BIOGRAPHIES [M]

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

[Des Meagher]  [Paul Meakin]  [Peter Medhurst]  [Thomas Meehan]  [John Mehaffey]  [Ron Mellowship]  [Graham Melrose]  [Peter Menaglio]  [Mark Mercuri]  [Kevin Merifield]  [Leo Merrett]  [Roger Merrett]  [Thorold Merrett]  [Harvey Merrigan]  [Barry Metcalfe]  [Jack Metherell]  [Len Metherell]  [Peter Meuret]  [Chris Mew]  [Stephen Michael]  [Jim Michalanney]  [George Michalczyk]  [Mark Mickan]  [Russell Middlemiss]  [Paul Mifka]  [Geoff Miles]  [Bill 'Darky' Miller]  [Ian Miller]  [Les Millis]  [Kelvin Mills]  [Leonard Mills]  [Paddy Mills]  [Ray Mills]  [Ross Millson]  [Herbert Milne]  [William Milroy]  [Stan Milton]  [Graeme Minihan]  [Dan Minogue]  [Joe Misiti]  [Alex Mitchell]  [Barry Mitchell]  [Hugh Mitchell]  [Merv Mitchell]  [Michael Mitchell]  [Laurie Mithen]  [Frank Mockridge]  [Denis Modra]  [Tony Modra]  [Douglas Moffat]  [Dave Moffatt]  [Les Mogg]  [Bill Mohr]  [Stan Molan]  [Max Mollar]  [Derek Mollison]  [Graham Molloy]  [George 'Specka' Moloney]  [Syd Moloney]  [Brian Molony]  [Michael Moncrieff]  [Jack Monohan]  [Bruce Monteath]  [Allan Montgomery]  [Ken Montgomery]  [George Moodie]  [Kelvin Moore]  [Peter Moore]  [Roy Moore]  [Sonny Morey]  [Harry Morgan]  [Leo Morgan]  [Dan Moriarty]  [Jack Moriarty]  [Terry Moriarty]  [Bob Morrell]  [Bill Morris]  [Geoff Morris]  [Mel Morris]  [Peter Morris]  [Alby Morrison]  [Bruce Morrison]  [George Morrissey]  [Alan Morrow]  [Bill Morrow]  [Tom Morrow]  [Len 'Mother' Mortimer]  ['Bo' Morton]  [Noel Morton]  [Shane Morwood]  [Tony Morwood]  [William Mose]  [Graham Moss]  [Geof Motley]  [Peter Motley]  [Paul Mountain]  [Ernest Mucklow]  [Ray Mudie]  [Jack Mueller]  [Alan Muir]  [Ken Mulhall]  [Robin Mulholland]  [Angie Muller]  [Tom Mullooly]  [Brian Mulvihill]  [Les Mumme]  [Joe Murdoch]  [Max Murdy]  [David Murphy]  [Frank Murphy]  [John Murphy]  [John P. Murphy]  [Leonard Murphy]  [Bob Murray]  [Jack Murray]  [Kevin Murray]

Des Meagher (Hawthorn)

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Recruited by Hawthorn from Old Xaverians, Des Meagher made his VFL debut with the Hawks in 1966, and at the end of the season he was widely acclaimed as one of the best first year players in the competition.  Tall and slender, he could fill a variety of positions, but was best suited to the wing, which was where he made his interstate debut in 1967.  In the game against South Australia in Adelaide his outpointing of future champion Barrie Robran was heavily instrumental in setting up the Big V's eventual 6 point win.

Noted for his swiftness off the mark as well as his long, raking left foot kicks, Des Meagher was one of Hawthorn's best in the 1971 grand final defeat of St Kilda.  He enjoyed an excellent year in 1973 when he again made the state side, but after that his form fell away and he was only named as a reserve for the 1975 grand final, in which the Hawks went under to North Melbourne.

Meagher retired a year later after 199 VFL games.  He later coached Hawthorn's reserves.

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Paul Meakin (Mayne)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

A powerhouse Mayne ruckman who began a 200 game career as a sixteen year old, Paul Meakin short by ruck standards but was a most effective and fierce competitor, and a wonderful overhead mark. A dual premiership player in 1967 and 1973, he played 10 games for Queensland from 1968 to 1976, broken only by a one year stint at Coolamon in the Riverina. He was once lured to do a pre-season with Norths rugby league club but soon returned to Windsor Park.

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Peter Medhurst (West Perth & Central District)

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Peter Medhurst was one of a batch of half a dozen or so talented recruits who arrived at West Perth in 1958 as the club began to rebuild towards its next serious tilt at the premiership.  Two years later, with Medhurst starring as first rover, that rebuilding process was complete, and the Cardinals swept all before them in procuring their first flag since 1951.  For Medhurst, it was a stellar year, as not only did he contribute a fine performance and a couple of goals to the 17.13 (115) to 12.11 (83) grand final defeat of East Perth, he also won both the club's fairest and best award and its leading goal kicker trophy (with 68 goals).  He continued with the Cardinals until 1963, by which time he had played a total of 95 senior games.  He also represented Western Australia 3 times.  

The 1964 season saw him in South Australia, hoping to play for SANFL newcomer Central District, but clearance hassles delayed his debut for twelve months.  He eventually played 30 senior games in two seasons for the Bulldogs, booting 34 goals.

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Thomas Meehan (St Kilda, Fitzroy, Brighton)

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Terry Meehan was a tough, no frills defender who joined St Kilda from St Kilda YMCA and gave the club solid service in 72 VFL games between 1947 and 1952.  Most of those games were played at full back where he saw plenty of action in a team that had a woeful success rate of just 20.5% and finished last three times during his time with them.  In 1953 he crossed to Fitzroy and added 19 games in two seasons.  He finished his playing career with Brighton in the VFA.

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John Mehaffey (West Torrens)

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John Mehaffey was a dangerous forward for West Torrens who was the club's leading goal kicker in 1947 (39 goals), 1948 (62), 1949 (61) and 1950 (61).  He was a South Australian interstate representative 4 times.  Mehaffey was unfortunate in that he commenced his league career after Torrens won the 1945 premiership, and had retired by the time the side next went top in 1953.  He did, however, take part in the losing grand finals of 1948 against Norwood and 1949 against North Adelaide.

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Ron Mellowship (East Fremantle)

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Ron Mellowship had a dream start to his league career with East Fremantle when he played in winning grand final teams in his first two seasons.  Selected at full back in both the 1945 defeat of South Fremantle and the 1946 victory over West Perth, there was nothing flamboyant or spectacular about his play, but he could be relied on to do his job - which principally entailed keeping his direct opponent under close wraps - and do it well.  Mellowship spent five seasons with Old Easts, during which time he played a total of 88 senior games.  His last appearance for the club came in the 1949 1st semi final, when he was one of the best players on view in a narrow loss to arch rivals South Fremantle.

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Graham Melrose (East Fremantle, North Melbourne, Swan Districts)

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A tough and talented rover particularly noted for his accurate foot passing, Graham Melrose enjoyed a long and auspicious career at football's highest level.  He made his league debut with East Fremantle in 1967 at a time when Western Australia's most successful club was commencing a period of unprecedented under-achievement.  The cycle of failure was finally broken in 1974 under John Todd, with Graham Melrose very much at the forefront of affairs as he not only won his second fairest and best award in three years, but the Sandover Medal to boot.  He was also a key contributor to Old Easts' memorable 22 point grand final victory over Perth.  

Indisputably one of football's hottest properties at the time, the following season saw him embarking on a VFL career with North Melbourne, where, over the ensuing five years, he endured something of an emotional roller-coaster ride.  The undoubted nadir came in his very first season when he was forced to miss the Kangaroos' breakthrough VFL premiership win with a hand injury.  Tragically, he also missed participating in the club's follow up flag win against Collingwood two years later.  His best season was probably 1976 when he performed consistently well, culminating in a fine display in the losing grand final against Hawthorn.

The 1980 season saw Melrose back in his home state where he once again joined forces with his old mentor, John Todd, this time at Swan Districts.  Before retiring three seasons later he had the satisfaction of not only helping Swans to their first grand final triumph since 1963, but of winning the Simpson Medal for best afield as well.  Melrose played in the back lines in that 1982 premiership team, having migrated there under Todd's astute direction towards the end of what proved to be his final full season in football.

Graham Melrose played a total of 327 senior games comprised of 140 with Old Easts, 111 at North, 67 for Swans, and 9 interstate appearances for Western Australia.  At the turn of the century he was honoured with berths in both Swan Districts' official 'all time great team' and the official East Fremantle 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

In 1995 he embarked on a two year coaching stint with Swan Districts, steering his side to 8th and 5th place finishes.

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Peter Menaglio (West Perth)

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Recruited from Tuart Hill, Peter Menaglio made his West Perth debut in 1977 and went on to represent the club with great distinction in 234 senior games over more than a decade.  Exceptionally fast and skilful, he was the sort of player who could single-handedly dominate a match.  A triple club fairest and best winner, he was equally at home anywhere across centre or on a half forward flank.  He represented Western Australia 4 times.  When West Perth announced its official 'Team of the Century' during the 2000 season, Peter Menaglio was chosen at right centre wing.

