)

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Usually referred to as 'Bert', Howson was a champion wingman for South Melbourne over seventeen seasons which comprised the club's last six in the VFA, and its first eleven in the VFL.  He was supremely unfortunate in that he began his senior career the year after South's last VFA flag, and ended it the season before the club's first premiership in the VFL.  However, he made amends to some extent when, after being appointed non-playing coach of the red and whites in 1918, he led them to a flag at the first time of asking. 

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Craig Hoyer (Swan Districts, Hawthorn, Hobart)

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An immense (195cm, 95kg) ruckman from Redcliffe, Craig Hoyer gave solid service to Swan Districts, but could not quite crack it for a regular game in the VFL with Hawthorn.  He commenced with Swans in 1978, and his initial stint with the club comprised 52 senior games, and saw him kick 65 goals, in three seasons.  From 1981 to 1984 he played for Hawthorn, but only twice at senior level.  He returned to Swans late in the 1984 season for a final 9 games and 5 goals and was then recruited by Hobart, where he gave excellent service, winning the club's best and fairest award in 1986 and 1988.

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Paul Hudson (Hobart, Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs, Richmond)

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Attempting to follow in the footsteps of a famous father is never easy, but Paul Hudson, son of goal kicking legend Peter Hudson, managed the feat better than most.  Indeed, judged by any objective standards, his career was a resounding success.  After playing briefly with Hobart, he was drafted by Hawthorn, where he made his AFL debut in 1990.  Despite appearing to lack pace he developed into an effective and occasionally highly damaging half forward flanker.  In 1991 he ran 5th in the Brownlow voting and kicked a couple of goals in the Hawks' grand final defeat of West Coast.  Between 1990 and 1996 he played a total of 134 AFL games for Hawthorn, booting 264 goals, but a mediocre 1996 season led to his being traded to the Western Bulldogs.  After an inconsistent start with his new club Hudson's form reached new levels in 1998 when he made the AFL All Australian team.  He also amassed 61 goals to top the Bulldogs' goal kicking list, an achievement he repeated the following year, with 51 goals.  Hudson's form deteriorated somewhat after that, and at the end of the 2001 season, after 108 games and 214 goals for the Bulldogs, he was traded to Richmond.  However, his career failed to re-ignite with the Tigers, and he managed just 3 games and 1 goal before announcing his retirement at the end of the 2002 season.

He may have been less spectacularly successful than his father, but Paul Hudson gave worthy service to two AFL clubs, and enjoyed a distinguished and memorable career in his own right.

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Peter Hudson (New Norfolk, Hawthorn, Glenorchy, Hobart)

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Statistically the most prolific full forward in the history of the game, Peter Hudson can also lay strong claims to having been the best. All told, Hudson played a total of 289 senior games for New Norfolk, Hawthorn and Glenorchy between 1963 and 1981, netting 1,721 goals at an average of 5.95 goals per game. He also kicked a further 317 goals in other games such as interstate matches for Tasmania and Victoria, intrastate football for the TFL, night games, state and Australian championship matches, and so forth, for an Australian record career total of 2,038 senior goals. The key to Hudson's success was an indefatigable desire to gain possession of the football, which he did repeatedly by virtue of his strength, vigorous, pacy leading, and excellent handling and marking skills.  Topping this off, he was a meticulously accurate kick for goal, albeit relying, almost exclusively, on an old fashioned tumble punt which would have scored no points whatsoever for 'artistic merit', and which seemed outmoded even in Hudson's era. Not that 'artistic merit' ever contributed measurably to a premiership, of course.

As a coach, Hudson took charge of Hobart in 1986 and remained at the helm for two years, steering the side to consecutive unsuccessful finals campaigns.

When the official Tasmanian 'Team of the Century' was announced in June 2004, no one was surprised to find Peter Hudson named as full forward.  He was inducted as an inaugural icon of the Tasmanian game the following year.

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Neville Huggins (Williamstown, Fitzroy, North Melbourne)

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Originally from Rutherglen in the Ovens and Murray League, Neville Huggins played briefly with Williamstown during the late 1920s before joining Fitzroy in 1929.  After just 4 senior games with the Roys, however, he jumped ship following a dispute with the club authorities.  Two years later, he embarked on a second stab at VFL football, this time with North Melbourne.