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Mark Mercuri (Essendon)

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As a sublimely skilled half forward flanker or on-baller Mark Mercuri was a key factor in Essendon's success in both the early and late 1990s.  Hailing originally from Keilor Park, the same club as team mate Joe Misiti, he made his league debut in 1992, and was a member of the 'Baby Bombers' team that won the 1993 premiership.  In that year's grand final against Carlton he booted 3 goals from a half forward flank and was some people's choice as the best player afield, although the Norm Smith Medal went to Michael Long.  His career continued on an upward spiral in 1994 when he made his state of origin debut with the 'Big V', but over the next four seasons he experienced a horror run with injury, limiting both his appearances, and his effectiveness when selected.  In 1999 he recaptured his best form as the Bombers emerged as a force to be reckoned with once more.  Mercuri polled 22 Brownlow Medal votes that year to run second behind Hawthorn's Shane Crawford.  He also won Essendon's best and fairest award, and was chosen in the AFL All Australian team.  His good form continued during a 2000 season that culminated in his having 22 disposals during the grand final defeat of Melbourne, and he also played in the grand final loss to Brisbane a year later.  Recurring problems with injuries undermined his effectiveness after that, and it was no surprise when, after a frustrating 2004 season which saw him make just 9 league appearances, he elected to retire rather than struggle on.  He had played a total of 207 games and kicked 242 goals during his thirteen season AFL career, and at his peak was one of the most exhilarating players to watch in the game.

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Kevin Merifield (Subiaco)

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Kevin Merifield was a powerful, team-oriented player who could perform equally well in a variety of positions.  He was Subiaco's top goal kicker in 1966 with 27 goals, but played some of his best and most consistent football across half back, where his strong high marking came to the fore.  A Western Australian representative on 4 occasions, Merifield played 213 WANFL games for Subiaco between 1957 and 1968.  He was club captain in 1963 and 1965.

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Leo Merrett (Richmond)

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Wingman Leo Merrett made his league debut with Richmond as a twenty year old in 1940, and it was soon obvious that the Tigers had procured a footballer of rare quality.  Boasting exhilarating pace and fine all round skills, he was a star performer throughout the war years and beyond, and had played a total of 178 VFL games and kicked 53 goals by the time he retired in 1949.  In 1943 he was a key contributor to the Tigers' 5 point grand final victory over Essendon, having been arguably his side's best player in the previous season's loss against the same opposition.  He also played in the losing grand final of 1944 against Fitzroy.  Winner of Richmond's best and fairest award in 1942 and 1944, and a VFL interstate representative on 4 occasions, Merrett would presumably have been a strong contender for one of the wing positions in the Tigers' official 'Team of the Century', but the selectors, faced with an unenviable task in choosing between such an abundance of noteworthy players, plumped for Dick Clay and Francis Bourke.

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Roger Merrett (Essendon & Brisbane)

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Essendon utility Roger Merrett joined Brisbane prior to the start of the 1988 season, at the same time as flamboyant Sydney full forward Warwick Capper.  While most of the initial attention was focused on Capper, who was a proven crowd pleaser, and who, in 1987, had booted 103 goals for the year, it was to be Merrett who would go on to have far and away the greater impact at the Bears.  When he retired at the end of the 1996 season he held the club records for most games (164) and goals (285), and had been skipper for seven straight seasons.  However, it was for attributes not readily submitting to statistical analysis that he is probably best remembered.  A quintessential, archetypal on field leader, Merrett placed his body on the line for his team mates time and time again, and seldom can the expression 'leading from the front' have found a more appropriate or deserving target.

Merrett also gave good service to his first club, Essendon, but only after enduring an extended apprenticeship which saw him start 21 of his first 62 games for the club on the bench.  Once he established himself, however, he became a fulcrum for a Bomber attack which, in 1984 and 1985, was arguably the most potent in the history of the game up to that point.  Although not captain of his club, his leadership qualities were recognised in 1984 when he was chosen as captain of Victoria. 

Merrett's 149 VFL games in ten years at Essendon included the winning grand finals of 1984 (reviewed here) and 1985, both against Hawthorn, and gave him a career total of 313.  He also played numerous VFL reserves games while at Windy Hill, and in 1982 secured the slightly dubious honour of winning the Gardiner Medal for the best and fairest player at that level.  Most recipients of that award sink swiftly from public view without trace, but Merrett was the quintessential exception that proves the rule (see footnote 1).

Footnotes

1.  Tony Liberatore was another who broke the Gardiner Medal 'curse' in emphatic fashion; after being named best and fairest in the reserves not once, but twice, he went on to add a senior best and fairest - the 1990 Brownlow - to his collection.  Return to Main Text

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Thorold Merrett (Collingwood)

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Emphatically belying the fact that he looked rather more like an underfed schoolboy than a league footballer, Collingwood rover and wingman Thorold Merrett amassed 179 VFL games, 7 interstate appearances for the VFL, and two Copeland Trophies between 1950 and 1960.  What the mere statistics do not reveal, however, is the verve, aggression, courage, determination and, above all, consummate skill with which those achievements were laced.

Aged just sixteen, Merrett made his Collingwood debut in 1950 against Footscray, and a couple of years later made the first of his Big V appearances.  Standing just 168cm tall, and weighing barely 60kg, he was the smallest player on the field in virtually every game he played (as the above photograph starkly illustrates), and this, combined with his fearless attitude, made him extraordinarily susceptible to injury.  Nevertheless, he knew no other way to play the game than with dynamic, wholehearted zeal and aggression, and there was a sense in which, during the 1950s, he personified the Collingwood spirit better than any other player.

Renowned for his copybook kicking style, which was almost unfailingly accurate, Merrett was alleged to have spent hours as a youngster repeatedly stab passing a ball through an old car tire from various distances.  Such perfectionism was evidenced in other facets of his play, even down to the impeccable way in which he was always turned out.

A member of five Magpie grand final teams, the undoubted highlights of Merrett's career came in 1953 and 1958 when he helped his side to grand final victories over Geelong and Melbourne respectively.  Listed high in the best players after the 1953 game, he was a widespread choice as best afield after a typically energetic and scintillating performance five years later.

In 1960, aged twenty-seven, injury brought Merrett's career to an end after he broke his leg for the second time and it failed to knit cleanly.

Thorold Merrett was selected on a wing in Collingwood's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Harvey Merrigan (Fitzroy)

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There was nothing ostentatious or showy about Harvey Merrigan's football, but he was supremely effective and reliable.  A full back for most of his 197 game VFL career he was regarded as one of the hardest players to beat one on one in the competition.  He joined Fitzroy from Hampton Park and made his senior debut in 1969.  A club best and fairest winner in 1974, he captained the Lions in 1978, and represented Victoria 3 times.  Later in his career he was undermined by niggling injuries which eventually forced his retirement in 1981 when he was just 3 games adrift of the elusive 200 game benchmark.  In February 2002 Harvey Merrigan was selected on the interchange bench in Fitzroy's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Barry Metcalfe (Hawthorn, Mordialloc, Claremont)

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Barry Metcalfe commenced his league career at Hawthorn, but could only manage 1 senior game for the club, in 1957.  The following year saw him move to Mordialloc along with his former Hawks team mate Len Crane, who had assumed the coaching mantle at the club.  As often seems to happen when a player is confronted with a fresh challenge, Metcalfe rose to the occasion superbly.  Playing mainly as a wingman, he enjoyed a marvellous season, capped by selection to represent the VFA at the centenary Melbourne carnival.  Metcalfe's form during the carnival was excellent, and he was rewarded with an All Australian blazer, the only Mordialloc player to be so honoured.  After just one season with the Bloods Metcalfe headed west.  He did not play top level football in 1959, but in 1960 he threw in his lot with Claremont, where he played a total of 55 WANFL games.  He continued to perform consistently well, and was selected to represent Western Australia on 3 occasions.

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Jack Metherell (Geelong, North Hobart, Cooee)

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The name Jack Metherell continues to resonate powerfully in the minds of Tasmanian football supporters of a certain age four and a half decades and more after his greatest exploits.  Named in August 2000 as coach of North Hobart's official 'Team of the Century', Metherell oversaw premierships in 1938-9-40-41, 1945 and 1947, as well as state flags on four occasions.  Arguably his most auspicious achievement, however, was masterminding, at Launceston in 1960, the first ever win by a Tasmanian state side against the VFL.  Metherell's achievement appears all the more noteworthy when you consider that he had been away from coaching for several years prior to the game.

Originally from Perth, Metherell played initially for Subiaco juniors before heading to Victoria in 1932 where he joined his brother Len at Geelong.  Quick and agile despite his solid build - a Tasmanian journalist later remarked that he "handles his thirteen stone like an acrobat" - he gave the Cats excellent service, mainly as a half forward, in 65 VFL games over the next six seasons.  During that time he topped Geelong's goal kicking list on three occasions, and amassed the impressive tally, for a half forward specialist, of 221 goals.  His last game in the VFL was the 1937 grand final in which Geelong beat Collingwood, and in which Metherell, with 4 goals from a forward pocket, was one of the best players afield.

In 1938, Metherell was appointed captain-coach of North Hobart, but despite the best efforts on his behalf of Albert Ogilvie, the then Tasmanian premier, Geelong refused to clear him, and he was forced to coach from the sidelines.  As noted above, he did this with consummate success, and when he was able to take the field himself in 1939 the team's stocks rose still higher.  With 61 goals for the season, Metherell topped the TANFL's goal kicking list in 1939, a feat he duplicated in 1940-41.

The league went into mothballs because of the war in 1942, and when it resumed in 1945 it had been radically reorganised along district lines.  North Hobart was still there, however, as was Jack Metherell, who continued as both player and coach.  In 1946 he ventured north to take on the captain-coaching role at Cooee, but after just one season he was back 'home' at North Hobart, where he enjoyed one last year as a player before continuing as coach in an off-field capacity.

The lack of activity clearly bothered Metherell, however, for after just one season as non-playing coach he resigned in order to resume playing, albeit at a lower level, in the Southern Districts Football Association.  After that, and prior to his appointment as Tasmanian coach in 1960, he enjoyed a stint as a central umpire, which included officiating at several TANFL roster games.