A tough, fiery, tearaway type, Huggins was a tremendous favourite among the North fans, who clamoured long, loud but ultimately unsuccessfully for him to be included in the VFL's 1933 Sydney carnival squad.

In 1936, after 86 VFL games with North, Huggins was appointed captain-coach of his former side Williamstown, on a contract reputed to be the most lucrative in Australian football at the time.  Unfortunately, he was unable to repay the club by masterminding a premiership, but as a player he gave the Seagulls fans plenty to cheer, winning two VFA Medals and a Recorder Cup as well as a couple of club best and fairest awards in just two seasons. 

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Alf Hughes (Hawthorn)

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Alf Hughes was already twenty-three when he made his VFL debut with Hawthorn, but he quickly made up for lost time by developing into a top class defender for the Hawks.  Between 1952 and 1959 he played a total of 106 senior games, and also represented the VFL on the interstate front.  After leaving Hawthorn he played with Wimmera Football League Club Nhill.

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Danny Hughes (Port Adelaide, Melbourne, Adelaide)

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Recruited locally, Danny Hughes made his league debut for Port Adelaide in 1981 while still eight months shy of his eighteenth birthday.  He was in a back pocket, and a conspicuous performer, as the Magpies trounced Glenelg in that year's grand final.  In 1984, after 71 SANFL games, he transferred to Melbourne, where he overcame a tentative start to develop into one of the best full backs in the VFL.  Powerfully built at 189cm and 93kg, he was not afraid to use his body, and combined prodigious overhead strength with solid ground skills and a thumping kick.  He won the Demons' best and fairest award in his second season, and was still playing good football in 1990, his final season with the club, when he brought his tally of V/AFL games to 124.  The following season saw Hughes return home to South Australia and line up with Adelaide in that club's inaugural AFL season.  However, he managed just 11 games, spending the other half of the season back with Port Adelaide in the SANFL, and at the end of the year he opted to bring down the curtain on his AFL career.  He continued with Port for another three years, however, taking his final tally of SANFL games to 129, and was a member of the club's 1992 premiership team.  Hughes made 7 interstate appearances for South Australia, and was an All Australian in 1988.

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Des Hughes (Coorparoo)

 

Des Hughes was as a prototype of the new type of wingman who began to emerge in the 1960s, being significantly taller than most of his opponents, and hence regularly able to outmark them, but equally quick and no less skilled as well.  He was a major driving force behind Coorparoo's success in the 1960s which saw the club win its first ever QANFL premiership in 1960, and go on to contest six further grand finals for three wins over the course of the rest of the decade.

A regular Queensland interstate representative (15 appearances), Hughes possessed a prodigious leap and strong hands, and was often moved from his his wing to centre half forward if the team required a lift in that position.  He played close to 300 QANFL games before retiring. 

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Frank 'Checker' Hughes (Richmond, Ulverstone, Melbourne)

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Best remembered today as one of the finest and most successful VFL coaches of all time, Frank 'Checker' Hughes was also a top quality footballer, who played 87 games for Richmond on either side of World War One.  Small, nuggety and tough, he roved for the Tigers in their 1920 and 1921 premiership teams, and also represented the VFL. After leaving Richmond at the end of the 1923 season he spent three seasons in Tasmania with NWFU club Ulverstone before returning to the Tigers as coach in 1927.  His impact was pronounced and immediate, and he had the side in the finals in every one of the next six years, although it was not until the last of those years, 1932, that a premiership was finally procured.

In 1933, Hughes made the short trip across Jolimont Park to join Melbourne, where his close friend Percy Page, himself a former Richmond man, was secretary.  The Fuchsias, as they were known at the time, had endured a somewhat ignominious few years since winning the 1926 premiership, but 'Checker' Hughes gradually transformed them into one of the most powerful combinations seen in football up to that point.  By way of emphasising his intentions, he also changed the club's nickname from Fuchsias to Demons.  