As coach of Tasmania, he oversaw a total of five games, including those at the 1961 Brisbane carnival, for just one win.  However, it is doubtful if any win in the history of Tasmanian football has been so important, or so widely heralded, and as long as football is played the name of Jack Metherell should serve as a reminder that the most noteworthy exploits in the game do not uniquely manifest themselves at the so-called 'highest level'.

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Len Metherell (Subiaco & Geelong)

 

The older brother, by four years, of Jack Metherell, Len's senior football career began in 1927 with Subiaco.  Len was also 5cm taller than his brother, at 183cm, and on average about 12kg heavier, making him well suited physically to playing a supporting role in the ruck, which he did to good effect to Tom Outridge at Subiaco, and later to Arthur Coghlan at Geelong.  He was also a prolific goal kicker when resting up forward, and in his debut season he topped the Maroons' goal kicking list with 49 goals.  He also captured the headlines, playing as a full forward for a West Australian second team against Collingwood, when he booted 9 of his side's 12 goals for the match

Almost awesomely physically aggressive, Len Metherell had an oft-noted partiality for crashing his way through packs of players, with scant heed for his own or anyone else's safety.  Such a predilection made Metherell highly appealing in the eyes of a number of VFL clubs, and few people were surprised when, in 1930, after just 45 WAFL games, he joined the burgeoning ranks of West Australian émigrés to the perceived 'big time' of the VFL.  

In terms of player payments, compared to the WAFL the VFL truly was the 'big time', a factor that suddenly acquired enhanced importance as Australia, along with the rest of the Western world, was plunged into a dire economic depression.  Len Metherell's new football home was Geelong, and he would give the Cats fine service for the next seven years, during which time he would play 110 senior games, kick 117 goals, help the side to a 20 point win over Richmond in the 1931 grand final, and represent the VFL in the interstate arena once.  In addition to his renowned toughness, he was strong overhead, and was one of the first regular exponents of the drop punt (the kick which Jack Dyer is often wrongly purported to have 'invented') to play VFL football.

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Peter Meuret (Woodville & West Adelaide)

 

After failing to make the grade at Woodville where he managed just 5 league games in three seasons, few could have predicted how successful Peter Meuret would become after transferring to West Adelaide.  A classy forward in the Peter Daicos mould, he went on to play a total of 206 games with West between 1976 and 1986, kicking 303 goals which included totals of 36 in 1978 and 55 in 1986 to top the Bloods' list.  Often at his best in big games, Meuret was among the most conspicuous players on view when West downed Sturt by 34 points in the 1983 grand final.  Originally from Broken Hill, he played 3 games for South Australia.

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Chris Mew (Hawthorn)

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A solid, ultra-dependable defender who seldom lowered his colours, Chris Mew was a central figure in Hawthorn teams throughout the 1980s.  Recruited from Rosebud, he made his VFL debut in 1980, and went on to play a total of 230 senior games over the next thirteen seasons.  A member of Hawthorn premiership teams in 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1991, Mew did everything cleanly and with a minimum of fuss, meaning that some of his best work went comparatively unnoticed.  Nevertheless, his vital importance to the Hawk cause was officially recognised in 2003 when he was selected at centre half back in the club's 'Team of the Century'.

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Stephen Michael (South Fremantle & Boulder City)

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Stephen Michael had all the attributes of the complete footballer.  His strength and prodigious springing ability meant that he could compete on more than equal terms with opposition ruckman, while his pace, poise and consummate ball skills enabled him to beat virtually any opponent at ground level.  Added to these attributes was an astonishing consistency which saw him rarely fail to perform to standard.

Over eleven seasons with South Fremantle Stephen Michael played 243 games, and achieved virtually everything the game at the time had to offer.  Sandover Medallist in 1980 and 1981 he also won a Tassie Medal and five club fairest and best awards.  He was named in the 1983 All Australian team as captain, and was a prominent member of South Fremantle's 1980 premiership team.

Not surprisingly, Michael received a large number of offers to move to other clubs, with Geelong's approaches being especially persistent.  In an era when the concept of loyalty was increasingly being undermined by the influx into the game, for the first time, of appreciable sums of money, Michael stayed faithful to the Bulldogs throughout his career.

An injury sustained in a shooting accident in October 1983 was to impede Michael over the remaining two seasons of his WAFL career, as well as his single season with Boulder City in 1986, and the odd game he played while coaching Collie side Mines Rovers during the early nineties.  The best was over and, like another football great who resisted the overtures of VFL clubs, Barrie Robran, Michael's football career ended prematurely.  For half a dozen seasons though, there were few who could match him.

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Jim Michalanney (Norwood)

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Norwood's Rostrevor recruit Jim Michalanney gave the Redlegs solid service in 211 SANFL games between 1974 and 1986, during which time he booted 342 goals, whilst showing that he could perform equally effectively in key positions at either end of the ground.  Strong overhead, and a fine kick, he was at full back in Norwood's 1975, 1978 and 1982 premiership teams, and at centre half back in 1984.  He also topped the club's goal kicking list, with 67 goals, in 1976.  Michalanney, who boasted the unusual nickname of 'Piano' on account of his startlingly white teeth, played once for South Australia.  Michalanney's impact at the Parade was considerable, and he was a worthy inaugural inclusion in Norwood's official Hall of Fame.

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George Michalczyk (East Perth & West Perth)

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East Perth recruited George Michalczyk from Naramebeen and, over the course of 154 league games between 1974 to 1981, he developed into a first rate link man.  In 1982 he controversially crossed to West Perth but in a 54 game stint with the Falcons he was never able to recapture his best form more than fleetingly.  George Michalczyk played one state game for Western Australia.

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Mark Mickan (West Adelaide, Brisbane, Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens, Glenelg)

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Ruckman Mark Mickan joined West Adelaide from Renmark and made his SANFL debut in 1981.  He was a powerful, authoritative figure who won Bloods best and fairest awards in 1983, 1985 and 1986.  In 1983 he suffered a major disappointment when a torn posterior ligament in his right knee, sustained during the last minor round game of the season, forced him to miss a finals series that culminated in West's first premiership in twenty-two years.

Mickan was appointed West Adelaide skipper in 1986, but after only a year in the role he transferred to fledgling VFL club Brisbane, which ended up selecting him as its inaugural captain.  He captained the Bears for three seasons, and ended up playing a total of 48 games for the club between 1987 and 1990.  In 1991 he joined Adelaide, which like Brisbane four years earlier was making its competition debut, but after a fine start his form fell away, and he spent most of the 1993 season, his last as a contracted Crows player, back in the SANFL with West Adelaide, where he won a fourth club best and fairest award.  Mickan played a total of 37 AFL games for Adelaide, and 187 for Westies, where he continued playing until 1994.  He was a regular South Australian state of origin representative who achieved All Australian selection in 1988.

In 1998, four seasons after his retirement as a player, Mark Mickan was appointed non-playing coach of Woodville-West Torrens.  He spent two years in the post, steering the side to 6th and 3rd place finishes.

In October 2005 Mark Mickan was appointed senior coach of Glenelg on a three year contract.

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Russell Middlemiss (Geelong)

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Originally from Rokewood, Russell Middlemiss was a formidable defender who added a touch of steel to Geelong's scintillating 1951 and 1952 premiership combinations.  He debuted for the Cats in 1949, missed the 1950 season, and then was a regular in the side from 1951 until early in the 1955 season, amassing a total of 74 senior VFL games.  A half back flanker in the victorious 1951-2 grand final teams, his absence through injury from the 1953 play-off against Collingwood arguably contributed in some measure to Geelong's eventual 12 point loss. 

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Paul Mifka (West Perth & West Coast)

Paul Mifka was a great servant of the West Perth Football Club for whom he played 283 league games between 1984 and 1999. Strong overhead and with plenty of pace, he arrived at the Falcons from Balcatta and earned numerous plaudits during his debut season when he played for the most part as a wingman. After suffering from ‘second season blues’ to a certain degree he recovered in 1986 to the extent that he was included in West Coast’s inaugural VFL squad, but his career at that level was short-lived (just 1 game). The 1988 season brought his interstate debut for Western Australia at the bicentennial state of origin carnival in Adelaide.

Capable of playing in almost any position, it was as a defender that Paul Mifka spent most of his career, and probably produced his best football. He was on the last line of defence when West Perth overcame Subiaco in the 1995 grand final as well as in the 1999 flag decider against South Fremantle, which proved to be his last league game. A model of consistency throughout the 1990s, he claimed a Breckler Medal as club fairest and best in 1993, and was not far off the pace on another three occasions. His 4 interstate appearances for Western Australia comprised 3 at state of origin level plus a state league win over South Australia at Football Park in 1994.

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Geoff Miles (Collingwood, Claremont, West Coast, Geelong)

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Originally from Ivanhoe Amateurs, Geoff Miles was an adaptable footballer who combined a strong work ethic with exceptional defensive qualities, and who gave useful service to four league clubs.  He commenced with Collingwood in 1982 and was widely considered hard done by when delisted two years later after playing 31 senior games and kicking 7 goals, mainly as either a half back flanker or wingman.  In 1985 he crossed the country to Western Australia and joined Claremont, where he would go on to play a total of 73 games, culminating in the victorious grand final of 1991 against Subiaco.  Between 1987 and 1990 his WAFL career ran in tandem with a V/AFL career with West Coast, for whom he played 71 games and kicked 33 goals, whilst greatly enhancing his reputation as a highly dependable, strong leaping rebound defender.  At the end of a 1991 season in which he had been unable to break into the powerful Eagles line-up he was traded to Geelong where he promptly showed that he still had plenty to offer by giving the Cats some highly creditable service, playing 20 out of 26 matches in 1992, and booting 25 goals.  His last game was the 1992 grand final, in which the Cats succumbed to Miles' former club, West Coast, by 28 points.  During his time in Western Australia, Geoff Miles represented that state on 4 occasions.

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Bill Miller (Norwood & Sturt)

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One of the best forwards in South Australia during the early years of the twentieth century, Miller, who gloried in the nickname 'Darky', took on 'Bos' Daly's mantle when that player was compelled, because of the newly introduced electorate rule, to move to South Adelaide.  He went on to top Norwood's goal kicking list on seven consecutive occasions from his debut in 1899 to 1905.  He retired after the 1910 season, having also topped the league's list of goal scorers in 1901 and 1904 with 44 and 35 goals respectively.  In 1912 he resurfaced briefly with Sturt, where he added half a dozen league appearances to the unknown, but almost certainly three figure number he had managed with the Redlegs.  'Darky' Miller represented South Australia on 9 occasions, kicking 8 goals.

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Ian Miller (Perth, Fitzroy, East Perth)

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A classy, powerful footballer who could play in numerous positions, Ian Miller became one of the hottest properties in the game during 132 WANFL games in seven seasons at Perth which included a Sandover Medal in 1972, and All Australian selection the same year.  He was at centre half forward when the Demons beat East Perth in the 1968 WANFL grand final, and was among their better players on that 'one day' two years later when they lost to South Fremantle.  His status as one of Perth's favourite sons was confirmed in 1999 when he was chosen on a half forward flank in the club's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

In 1974, after well in excess of 100 WANFL games, Miller embraced a new challenge with Fitzroy in the VFL and, after a tentative start, went on to give the club fine service in 80 games over the next four seasons.  Strong, tenacious, and a fine kick, he was not afraid of 'mixing it', but also boasted plenty of skill.  After playing in numerous different positions for the Lions, he finally found his niche as a ruck-rover, in which position he was acknowledged as one of the best in the business.

Returning home to Western Australia in 1978, Miller joined Perth's arch rivals, East Perth.  As chance would have it, the two clubs ended up confronting one another in that year's grand final, with Miller capping a wonderful season by putting in a best afield performance to claim the Simpson Medal as the Royals edged home by 2 points (match reviewed here).  He stayed at East Perth for another couple of seasons, playing a total of 64 games, before retiring.  Undoubtedly one of the best all round players of his generation, Ian Miller's career record also included 15 interstate games for Western Australia. He was non-playing coach of Perth from 1982 until 1984.

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Les Millis (Fitzroy)

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Pacy, highly skilled, and extraordinarily consistent, Les Millis was a tremendously popular figure at Fitzroy where he played 126 VFL games between 1903 and 1909.  At his peak during the 'Roys back to back flag-winning years of 1904 and '05, he was among the best players afield as a wingman in the 1904 grand final defeat of Carlton, and as a rover a year later against Collingwood.  He won Fitzroy's best and fairest award in both 1905 and 1906.

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Kelvin Mills (Kedron)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Kelvin Mills was a high-flying and strong-marking Kedron centre half back who won three club best and fairest awards in a short career at the top level.  He won the 1970 Grogan Medal by eight votes, was runner-up in 1972, and folklore tells us he might have been a leading contender but for suspension in 1971 when the votes of players ineligible for the award were not disclosed.  Mills left the QAFL at the height of his career and played in a premiership side with Palm Beach on the Gold Coast in 1973. He played 6 games for Queensland.

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Leonard Mills (West Torrens, New Town, St Kilda, Hawthorn)

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At 202cm (see footnote 1) Leonard Mills was far and away the tallest league footballer of his day, and indeed remains one of the tallest men ever to play the game at the highest level.  Known as 'Booby' for the bulk of his career, which was spent with West Torrens, he was regarded as well nigh unbeatable in straight ruck contests, and was also a fine mark and good kick.  He was a key contributor to Torrens' breakthrough premiership in 1924, having earlier that year represented South Australia at the Hobart carnival.  All told, he represented his state on 6 occasions, kicking 5 goals.  Mills spent the 1926 season playing for New Town in Tasmania, where his immense height created great stir.  He then returned to West Torrens, but in 1929, aged thirty-one, and well past his best, he crossed to St Kilda in the VFL.  Once again his arrival was greeted with great acclaim, but being constantly in the public spotlight adversely affected his confidence, and he managed just a couple of unimpressive senior games for the year.  Known, with crass predictability, as 'Tiny' during his time in Victoria, Mills transferred to Hawthorn in 1930 and managed 8 games for the season, kicking 17 goals, before allegedly disappearing without trace.

Footnotes

1.  This was Mills' height according to contemporary sources such as the 'SA Footballer'  Other sources suggest heights varying between 200cm and 203cm.  Return to Main Text

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Paddy Mills (Melbourne & Carlton)

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Paddy Mills gave excellent service to Melbourne, mainly across the half back  line, in 80 VFL games between 1903 and 1909.  He then spent two seasons playing in Bendigo before resuming his VFL career with Carlton in 1912, going on to play another 20 senior games in two years.  In 1913, Mills played in the VFL for Carlton on Saturdays, and on Wednesday afternoons captain-coached Rochester in its debut season in the Goulburn Valley District Football Association.

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Ray Mills (Perth)

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Ray Mills was a livewire half forward flanker or wingman who in some ways was almost a prototype of the modern AFL footballer.  Explosively quick - coach Mal Atwell regarded him as the fastest sprinter at the club - aggressive, assured and well balanced, he made a key contribution to Perth's premiership wins in 1966-7-8.  His kicking was excellent, whether over long or short distances, and he was sufficiently accomplished overhead to hold down centre half forward on occasion.  Between 1962 and 1969 he played a total of 110 league games.  He also made 4 interstate match appearances for Western Australia. 

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Ross Millson (Perth)

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A skilful all round footballer, and more robust than his 180cm, 70.5kg frame would lead you to expect, Ross Millson was hampered to a fair extent by injury but still gave Perth commendable service in 103 league games between 1967 and 1974.  At the end of his debut season he played on a half forward flank in the 18.12 (120) to 15.12 (102) grand final win over East Perth, and in the following year's play-off against the same opponent was among his side's best players as a wingman.  Strong overhead, a useful right foot kick, and very elusive, Millson played 3 interstate games for Western Australia, and might well have played more had he not fallen foul of injury so often.

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Herbert Milne (Fitzroy & South Melbourne)

 

Popularly known as 'Boxer', Herbert Milne was a champion follower renowned for his energy, athleticism and guile.  He was at Fitzroy from 1902 to 1910, during which time he played 122 VFL games and kicked 69 goals, and was a dual winner of the club's best and fairest award.  A VFL representative, he played in the inaugural Australasian championship series in Melbourne in 1908.  Crossing to South Melbourne in 1911 he added a further 31 games and 14 goals, playing some of the finest football of his career until a knee injury, sustained against Essendon in the losing grand final of 1912, forced his retirement.

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William Milroy (North Melbourne & Carlton)

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Bill Milroy joined North Melbourne from Terang and made his senior VFL debut for the club in 1950.  He struggled to establish himself, however, and early the following season was cleared to Carlton.  Although never quite in the very top bracket as a player, he gave the Blues commendable service, mainly as a knock ruckman, in 90 league games over the better part of six seasons.  His tally of 50 goals during that time affords evidence that he was a useful player while resting in the forward lines.  A combination of immense determination, doggedness and energy helped compensate to a large extent for any skill deficiencies.

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Stan Milton (Paddington, East Sydney, Eastern Suburbs)

 

Originally from Victoria, Stan Milton developed into one of Sydney football's greatest ever full forwards, a fact recognised in 2003 when he was chosen as one of ten inaugural inductees into the Sydney AFL Hall of Fame.  Arriving in Sydney as a seventeen year old in 1919, Milton joined Paddington, where he played for four years.  In the premiership year of 1922 he  topped the league's goal kicking list with 52 goals.  Paddington had also won flags in 1919 and 1920 during Milton's initial time with the club.  After spending the 1923 season with East Sydney, he resumed with Paddington in 1924, topping the league goal kicking ladder again that year (which yielded another premiership) and the next.  In 1926 Paddington and East Sydney combined to form the Eastern Suburbs Football Club, and it is probable, although unlikely ever to be confirmed because of incomplete records, that Stan Milton was the league's leading goal kicker that year as well.  He may also have been the competition's top goal kicker in 1920, when once again records were not meticulously maintained.  He certainly headed the league list in 1927 and 1933, and was indisputably the leading full forward in the competition of his day.

In 26 games for New South Wales, Milton amassed the highly impressive tally of 151 goals at an average of 5.8 per game.  He also managed the quite astounding feat of kicking 10 goals for Eastern Suburbs in a match against Geelong in 1927 when opposed by legendary full back 'Jocka' Todd.  Towards the end of his playing career, Milton simultaneously served as Eastern Suburbs' secretary.

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Graeme Minihan (St Kilda & Mordialloc)

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Graeme (the spelling on the above illustration is incorrect) Minihan's VFL career with St Kilda was only brief (78 games and 38 goals from 1953-9), but for a brief time during the mid-1950s he was unquestionably one of the most exciting footballers in the land.  Exhilarating to watch when in full flight, he played most of his football, both for the Saints and the VFL, on the wing.  In 1960 he crossed to VFA side Mordialloc where he finished his senior career.

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Dan Minogue (Collingwood, Richmond, Hawthorn, New Town, Carlton, St Kilda, Fitzroy)

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Reviled at Collingwood, and revered at Richmond, Dan Minogue enjoyed, and at times enjoyed, one of the most colourfully eventful VFL careers of the twentieth century.