Melbourne's elevation from also-ran to awesome power was largely a result of the close, harmonious partnership between its coach and secretary.  Foreshadowing the professional, 'no stones left unturned' approach of the modern game, the duo planned almost everything in meticulous detail, from recruitment through to training and match preparation.  Hughes also proved himself to be both adaptable and innovative.  Whereas at Richmond success had been achieved largely through a rigorous and wholehearted commitment to the defensive aspects of the game, at Melbourne Hughes was quick to realise that he had a vastly different assortment of players at his disposal, and to adapt his tactical approach accordingly.  In particular, the Demons had in full forward Norm Smith "the complete forward engineer" (see footnote 1), around whom a formidably ground-breaking attacking system could be manufactured and honed.  

'Checker' Hughes later summarised the key elements of that system thus:

"When Smithy led out, Ron Baggott, centre half forward, one of those loosely put together players who was always hard to beat, ran in.  Smithy sometimes took a pass, but a quick hand pass to the running Baggott created more trouble for the defenders.

"Then we played a trump card by keeping Jack Mueller hanging around the goal square.  One of the best marks in the game, he was a problem child in himself.  No defender could leave him for a second.  Two brilliant rovers in Beames and Rodda were always on the move, and if that was not enough we had that amazing fellow Maurie Gibb doing the cleverest things on the half forward flank.  On the other half forward wing was that red-headed bullet, 'Bluey' Truscott.  Smith, who was football brains from his thatch to his toes, was in clover.  La Fontaine, our centre, diverted play to Gibb's flank or to Truscott, or maybe he drove direct to the fast moving Smith, or again he might ignore the Smith lead and pass to Baggott, who would have doubled around just behind centre half forward.

"Smith became a genius at handball.  He flipped the ball like a flash to a man running in, and then never forgot to block.  The things that fellow did amazed me.  He was different from the others; he made a team work around him.  Others made the team work for them.  He was a real master at creating play."  (See footnote 2)

Hughes had two stints as coach of Melbourne, from 1933 to 1941, for flags in 1939-40-41, and from 1945 to 1948, eliciting a fourth flag in his final season in charge.  His overall success rate as a VFL coach of 65.1% provides perhaps the most persuasive evidence to his greatness.

Footnotes

1.  The Story Of The Melbourne Football Club 1858-1958 by E.C.H. Taylor, page 79.  Return to Main Text

2.  Ibid., page 79.  Return to Main Text

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Robert Hughes (Sutherland/Tuggeranong)

 

Arguably the greatest player in the history of the Tuggeranong Football Club, Robert Hughes represented the club - which was originally known as Sutherland - right from the outset of its involvement in the ACTAFL in 1979.  Despite the fact that Sutherland finished 2nd last in its debut season, Hughes demonstrated emphatically that he was a new star in the making by finishing as runner up in the Mulrooney Medal.  He also won the Sutherland best and fairest award, the first of three in succession, and six in total, he would land.

Described by Ron Fowlie as "a gifted and dedicated player who toughed it out in the club's hard days", Robert Hughes finally tasted the ultimate success in 1986 when Tuggeranong scored a thrilling 1 point grand final win over Queanbeyan.  This remains the clubs only senior premiership win.

The esteem in which he is regarded in ACT football circles was clearly demonstrated in 1999 when he was included in the official 'ACT Legends' team chosen to commemorate 75 years of football in the territory.

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Trevor Hughes (North Adelaide & West Adelaide)

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With his thin frame and ebullient, socks down style of play, Trevor Hughes was a readily recognisable sight on SANFL grounds during the 1960s.  He commenced his league career with North Adelaide in 1959, and in the 1960 grand final contributed a goal from half forward right to the Roosters' 14.11 (95) to 13.12 (90) defeat of Norwood.  He never truly established himself as a first choice senior player, however, and in 1964 was cleared to West Adelaide.  During his eight season stint with the Blood 'n Tars Hughes enjoyed a new lease of life, playing at one time or another in every position on the field except knock ruckman, but particularly excelling as an attacking back pocket player, where his keen sense of anticipation and superb ball handling skills admirably compensated for a slight lack of pace.  At his best during the mid-sixties, he came 5th in the Magarey Medal count in 1965, joint 2nd the following year, and won his club's best and fairest award, the Trabilsie Medal in 1967.  When he retired in 1971 he had added a total of 163 league games for West to the 56 he had played with the Roosters.  Somewhat surprisingly, he was never selected to represent South Australia.