Originally from Bendigo, Minogue joined Collingwood in 1911.  During that year's grand final against Essendon he performed heroically after sustaining a broken collar bone in the opening minute, but he was unable to prevent the Magpies losing by a goal.  When Collingwood next contested a grand final four years later, Minogue had consolidated his reputation as an inspirationally courageous player, and was in his second season as club skipper.  Unfortunately for Minogue, the Woods lost on this occasion also, going under to Carlton by 33 points.  Minogue skippered Collingwood again in 1916, after which he departed to Europe with the AIF. 

After returning from war service in 1919 Minogue stunned Collingwood club officials by requesting a clearance to Richmond for reasons which were never publicly disclosed, but are widely believed to have revolved around Minogue's dissatisfaction over Collingwood's treatment of his close friend Jim Sadler, who after a long and illustrious career had been struggling to get a senior game.  Minogue eventually got his way, but he had to stand out of football for twelve months before doing so. 

While in London during the war, Minogue had participated in an exhibition match arranged by popular Richmond ruckman Hugh James, and the friendship which had arisen between the two men was undoubtedly instrumental in steering Minogue towards Punt Road.  Once his clearance was ratified, Richmond promptly poured oil on the fire by appointing Minogue as its captain-coach for the season ahead; the intense loathing which exists between supporters of the Collingwood and Richmond Football Clubs almost certainly has its origins in this sequence of events.

Always an inspirational character, Minogue also demonstrated a shrewdness and a tactical aptitude which made him an outstanding success as a coach.  In his first two seasons in charge, he took the Tigers to consecutive flags, their first in the VFL.  He led from the front too, fitting in wherever he was most needed, and almost invariably performing well.

After six seasons as captain-coach of the Tigers, Minogue clambered onto a coaching merry-go-round which took in Hawthorn (1926-7), New Town (1928), Carlton (1929-34), St Kilda (1935-7) and Fitzroy (1940-42).  He came closest to repeating his Richmond accomplishments with the Blues, whom he steered to the finals in five out of his six seasons at the helm, as well as to a highly creditable overall success rate of 72.6%, but the ultimate success of a premiership eluded him.  

In a VFL career which lasted more than three decades, Dan Minogue was involved in 448 games of football: 85 as a player with Collingwood; 94 as playing coach and 11 as non-playing coach (while injured) with Richmond; 1 as playing coach and 37 as non-playing coach of Hawthorn; and the remaining 220 as coach in a non-playing capacity with Carlton, St Kilda and Fitzroy.  His feat in coaching five different VFL clubs remains a record.

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Joe Misiti (Essendon)

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A prodigiously talented footballer whose foot passing in particular was a delight to behold, 'Smokin' Joe' Misiti was an integral component in the Essendon machine for well over a decade.  Recruited from Keilor Park, he made his AFL debut in 1992, and the following year was a member of the 'Baby Bombers' team that thrashed Carlton in the grand final.  He lost his way for a time after that, putting on a considerable amount of weight, and losing form, but he got the bit between his teeth again in 1995 and went on to put in a series of excellent seasons culminating in a fine display in the 2000 grand final win over Melbourne.  At the end of the 2001 season it looked for a time as though salary cap restrictions would force the Dons to off-load their champion on-baller, but a way out of the dilemma was found, and he carried on at the club for a further three seasons.  When he retired in 2004 he had played a total of 236 games, and booted 94 goals.  His best season was probably 1997 when he ran second in the club's best and fairest award.

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Alex Mitchell (South Melbourne)

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Extremely solidly built at 180cm and 92.5kg, South Melbourne follower and forward Alex Mitchell was a formidable on-field presence.  Described as brilliant overhead, as well as extremely courageous and determined, his kicking was substandard to begin with, but under the astute coaching of Roy Cazaly it improved considerably.  Originally from Rosedale, Mitchell played 56 VFL games and kicked 34 goals for the southerners between 1936 and 1940 and in 1943.  Away from football he was a useful wrestler.

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Barry Mitchell (Sydney, Collingwood, Carlton, Box Hill)

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Barry Mitchell was an abundantly talented rover who made light of an apparent lack of pace to be one of the highest possession gatherers in the V/AFL.  His ground skills were exceptional, and there were few hardier players.  His use of the ball, once he obtained it, was first rate, and he was extremely dangerous near goal.  Between 1984 and 1992 he played 170 games for Sydney, kicking 214 goals.  His best season was 1991 when he won the Swans' best and fairest award and was selected in the AFL All Australian team.  In 1993 he was traded to Collingwood in a big money deal, but failed to find his best form.  After 13 games and 8 goals he was on the move again, this time to Carlton, where from 1994 to 1996 he added a final 38 games and 25 goals, without ever really recapturing the consistently high level of performance he had shown with the Swans.

In October 2007 Barry Mitchell was appointed to the senior coaching post at VFL club Box Hill.

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Hugh Mitchell (Essendon & Dandenong)

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After arriving at Essendon from Moonee Imperials in 1953, Hugh Mitchell's auspicious form during a handful of games for the Thirds saw him fast-tracked straight to the seniors, where, other than when injured, he remained for the rest of his fourteen and a half season VFL career.  A clever, elusive ruck-rover, he played a total of 224 games and kicked 301 goals for the Dons, and during his peak years of 1959 to 1962 he was an automatic interstate selection for the VFL, playing a total of half a dozen games and booting 13 goals.  He won the Bombers' best and fairest award in 1959, while tallies of 51 goals in 1955, 33 in 1961, and 32 in 1964 were good enough to earn him the club's leading goal kicker trophies for those years.  After playing in the losing grand finals of 1957 and 1959, both against Melbourne, he was close to best afield as the Bombers swept aside the challenge of Carlton in the 1962 premiership decider.  Three years later he was again a noteworthy contributor as St Kilda was vanquished on grand final day to the tune of 35 points.

Midway through the 1967 season Mitchell crossed to VFA club Dandenong which, with Mitchell starring in his customary role as a ruck-rover, ended up winning that year's 1st division flag courtesy of a tempestuous 25 point grand final defeat of Port Melbourne.  Although he only spent a couple of seasons with the Redlegs, he was nevertheless accorded the honour of selection in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.  

After coaching Eltham to a premiership in 1969 Mitchell returned to Dandenong as non-playing coach in 1970, steering the side to a 1st division premiership in the second of his three season stint at the helm.  He later served briefly as a junior coach back at Essendon, and was coach of Carlton reserves in 1976 and 1977.

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Merv Mitchell (North Launceston)

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Merv Mitchell enjoyed a comparatively brief but noteworthy playing career with North Launceston, playing 142 NTFA games between 1945 and 1953, including membership of five consecutive grand final teams.  He joined the Robins from the Railway Football Club in the Patriotic Association, and quickly stamped himself as a centre half forward of the highest quality.  A regular NTFA representative player, he played for Tasmania at the 1950 Brisbane carnival.  His best season was probably 1947, when he won his club's best and fairest award, and topped the NTFA goal kicking list with 87 goals.  He won a second best and fairest trophy in 1949, a season which also saw him boot 14 goals in a roster match against Longford.  Never one to take a backward step, Mitchell was once suspended for six months after an altercation with former Carlton strongman Bob Chitty, who was then playing for Scottsdale.

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Michael Mitchell (Claremont & Richmond)

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Although diminutive in stature at just 173cm and 66kg, Michael Mitchell was probably renowned above all else for his spectacular aerial ability, a legacy of his prodigious leap and great timing.  He also had blistering pace, particularly over the vital first five metres, and kicked many fine goals on the run.  Originally from Carnarvon, he made his WAFL debut with Claremont in 1982, and two years later shared the Sandover Medal with team mate Steve Malaxos and East Perth's Peter Spencer.  He made the first of an eventual 8 interstate appearances for Western Australia in 1983, and was named an All Australian in 1985 and 1986.  In 1987, after 88 WAFL games, he crossed to Richmond where, over the next five seasons, he played 81 games and booted 103 goals, earning a reputation in the process as one of the most exhilarating players to watch in the VFL.  A serious head injury sustained in a practice match in 1990 undermined his effectiveness thereafter and after struggling on for another couple of seasons he announced his retirement.

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Laurie Mithen (Melbourne & Port Melbourne)

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As resilient as he was skilful, Melbourne's Laurie Mithen had few peers as a centreman throughout his 153 game, 108 goal VFL career which began in 1954 and ended nine seasons later.  Originally from Ormond, he won the J.N. Woodrow Medal as best and fairest in the VAFA's A Grade competition in 1953.  During his time in the VFL with Melbourne time he won two club best and fairest awards, was a member of premiership teams in 1955-6-7 and 1959-60, and was a regular 'Big V' representative.  Transferring to Port Melbourne as captain-coach in 1953 he added another 52 senior games in three seasons and, in 1964, led the side to a Division One grand final win over arch rival Williamstown.

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Frank Mockridge (Geelong)

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Frank Mockridge was a solid, unspectacular but eminently reliable footballer who occupied a number of different roles during the course of his seven season VFL career with Geelong.  Best known as a defender, he also produced good football when thrown onto the ball, especially if a negating function was called for.  He joined Geelong from Chilwell, and made his league debut as a twenty-one year old in the round 10 clash with South Melbourne at Corio Oval in 1925.  Later that season, the Cats broke through for their first flag for thirty-nine years when they overcame Collingwood in the challenge final, but Mockridge had yet to fully establish himself, and failed to achieve selection.  When Geelong next reached the decisive match of the season, against Richmond in 1931, Frank Mockridge's best days as a player were behind him, but despite having made just 7 senior appearances for the year he earned a place on the bench, and ended the afternoon as a premiership player despite never actually taking the field.  It was the last time Mockridge ever wore a Cats jumper as he retired after the match, having played a total of 72 VFL games and kicked 2 goals.

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Denis Modra (Norwood)

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One of the quickest players of his time, wingman Denis Modra gave Norwood 142 games of sterling service between 1960 and 1970.  His tally of games would have been much higher had he not been such a frequent victim of injury.  A sure ball handler and a probing kick, Modra was perhaps unfortunate never to have been selected to represent South Australia.  He was one of Norwood's best against West Adelaide in the losing grand final of 1961 (reviewed here).  For a time during the mid-sixties, Modra combined with Peter Vertudaches to give the Redlegs arguably the best pair of wingmen in the SANFL.

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Tony Modra (West Adelaide, Adelaide, Fremantle)

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Arguably no footballer of recent times has attracted a comparable level of adulation to that enjoyed by Tony Modra during his stint with Adelaide between 1992 and 1998.  Blond-haired, good looking, and occupying the glamour position of full forward, he was 'Godra' to thousands of Crows supporters, particularly those of the younger generation for whom he was often the primary reason for their interest in football.  

Modra commenced his senior career with West Adelaide where he played 15 SANFL games and kicked 46 goals between 1988 and 1991.  With the Crows he initially took a back seat to his fellow full forward Scott Hodges, but in 1993 he came into his own, playing an exhilarating and often spectacular brand of football that saw him amass 129 goals to head the league list.  There is little doubt that had he elected to run for premier of South Australia at this point he would have won in a landslide.  Over the next few seasons, Modra's achievements diminished somewhat, although he did head the Crows' goal kicking list every year from 1994 to 1997.  In 1997, in fact, he won the Coleman Medal, and earned AFL All Australian selection for the second time (the first having been in 1993), but his season ended in heartache when, after injuring his knee during the preliminary final win over the Western Bulldogs, he was unable to recover in time for the following week's grand final against St Kilda, which the Crows won.  All told, Modra played 118 AFL games during his career with the Crows, kicking 440 goals.

From 1999 to 2001 Tony Modra played 47 games and kicked 148 goals for Fremantle in a much less highly publicised but nevertheless creditable concluding phase to his AFL career.  At his best, he combined almost unmatched aerial ability with lightning reflexes at ground level, and was without doubt one of the most exciting players of his generation to watch.  Unfortunately, however, Modra's best was produced too sporadically for him to be accorded a place among the genuinely great full forwards of history.

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Douglas Moffat (South Adelaide & Perth)

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Doug Moffat commenced his league career with a brief but impressive stint at South Adelaide, a club which was on the wane, before transferring to a fast improving Perth side in 1907.  A highly adaptable, energetic and swift moving player, he was centreman in the Redlegs' inaugural premiership team in 1907.  He could also play, with equal effectiveness, in the backlines, on a  wing, or as a rover.  In 1911, his final league season, he was still producing consistently high quality football, and was selected in Western Australia's squad for the Adelaide carnival.  However, he ended up not playing a game.

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Dave Moffatt (Richmond)

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Dave Moffatt was a kind of prototype Jack Dyer, who thrilled Richmond supporters, and terrorised opponents, in 95 VFL games between 1912 and 1920 (with a gap for war service in 1918).  Like Dyer, he was rough, tough, courageous and relentless.  However, unlike the greatest Tiger of them all, Moffatt occasionally became so consumed by 'white line fever' that he ceased to function in the best interests of the team.  Opposition fans delighted in venting their anger at him, and the press came to be roundly critical of his unswervingly antagonistic approach.  On one occasion, Moffatt conceded three free kicks inside the opening four minutes of a game, much to the delight of many spectators who believed that umpires were sometimes remiss in penalising bad behaviour. 

When the mood took him, Moffatt was capable of playing excellent football, and when he applied his 110 or so kilos of weight intelligently and legally he became an awesome influence.  His last ever VFL game, the 1920 grand final, brought arguably his most effective and significant performance: partnering his captain Dan Minogue in the ruck, Moffatt used both fair means and foul to eradicate almost completely the impact of Collingwood's normally highly influential ruckman Les 'Flapper' Hughes.  The Collingwood supporters were incensed, but Moffatt's contribution was crucial to his team's eventual 17 point win.

Said to be thoroughly sick and tired of the constant harping criticism from the press, Dave Moffatt retired after the 1920 grand final. 

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Les Mogg (North Melbourne)

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Lightly built but tenacious and fleet-footed, North Melbourne's Les Mogg was a key member of the powerful combination which topped the VFL ladder in 1949, and reached a grand final the following year.  Recruited from St Pat's Ballarat, he played most of his 75 senior games between 1949 and 1954, including the aforementioned grand final, on a wing, but was also a useful crumbing forward, booting a total of 41 league goals.

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Bill Mohr (St Kilda)

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Recruited from Wagga as a half back flanker Bill Mohr was converted by his VFL club St Kilda into one of the greatest full forwards of the 1930s.  The fact that he was selected to represent the VFL state team on 18 occasions during an era when his contemporaries in the position included such luminaries as Gordon Coventry (Collingwood), Bob Pratt (South Melbourne), Jack Titus (Richmond), Ron Todd (Collingwood) and Harry Vallence (Carlton) is perhaps his single most eloquent commendation.  A sound mark as well as a lithe, skilful ground player the real secret of Mohr's success as a goalsneak lay in his kicking, which was almost unfailingly accurate from distances of up to 60 metres.  Perhaps surprisingly, where possible he favoured the drop kick, of which he was arguably one of the game's most classical ever exponents.

In his 12 season, 195 game career with the Saints Bill Mohr amassed 736 goals, topping the VFL list (with 101, which comprised more than a third of St Kilda's total score for the year) in 1936.  He was also St Kilda's top goalkicker in every season bar his last, and won the club best and fairest award twice.

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Stan Molan (Fitzroy)

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One of the key figures in Fitzroy's upset challenge final victory over Collingwood in 1922, Stan Molan gave the Roys sterling service, mainly as a defender, in 111 games between 1918 and 1924.  Strongly built, fearless, a superb kick, and excellent overhead, he could also take a turn in the ruck, and, when the opportunity arose, knew how to kick a goal.  He represented the VFL on four occasions, and might easily have achieved more had the war not delayed his entry to league football.

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Max Mollar (St Kilda)

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Originally from Camden in the Federal Football League, Max Mollar gave St Kilda solid service, mainly as a defender, in 82 VFL games between 1950 and 1955.  He kicked 5 goals.  In 1954, he represented the VFL on a half back flank, a position in which he excelled during the later stages of his career.  Earlier, he had played many fine games in the back pocket.

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Derek Mollison (Melbourne)

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Derek Mollison joined Melbourne from Melbourne Grammar and between 1923 and 1925 was a key player for the club, performing well in a variety of key positions as well as on the ball.  He achieved VFL interstate representation in 1925, but after that his form fell away and he managed only 17 senior games over the next three seasons to take his final tally of VFL appearances to 66.  He booted 30 goals.  Sadly, when Melbourne broke through for a long overdue flag with a challenge final win over Collingwood in 1926, there was no place for Mollison in the team.  He later tragically lost his life during World War Two.

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Graham Molloy (Norwood & Melbourne)

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Like his fellow winner, Peter Eakins of Western Australia, South Australia's Graham Molloy probably reached his peak as a footballer in 1969.  Indeed, in Molloy's case, that peak was probably even more confined, comprising just the two or three months prior to, and the eight day period of, the '69 carnival itself.  Afterwards, Molloy, who moved from Norwood to Melbourne in 1970, was only sporadically the same player as the one who thrilled the record crowds at Adelaide Oval during the carnival.

Equally at home on the ball or across half forward, Molloy's pièce de résistance was his phenomenal leaping ability, which time after time enabled him to soar above even the densest of packs, as often as not coming back to earth cradling the leather in his arms.  A left footer, his pinpoint kicking to position, sometimes over prodigious distances, was another noteworthy feature of his game.  Less conspicuous but equally significant was the fact that "he provided an infusion of 'devil' with his vigour and willingness to 'go through' regardless of bruises" (see footnote 1).

Persistent niggling injuries limited Molloy's effectiveness as well as the number of his appearances after his move to Melbourne and he managed only 68 VFL games in six seasons before moving to VAFA club, Ringwood, as coach in 1976.

Footnotes

1.  South Australian Football Record Yearbook 1970, page 17.  Return to Main Text

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George Moloney (Claremont-Cottesloe/Claremont & Geelong)

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Whereas in modern football versatility on the part of players is regarded almost as a pre-requisite, in days gone by it was very much the exception rather than the rule.  The idiosyncrasies of each playing position were felt to be so distinctive and unique that the overwhelming majority of players tended to be specialists, concentrating on mastering a single position.  A major reason for this was that, to a coach like Jock McHale or Jack Worrall, football tended to be perceived in terms of a multiplicity of individual contests - full back versus full forward, wingman versus wingman, and so forth - with the concomitant desirability of players remaining in position in order to facilitate such contests.  In the eyes of Jock McHale, players who wandered out of position were committing football's cardinal sin - and given that the game at the time was centered on kicking, with handball being predominantly (although not exclusively) used defensively, such a view made eminent sense.

In this context, mastery by a single player of more than one position required immeasurably more versatility than would be the case nowadays.  In a real sense, a full forward and a centreman were playing different games, and while the same player might make a decent stab at playing both positions, it was rare indeed to find an individual capable of mastering both, of being both a champion full forward and a champion centreman.