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Ray Hughson (Western Districts & West Torrens)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Ray Hughson was a spectacular high-flying full forward who played schoolboy rugby league, Australian football and cricket for Queensland,  He was a Morningside junior who left the game for five years as a sixteen year old but returned to become one of the 'greats'. He joined Wests in 1957 and was a 'disciple' of coach Doug Pittard. Hughson was the league's leading goal kicker in 1958-9-62-3-4-5, kicking 100 goals four times, and but for a stint with West Torrens (mostly seconds) in 1960-61 may have topped the list eight times in a row. He represented Queensland from 1958 to 1965, and is synonymous with Queensland football via a famous Ron Lockens photograph of one of his trademark aerial feats.

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Brian Humphries (West Perth)

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During the course of his all too brief league career West Perth's Brian Humphries impressed as a footballer who boasted, in ample measure, all the skills typically associated with the top quality wingman: tremendous pace, good skills and an excellent team sense.  His 102 games at senior level between 1951 and 1955 included the grand finals of 1951 (won) and 1952 (lost) against South Fremantle.  He also represented Western Australia in the interstate arena 3 times.  His football career came to a premature end in 1955 when he moved abroad.

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Jack Hunt (East Perth)

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Along with Ted Kilmurray and Graham Farmer, Jack Hunt hailed from St Kate's orphanage.  There was no tougher member of East Perth's powerful 1950s combinations than Hunt, who was frequently given the job of quelling the impact of an opposing team's most dangerous player, a task he both relished and almost invariably performed well.  One of only eight Royals players to take part in all three of the club's winning grand finals of the fifties, he was the sort of tough, no nonsense performer every premiership side needs.  His senior career with East Perth comprised 89 games between 1956 and 1960.  He kicked 22 goals.

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Ray Hunt (Glenelg)

 

Glenelg's Ray Hunt was a superb full back whose attacking style was ahead of its time.  His captain-coach Johnny Taylor said of him, "He was a man with great anticipation.  He marshalled his players alongside him from half back to the back pocket like a master.  We could attack with him even from full back - that's how good he was" (see footnote 1).  Between 1936 and 1943 and from 1945 to 1952, Hunt played 206 SANFL games and kicked 34 goals for both the Bays and the West Adelaide-Glenelg war time combination.  He was Glenelg's best and fairest award recipient in 1939 and 1946, and was runner-up to Bob Hank of West Torrens in the 1946 Magarey Medal.  He represented South Australia 5 times.

Footnotes

1.  Quoted in Pride Of The Bay by Peter Cornwall and John Wood, page 111.  Return to Main Text

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Harry Hunter (Footscray, Essendon, Yarraville, Preston)

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Deceptively ungainly, running, according to contemporary reports, somewhat like a duck, Harry Hunter was nevertheless both pacy and effective, and gave fine service to four different clubs of league standard.  He began with Footscray in 1919, but it was at Essendon, where, after spending his first year in the seconds, he played 109 VFL games from 1921 to 1927 as well as in 1929 that he made his name.  Resolute and vigorous, he was superb overhead and a beautiful kick, making him ideally suited to full back, which indeed was where he played for the majority of his league career.  He missed playing in the Dons 1923 challenge final-winning side when a leg injury forced his late omission, but he was a key player in the following season's victorious round robin series, and was a regular state player throughout most of his league career.  In 1928 he was transferred to Albury by his employer and spent a highly successful year as captain coach of the local team, which he captain-coached to a 16 point Ovens and Murray Football League grand final defeat of St Patricks.  After one final season with Essendon in 1929 he spent a couple of seasons as captain-coach of Yarraville and then coached Preston in 1932.  He returned to the Same Old midway through the 1939 season when he co-coached the side along with 'King Dick' Reynolds.  He later served in various capacities on Essendon's committee.  

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Ken Hunter (Claremont, Carlton, North Darwin)

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Ken Hunter survived a gruelling induction into League football to become one of the most exhilarating and eye-catching performers in the game.

After making 4 appearances in 1975 he became a Claremont regular the following year when he sustained a broken jaw on two separate occasions, two and a half months apart.  He spent the 'off season' in Darwin, endeavouring to rebuild his confidence.

In 1977 he played outstanding football, and was rewarded with selection in the Western Australian team to meet the VFL at Subiaco, in the last non-state of origin interstate match between the two sides.  Starting on the bench, Hunter entered the fray in the 3rd quarter, and shortly after attempted to tackle Mark Maclure.  His 'reward' for such impudence was yet another broken jaw - especially ironic this time in that Hunter and Maclure would go on to be team mates in a couple of VFL premierships.

Clearly, Hunter's courage could not be doubted, but there were some who felt he was too frail to succeed at the highest level.  Over the next three seasons he proceeded to prove the doubters wrong, playing consistently well for a Claremont team that was just beginning to emerge from the doldrums, as well as for Western Australia in state of origin matches.  For three consecutive seasons from 1978 to 1980 Hunter finished runner-up to Graham Moss in Claremont's best and fairest voting, while in both 1979 and 1980 he was accorded All Australian status.  Hunter spent the 1979/80 close season with NTFL side North Darwin.

By this time VFL club Carlton, which had been watching Hunter closely since at least 1977, had seen enough, and he was lured to Melbourne in time for the 1981 season.  Playing mainly on the half back line, Hunter was dashing, brave, and capable of the spectacular; he enjoyed a dream season, as his new club overcame Collingwood in the VFL grand final, and he himself was voted club champion.

His breathtaking form continued into 1982 when he was selected to play for Victoria against South Australia in a so called state of origin match.  He also played well in the 1982 grand final, despite suffering from concussion after an opening term collision with Richmond strong man Jim Jess.  Carlton went on to secure a 2nd successive flag.

Over subsequent years Ken Hunter added a commendable degree of versatility to his portfolio, spending a fair amount of time either on the ball or in the forward lines.  In 1983 he topped the Carlton goal kicking with 43 goals and he played well on a half forward flank in the 1987 premiership team.

After a career total of more than 250 league games (99 with Claremont, 147 with Carlton, plus an unspecified number with North Darwin) Hunter retired in 1989.     

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Ray Huppatz (Woodville, Footscray, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide)

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The archetypal nuggety, terrier-like rover, Ray Huppatz was without doubt one of the greatest players ever produced by, or to represent, the Woodville Football Club.  Debuting in 1966 with just one appearance he went on to become a regular in the ensuing seven seasons, for part of which time he helped the 'Peckers to field arguably the strongest first ruck combination in Australia featuring, along with Huppatz himself, future Richmond premiership ruckman and VFL state representative Craig McKellar, and one of the bona fide legends of the game in Malcolm Blight, who would become the first ever player to win both the Magarey and Brownlow Medals.  

After 125 league games for Woodville, which elicited club best and fairest awards in 1969-70-71 and 1973, Huppatz joined Footscray in the VFL where he soon earned a reputation as a tigerish, classy, determined customer.  After 67 games for the Bulldogs he crossed to North Melbourne and added a further 19 games in 1978 and 1980, being forced to miss the whole of 1979 with a knee injury.  He was high among North's best players in the losing 1978 grand final against Hawthorn.

On returning to South Australia, Ray Huppatz played initially with his former club Woodville, adding 17 SANFL games to his tally in 1981.  He then moved on to Port Adelaide where he finished his career with a further 38 games over the ensuing four seasons.  Huppatz also played interstate football for both South Australia and the VFL.

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Victor Hutchens (Ballarat & Essendon)

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Ballarat's Victor Hutchens (see footnote 1) was a stalwart of that club's strong sides of the first decade of the twentieth century, finally participating in a premiership team, after several near misses, in 1908.  In that year's grand final Ballarat led at every change to defeat South Ballarat 7.9 (51) to 4.12 (36), with Hutchens contributing both a goal and a fine personal display to the victory.  Six years earlier he had been a conspicuous performer on a half forward flank for Essendon as the Dons lost the 1902 VFL grand final to Collingwood.  Hutchens spent just one season with the Same Old, and played just 11 senior games.  However, he was a household name in Ballarat at a time when the standard of football on display each Saturday afternoon in the local competition lost little if anything in comparison with that being served up in the supposed 'big league' in the metropolis.