One such individual was George 'Specka' Moloney who, two games from the end of the 1927 season, made his WAFL debut with Claremont-Cottesloe, which was playing in only its second league season.  In return for this privilege, Moloney had to pay 10 shillings club membership, make his own way to the ground on public transport, and pay an admission fee at the turnstiles.  His match fee?  Nothing more nor less than the warm glow of inner satisfaction gleaned from participating in top level football, coupled with multifarious bumps, bruises and cuts courtesy of the opposition.

Given such incentives, what could George Moloney possibly do but come back for more?  The following week, in a sign of things to come, he was best afield, thereby securing a place in the team for 1928, and the longer that 1928 season went on, the clearer it became that Claremont-Cottesloe had unearthed a future champion.  Playing mainly at full forward, he was quick, elusive, strong overhead (despite being only 174cm in height), and a deadly kick for goal, whether from a set shot, or in open play, with some of his snap shots being of the jaw-droppingly spectacular kind.  Moloney topped the club's goal kicking list in 1928 with 56 goals, and the following season saw him lift his performance level still further.  On 10 August 1929 he made his interstate debut for Western Australia at Perth Oval and booted 3 goals in a 5 point win over South Australia.  He went on to top Claremont-Cottesloe's goal kicking once more, this time with 61 goals, and the following year did better still, booting 78 goals for his club, and starring, with 19 goals in 5 games, for Western Australia at the Adelaide carnival.  

Moloney's prowess in Adelaide did not go unnoticed as he was approached by officials from Geelong, who wanted him to transfer to their club in 1931.  Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, a clearance was granted with a minimum of fuss, and in the opening two rounds of the 1931 season George Moloney took the VFL by storm with bags of 7 and 12 goals against Collingwood and St Kilda respectively.  He went on to tally 74 goals for the season, topping the Cats' list, but more importantly, after just over three years at under-achieving Claremont-Cottesloe, he got to play in a premiership side as Geelong beat Richmond in the grand final by 20 points.

Geelong missed the finals in 1932, but Moloney enjoyed a spectacular year, winning his club's best and fairest award and finishing as top goal kicker in the VFL with 109 goals.  He thereby became the first Geelong player to 'top the ton'.

Moloney was an important player for Geelong in 88 games over five seasons.  During his last VFL year, coach Percy Parratt, whether on a hunch or because he had spotted something significant in Moloney's style of play, ventured the apparently audacious experiment of playing him as a centreman, where he proved a revelation. Returning home to Claremont (see footnote 1) in 1936, he continued in the centre with devastating effect, winning both the Sandover Medal and club fairest and best award.  Moreover, Claremont enjoyed easily their best league season to date, not only qualifying for the finals for the first time, but actually making it to the grand final before losing narrowly to East Perth.

George Moloney carried on at Claremont until 1945 (with a break for the war from 1942-4), reverting to his former position of full forward in 1939, and kicking more than a century of goals in 1940-41.  He was a key player, and captain, in Claremont's ground-breaking premiership wins of 1938-39-40.  All told, he played a total of 190 WA(N)FL games, some of them alongside brothers Robert (103 games 1930-36) and Syd (145 games 1934-41).

Arguably the greatest name in the history of the Claremont Football Club, and certainly one of the most uniquely versatile champions ever to have adorned the game, George 'Specka' Moloney rounded off his association with the Tigers by coaching them, sadly without success, from 1948 to 1951.  

Footnotes

1.  The word 'Cottesloe' had been dropped from the club's name the previous year.  Return to Main Text

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Syd Moloney (Claremont-Cottesloe/Claremont)

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Syd Moloney was the youngest of three footballing brothers to represent the Claremont Football Club during the 1930s.  Shorter in stature than either George or Bob, he was a dependable rather than brilliant footballer who could undertake a variety of roles in a team which improved steadily during the course of his 145 game senior career that ran from 1934 to 1941.  At one stage he put in a club record 91 consecutive senior appearances, but the run came to an end when he injured an ankle in the 1940 preliminary final win over East Fremantle.  Tragically for Moloney, this meant he missed the grand final clash with South Fremantle, which the 'Monts duly won to give them three premiership triumphs in succession.  Needless to say, Syd Moloney's 91 games in a row had included both the 1938 and 1939 grand finals. 

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Brian Molony (Carlton & St Kilda)

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Memorably nicknamed 'Muncher', Brian Molony (the 'e' in the name on the above illustration is an error) was a solid, unspectacular but reliably effective ruckman for Carlton (26 VFL games from 1952 to 1955) and St Kilda (41 games, 1956-8).  He later gave a great deal back to the sport he loved as an administrator in country football.

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Michael Moncrieff (Hawthorn)

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Michael Moncrieff was a tall, rangy full forward who had the unenviable task of following in Peter Hudson's footsteps at Hawthorn.  He did this to commendable effect, topping the Hawks' goal kicking list five times, and amassing 629 goals in 224 VFL games between 1971 and 1983.  His best season was 1976 when he booted 94 goals.  A Hawthorn premiership player in 1976 and 1978, Moncrieff was a Victorian representative on three occasions.  He crossed to St Kilda in 1984 but before he had played a senior game he injured a knee and was forced to retire.

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Jack Monohan (Collingwood)

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Jack Monohan was a brilliant follower or defender who was renowned for his superb aerial ability.  One of the few players capable of matching it with Albert 'the Great' Thurgood, Monohan was controversially omitted from Collingwood's 1901 grand final line-up against Essendon, whereupon Thurgood gleefully cut loose with a near best afield performance as the Same Old ran away with a comfortable win.  The Magpies never thereafter made the mistake of dropping Monohan, and he repaid them with consistently brilliant performances for the remainder of his 234 game career, which had begun when Collingwood was still in the VFA, and finished at the end of the 1907 season.

If Monohan had a weakness it was that his kicking tended to be erratic, but even this improved towards the end of his career making him virtually the consummate footballer.

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Bruce Monteath (South Fremantle & Richmond)

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South Fremantle recruited Bruce Monteath from Cockburn and he made his WANFL debut in 1972.  A talented, strong marking ruck-rover, half forward or forward pocket, he was a key player for the Bulldogs for three seasons, winning a fairest and best award in 1974.  In 1975 he crossed to Richmond where he performed creditably, topping the club's goal kicking list in 1978 with 55 goals, and captaining the side to a premiership in 1980.  Monteath was actually suffering from an ankle injury at the time of the 1980 grand final, but his team mates lobbied for him to be included in the side; because of the injury, however, he spent most of his time on the interchange bench.

In 1981, after 118 VFL games and 198 goals for the Tigers Monteath returned home to South Fremantle.  Still a damaging player, he carried on for another three seasons, which were highlighted by a close to best afield performance in the losing grand final of 1981 against Claremont.

Bruce Monteath played half a dozen interstate games for Western Australia during his career, earning All Australian selection after the 1979 Perth state of origin carnival.

He spent the 1987 and 1988 seasons as senior coach of South Fremantle but was unable to get the side above 5th place on the ladder.

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Allan Montgomery (Perth & Carlton)

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Allan Montgomery was an excellent key position player who made his WANFL debut with Perth in 1979.  In 1982 he joined Carlton where he played 32 VFL games over the course of the ensuing four seasons before returning to the west to complete his league career with Perth.  Quite tall at 188cm and strongly built (87kg) he was not easily brushed aside, and was a strong overhead mark.

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Ken Montgomery (North Melbourne)

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In an era when it was becoming taken for granted that players would represent more than one club during the course of their careers, Ken Montgomery remained loyal to North Melbourne throughout his fourteen seasons in the game.  He endured his share of ups and downs during that time, including missing the Kangas' first VFL flag win in 1975, but overall his service to the club was impeccable, as exemplified by his 1972 best and fairest award win.  A hard working and extremely effective half back flanker for much of his career, Montgomery was among the 'Roos' best players in both the 1977 drawn grand final against Collingwood, and the following week's victory.  He also played in the losing grand finals of 1974 against Richmond and 1978 against Hawthorn.  When he commenced his league career in 1968 North had been a league chopping block for many years, and would remain so until the arrival of Ron Barassi as coach in 1973.  By the end of Ken Montgomery's 189 game league career in 1981, however, the 'Roos had been among the VFL's pace setters for almost a decade.

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George Moodie (Melbourne)

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One of the key members of Melbourne's early VFL sides, George Moodie played the ruck shepherd role to perfection.  Powerfully built and not afraid to use his weight, Moodie was also an extremely intelligent footballer, and calm under pressure.  In 1900 he teamed especially well with fellow ruckman Harry 'Vic' Cumberland and livewire Tasmanian rover Fred McGinis as the Redlegs upset the expectations of most pundits to take out the flag.  Three times a Big V representative, Moodie retired after the 1905 season having played close to 200 games for his club, 134 of them in the VFL.

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Kelvin Moore (Hawthorn)

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Recruited by Hawthorn from Frankston Peninsula, Kelvin Moore began his football life at the top level in 1970 as a centre half forward, but before long he had been shifted to full back, where over the ensuing fifteen seasons he would establish himself as arguably the finest exponent of that position in the VFL.  Strong in the air, quick, and blessed with tremendous anticipation skills, Moore always seemed to be on top of the situation, and was consistency personified.  He was many people's choice as best afield in Hawthorn's winning grand final against St Kilda in 1971, and also made sterling contributions to the premiership victories of 1976 and 1978.  A Victorian or VFL representative on 13 occasions, he won an All Australian blazer in 1979, the same year that saw him land the Hawks' best and fairest award.  Moore, who played precisely 300 VFL games between 1970 and 1984, was chosen as the full back in Hawthorn's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Peter Moore (Collingwood & Melbourne)

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Like his predecessor as Collingwood's premier ruckman, Len Thompson, Peter Moore combined prodigious height (198cm) with tremendous dynamism, athleticism and all round skill - in football terms, a highly effective, not to say lethal, combination.  He made his Magpies debut in 1974 and went on to play a total of 172 VFL games and boot 192 goals for the club over the course of the ensuing nine seasons, earning a Brownlow Medal in 1979, and securing the club's best and fairest award both that year and the next.  He also won Collingwood's top goal kicking award on two occasions, and was selected as an All Australian player in 1979.  Between 1982 and 1987 Moore added another 77 games and 51 goals for Melbourne, overcoming the injuries that had dogged him late in his Collingwood career to the extent that he procured a second Brownlow Medal in 1984.  Injuries returned to undermine his last few years with the Demons, but overall he gave the club tremendous service, and his rare feat in annexing Brownlows at two separate clubs ensures that he will long be remembered as one of football's bona fide 'immortals'.