Footnotes

1.  The name is variously spelt 'Hutchins', as in the image above, and 'Hutchens'.  On balance, it appears that the latter rendering is more likely to have been accurate.  Return to Main Text

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Ross Hutchinson (East Fremantle, West Perth, South Fremantle)

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Ross Hutchinson shares with John Todd the distinction of having coached a record three different West Australian league clubs to premierships.  Moreover, also like Todd, he was a fine player, although he lost several of his best years to the war.

Hutchinson joined East Fremantle in 1935 and had a pronounced, immediate impact, winning the Lynn Medal for the club's fairest and best player both that year and the next.  In 1937 he was appointed captain-coach, and promptly steered his side to a flag.  Old Easts went into the finals in 2nd place on the ladder with 14 wins and a draw from their 21 matches, and then had to recover from the setback of losing the 2nd semi final to minor premier Claremont by 14 points.  This they did in exemplary fashion, overcoming a stern but wayward challenge from East Perth in the preliminary final, and then turning the tables on the Tigers on grand final day with a 14.13 (97) to 13.9 (87) win, after Claremont had led by 11 points at the last change.  Hutchinson, who had played in the centre in the grand final, moved to a half back flank for the premiership decider and was a crucial steadying influence all day.

Remaining at the helm in 1938 and 1939, Hutchinson suffered the disappointment of overseeing consecutive grand final losses to Claremont.  In 1940, RAAF duties prevented him from playing, and in 1941 he sought a clearance to West Perth, which wanted him as captain-coach, but this was refused.  Hutchinson spent the season coaching from the sidelines as the Cardinals overcame his former club in both the 2nd semi final and grand final to clinch what would undoubtedly have been an immensely gratifying premiership.  

RAAF commitments kept Hutchinson out of the game until 1946, by which time he had been cleared to play.  However, although the Cardinals fought their way through to the grand final, they ultimately found Old Easts to be just a little too strong, and went under by a goal.

In 1947 he took on what proved to be his final coaching challenge when he crossed to South Fremantle, and once more his impact immediate and considerable.  After comfortably topping the ladder going into the finals with 16 wins from 19 games, 2 wins ahead of West Perth, South comfortably outclassed the Cardinals in the 2nd semi final  to the tune of 41 points.  For the grand final re-match between the sides Hutchinson lined up on a half forward flank for his final game of league football, and contributed 2 goals at a vital stage of the match to help steer his side home by 15 points.  Overall, it was felt to be one of the side's poorest performances for the season, but:

South Fremantle's victory was recognised as a just reward for sound club organisation and teamwork.  On the day the team disappointed supporters in that it failed to reveal its usual cohesion and pace, but it redeemed itself by making a strong finishing effort.  On the whole, it was a premiership well earned.  (See footnote 1)

South repeated their premiership success in 1948 with Hutchinson as non-playing coach, and in 1949, his last season in charge, they ran 3rd.  His departure in 1950 to concentrate on his budding political career left football immeasurably the poorer.

There can be no doubt that Ross Hutchinson was one of the all time great coaches in Australian football history.  His eight seasons as a coach yielded four premierships, three 2nd places, and one 3rd, for an overall success rate of 72.4% from 176 games.  His teams played vibrant, cohesive, team-orientated football that continually established new benchmarks for excellence, and one feels forced to wonder just how successful Hutchinson might have been had not the war deprived him of another potential five seasons in top level football.

As a player, Hutchinson was both talented and versatile.  He could play with equal effectiveness in the centre, across half back or half forward, or on the ball, but even more so than with his coaching his overall impact and importance were cruelly undermined by war.  All told, Ross Hutchinson played a total of 127 WANFL games, comprising 93 with Old Easts, 16 with West Perth, and 18 for South Fremantle.

Footnotes

1.  A contemporary press report cited in The South Fremantle Story 1900-1975 Volume 2 by Frank Harrison and Jack Lee, page 31.  Return to Main Text

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Bill Hutchison (Essendon)

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Recruited by Essendon from local league side Essendon Stars, where he had played chiefly as a wingman, Bill Hutchison developed into one of the greatest rovers the game has seen.  Initially though the Dons used him as a half forward flanker, which was where he lined up for most of his debut season of 1942, including that year's winning grand final against Richmond.  Hutchison had a quiet game that day, but next time he appeared in a grand final, in 1946, he put in the sort of tireless, elegant, pacy performance that was to become his trademark as the Dons crushed Melbourne by 63 points.

Hutchison won the first of seven Essendon best and fairest awards in 1946, by which time he was already a stalwart in VFL representative sides, for which he made a near record 30 appearances, earning All Australian selection in 1953 and 1956.  Despite a propensity to 'backchat' to umpires, he almost invariably polled well in the Brownlow, finally breaking through for a win in 1953 after missing out only on countback the previous year.  In 1989 the VFL retrospectively awarded him, as well as all other countback losers, a 1952 Medal as well, but sadly Bill Hutchison had by this time passed away.  His volubility notwithstanding, few players in history have so admirably and consistently conformed to both requirements for receiving Brownlow Medal votes, for Bill Hutchison was as impeccably fair as he was brilliant.

Always a dangerous player near goal, Hutchison averaged nearly 2 goals a game over the course of his sixteen season, 290 game VFL career, during which he took part in no fewer than nine grand finals for five flags.  Despite his small stature, he managed to remain remarkably injury free, a tribute both to his speed of movement and adroitness of mind.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment of Hutchison's career was that, after he replaced Dick Reynolds as Essendon's captain in 1951 he was unable to emulate his predecessor by leading the club to a premiership.  Nevertheless, few players, either at Essendon or elsewhere, have enjoyed such illustrious careers at football's highest level.

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Brent Hutton (Swan Districts & West Coast)

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Recruited locally from Bassendean, Brent Hutton took a few seasons to find his feet at Swan Districts, and in truth was always somewhat prone to inconsistency, but his best was inspirational and highly effective.  He made his league debut in 1982, and spent his first couple of seasons alternating between attack and defence, as well as between the firsts and seconds.  Then, in 1984 he was tried at full forward, and promptly produced probably the best season of his career, kicking 83 goals to become only the third Swans player to top the league's goal kicking list.  He also got to play in a premiership team, contributing 5 goals to his side's 20.18 (138) to 15.12 (102) grand final victory over East Fremantle. In 1985, however, his form nosedived, and he spent much of the second half of the season playing in defence in an unsuccessful attempt to rediscover his confidence and touch.  Handed the club captaincy in 1987 following Don Langsford's departure to the newly formed West Coast Eagles, Hutton enjoyed another good season, highlighted by selection in Western Australia's team to face South Australia at the WACA Ground.  Starting on the interchange bench, he did well to boot 3 of his state's 9 goals for the match.  His improved 1987 form earned him a place on West Coast's list the following year, but he struggled to win a regular place in the team, and managed just 13 appearances and 9 goals in two seasons.  In the meantime, he continued his Swans career, which was highlighted in 1990 by participation in another grand final triumph, this time at the expense of Claremont.  In 1991 Brent Hutton was made a life member of the Swan Districts Football Club.  He retired in 1992, aged twenty-eight, having played 151 games for Swans and kicked 236 goals.

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Cliff Hutton (Northcote, Fitzroy, Richmond)

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Originally from Northcote, where he played during that club's early VFA seasons, Cliff Hutton proved a serviceable VFL player when he crossed to Fitzroy in 1911.  Tall and well built for his era at 188cm and 95.5kg, he played most of his 34 senior games during a two season stint with the Maroons as a ruckman.  In 1913 he moved to Richmond where he added a final half a dozen league games.

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Eric Huxtable (New Town, Carlton, South Melbourne)

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Dashing, elegant, and, from the perspective of at least one South Australian newspaper during the 1930s "untouchable", Eric Huxtable began his senior football career with New Town aged just fifteen, demonstrating right from the outset that he was a rare star in the making.  In 1928 he was the first ever recorded winner of New Town's best and fairest award, and two years later he succumbed to intense pressure from a number of VFL clubs by venturing across the Bass Strait and joining Carlton.

Affectionately known as 'Huxie', Huxtable was a firm favourite among the Carlton fans because of his stylish play and superb kicking.  In 1937 he took part in a strange international kicking competition featuring Australian footballers and gridiron players, winning the drop kick section with kicks of 67 yards with an Australian football and 65 yards with an American ball.

A regular VFL representative player, Huxtable was almost universally regarded as one of the finest defenders going around, and was one of very few players who could regularly be expected to outpoint Fitzroy's Haydn Bunton.  His career with Carlton lasted nine seasons, during which time he played 127 VFL games.  Somewhat tragically, however, he sustained a thumb injury during his final season with the Blues which kept him out of the team's winning grand final against Collingwood.

After leaving Carlton, Huxtable spent two years in the RAAF before resurfacing in league football at South Melbourne, which was being coached by his former Blues team mate Joe Kelly.  In 1941-2 Huxtable added a further 21 VFL games to his tally before retiring.

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Matthew Huxtable (West Adelaide)

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Although Matthew Huxtable only had a comparatively brief career at league level it was nevertheless quite a respectable one.  He made his SANFL debut with West Adelaide in 1921, and impressed so much that he was included in South Australia's carnival squad for Perth.  A solid, resolute, stay at home defender, he applied himself to the task of curtailing his immediate opponent's effectiveness with unswerving single-mindedness, and was rarely beaten.  When he retired in 1925 he had played a total of 67 league games, plus 2 for the state, without ever once troubling the scorers.

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Albert Hyde (Hawthorn & Preston)

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Strong overhead, pacy, and a superb kick, Bert Hyde was a key member of Hawthorn sides for the first decade of that club's involvement in the VFL.  For much of his career he played at full forward, in which position he represented the VFL, and topped the Mayblooms' goal kicking list in 1926-7-8-9-30.  In 1933 he made the shift to full back with stunning success, and once again earned interstate selection.  He crossed to VFA club Preston as captain-coach in 1936 and enjoyed an outstanding season, tying with Coburg's 'Peter' Reville for the Recorder Cup.  Returning to Hawthorn in 1938, Hyde commenced a long association with the club, initially as an official, and later as a talent scout.

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John Hyde (Geelong & Claremont)

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An extremely resolute and determined player, whose hyper-aggressiveness helped compensate for a lack of pace and flair, John Hyde was a key contributor, at centre half back, to Geelong's premiership wins of 1951 and 1952.   The sort of player who never took a sideways step, he was invariably at his best when the chips were down - an all too rare state of affairs at Kardinia Park during the early 1950s, admittedly, but an almost weekly occurrence at Hyde's next port of call, which was perennial WANFL under-achievers, Claremont.  In 1955, Hyde arrived at the West Australian Tigers in buoyant and optimistic frame of mind, having accepted a two year contract as captain-coach.   What he saw when he arrived must have been almost enough to make jump straight on the next train back to Melbourne.  To call Claremont's set-up ramshackle would be to understate the matter considerably.  Having come from a club which, by the standards of the time, was one of the most professionally run in the country, John Hyde was suddenly confronted by a set of players who turned up for training when it suited them, changed in a tin shed that was more akin to a lean-to, and celebrated matches in which they got to within half a dozen goals of top sides as though they were victories.  In two years at the club, Hyde could do little to turn things around, but he at least managed to infuse a certain sense of dignity and pride in performance in many of the players. 

Voted fairest and best in his debut season with Claremont, Hyde had earlier won Geelong's top award as well.  He played 108 games for the Cats between 1948 and 1954, and 37 in two seasons with Claremont.  He also represented Western Australia twice.

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Gordon Hynes (Geelong)

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Quick off the mark, clever, and blessed with impeccable disposal skills, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that Gordon Hynes did not achieve more during his seven season, 61 game VFL career with the Cats.  After starring in the centre in Geelong's 1962 thirds premiership team's victory over Richmond, Hynes' league career began promisingly enough.  Recruited from North Geelong, he made his league debut, aged 18, in the second round of the 1963 season against Essendon at Windy Hill, and went on to perform with eye catching efficiency for the remainder of the season, culminating in a 3 goal performance in the winning grand final against Hawthorn.  Thereafter, however, he displayed his best form only sporadically, with an eight week suspension for kicking at one point seriously undermining his confidence.

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