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Roy Moore (South Melbourne)

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A consistently useful performer, mainly as a forward, during his first five seasons in the VFL with South Melbourne, Roy Moore's effectiveness was later undermined by a niggling and persistent leg injury.  At the end of his first league season in 1935 he deputised for Bob Pratt at full forward in the grand final against Collingwood.  However, he had a quiet day, managed just 2 goals, and the Blood-Stained Angels went under by 20 points.  Moore's 66 senior games in seven years at South also included an appearance, in a forward pocket, in the losing grand final of 1936, once again against Collingwood.  His career tally of 144 goals included a club list-topping total of 34 in 1938.  Originally from Bendigo, he was an excellent overhead mark, and a fine exponent of the torpedo punt.  He represented the VFL against the VFA.

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Sonny Morey (Central District)

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A member of Central District's first ever league team in 1964, Sonny Morey had the distinction of being the first Bulldog player to win a kick; when he retired thirteen seasons later at the end of a 213 game senior career he was the last remaining link with that original side.

Recruited from Gawler, Morey was initially used mainly as a wingman.  Later in his career he was transformed by coach Dennis Jones into a back pocket player of the highest order.  He represented South Australia 4 times in that position, and was selected there in the club's official 'Best Team 1964 to 2003'.

Morey, an outstanding clubman who was always an inspiration to his team mates, won Central District's best and fairest player award in 1970.

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Harry Morgan (Subiaco, South Melbourne, Footscray, Carlton, West Adelaide)

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Subiaco recruited Harry Morgan locally, and he went on to become a lynch-pin in the club's great pre-World War One sides.  Initially used mainly across half back, he won a trophy donated by a club patron in 1910, his second season, for 'the player of the year'.  Strong overhead, a fine kick, and extremely elusive, he later developed into a centreman of the highest calibre, in which position he starred when the Maroons won their first ever league premiership in 1912 thanks to a 5.8 (38) to 4.5 (29) challenge final defeat of East Fremantle.  When the club went back to back the following year, beating Perth in the challenge final by 2 goals, Harry Morgan was a sterling contributor from a half back flank.  In 1914 he transferred to the VFL with South Melbourne where he proved a valuable acquisition.  He was a member of the red and whites' losing challenge final team against Carlton in 1914, and topped the club's goal kicking list with 48 goals in 1915 and 23 when South resumed in 1917 after a one year hiatus because of the war.  After playing 60 VFL games and booting precisely 100 goals with the southerners, Morgan crossed to Footscray in the VFA in 1919 and was instrumental in the club's winning that year's premiership courtesy of an 8.17 (65) to 6.7 (43) challenge final victory over North Melbourne.  The 1920 season found him back for one final season with Subiaco, taking his final tally of games with that club to 82, followed by 10 VFL games and 27 goals with Carlton in 1921, and 5 games and 12 goals in the SANFL with West Adelaide in 1922, making him an extremely widely travelled footballers even by the standards of a generation when the movement of players between the states was arguably at an all time high.  Although he never played full scale state football, Harry Morgan did represent Western Australia twice against visiting interstate club sides.

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Leo Morgan (Collingwood)

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At just 169cm and 58kg, Leo Morgan was one of the smallest VFL players of his era.  Between 1933 and 1941 he played 82 games and kicked 7 goals for Collingwood, whom he joined from local side Abbotsford.  Extremely pacy and resilient, he played the vast majority of his games, including the winning grand finals of 1935 and 1936 against South Melbourne, as a wingman.  Despite his lack of centimetres, he was competent overhead, while his kicking was both penetrative and accurate.

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Dan Moriarty (South Adelaide)

 

Dan Moriarty was an unlikely football hero. Unable to secure a regular game with anyone until he was twenty years of age he went on to become one of the greatest defenders in football history. Playing chiefly at centre half back, a position for which, at 178cm and 76 kilos, he would be considered much too small and lightweight nowadays, he excelled both in stymieing opponents and in generating attacking thrusts. Despite his lack of centimetres he was a superb aerialist, combining a gargantuan leap with formidably strong hands that seldom relinquished control of the ball once claimed. On the ground his play was characterised by excellent anticipation – a factor which he himself regarded as the single most significant reason for his success – and a resolute, single-minded decisiveness which more than made up for any alleged deficiency in pace.

Sadly, Dan Moriarty’s football career was all too brief. Prevented by the onset of the Great War from making his league debut with South Adelaide until he was in his twenty-fourth year he graced the football scene in South Australia for a mere seven seasons and fewer than 100 games. A measure of his greatness is that he was selected in every single South Australian interstate team to take the field during the first six years of his career, a total of 22 consecutive games. 

Although team success continually eluded him, Dan Moriarty’s individual achievements – most famously his three consecutive Magarey Medals in 1919-20-21 – remain the stuff of legend.  His selection at centre half back in South's official 'Greatest Team' was, presumably, almost automatic.

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Jack Moriarty (Essendon Association, Essendon, Fitzroy)

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After starting his senior career at Essendon Association, for whom he booted 35 goals in 1921, full forward Jack Moriarty made his league debut with Essendon in 1922.  Despite standing only 178cm in height, and weighing a mere 59kg, he proved to be a handy acquisition, kicking 36 goals in just 13 games to top the Dons' list.  Somewhat surprisingly, however, he was dropped for the 1922 preliminary final in favour of George Stockdale, and in the remainder of his time at Essendon he never managed to recapture his place in the senior side.

The 1924 season saw Moriarty at Fitzroy where, using a combination of pace, guile and superb anticipation skills, he rapidly developed into a goalsneak par excellence.  In each of his first three matches with the Maroons he booted 7 goals, en route to a new VFL season's record of 82 - 14 more than the previous record which had, somewhat ironically, been established by Moriarty's replacement at Essendon, Greg Stockdale, in 1923.

Moriarty represented the VFL at the Hobart carnival in 1924, and went on to become virtually a permanent fixture in Big V sides for most of the next decade.  He topped Fitzroy's goal kicking list ever year between 1924 and 1933 except for 1929, and was voted the club's best and fairest player in 1927 during an era when an award of this type was not made every season.  All told, he booted 672 goals in his 170 game VFL career at an average of almost 4 per game.  In February 2002 he was allocated the coveted full forward position in Fitzroy's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Terry Moriarty (Perth)

 

Terry Moriarty made his WANFL debut for Perth in 1942, the first season in which, because of the war, participation in the competition was restricted to players aged under eighteen.  Moriarty, however, was like a man among boys; he won the Redlegs' fairest and best trophy in his debut season, a success he repeated the following year as well as winning the Sandover Medal.  Despite the age restrictions under which the league operated between 1942 and 1944, all records and achievements from those years are officially accorded equivalent status to records and achievements from the WANFL's open age seasons.  In Terry Moriarty's case, this means that the league appearances which he made during the war are officially deemed to contribute to his club record tally of 253 games, the last of which was played in 1958.

When full scale senior football resumed in 1945, Moriarty slotted into the team like a veteran, and was a key contributor to Perth's consistently high level of performance over the ensuing decade.  Tough, relentless and assured, he was one of the premier half back flankers in Western Australia, and was chosen to represent the state on 9 occasions, including games at the 1950 Brisbane carnival.  When the Redlegs reached their first grand final in thirty-two years in 1949, Terry Moriarty put in a superb performance to be close to best afield, but could not prevent his side from going under to West Perth by 30 points.  The following year saw him playing in another losing grand final as Perth succumbed by the heart-breaking margin of a single straight kick to South Fremantle.  In 1955, however, everything came right, as, with Moriarty performing with trademark dependability on his half back flank,  the Redlegs finally procured that elusive premiership with a stirring, come from behind grand final defeat of East Fremantle in legendary ruckman 'Big Merv' McIntosh's final game (reviewed here).  

As one of the most noteworthy West Australian defenders of the 1940s and 1950s, Terry Moriarty might be considered a touch unlucky not to have achieved selection in Perth's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.  He was undoubtedly a bona fide great of the club, however.

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Bob Morrell (West Torrens)

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The career of West Torrens ruckman Bob Morrell was frequently short-circuited by injury, but when fit his best was as good as that of any other big man in the game.  Between 1955 and 1964 he managed to play just 104 SANFL games, kicking 60 goals.  He won West Torrens' best and fairest award in 1960, despite missing 6 of his club's 18 minor round matches with a thigh injury.  He represented South Australia in the interstate sphere on 9 occasions, booting 4 goals.  For much of his career Bob Morrell was probably the most mobile knock ruckman in South Australia, and this, coupled with his formidable pace, great strength and prodigious spring, made him quite awesome to watch when in full flight.

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Bill Morris (Richmond & Box Hill)

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During World War Two, Bill Morris joined Melbourne, but after just one game in the reserves he joined the army.  Shortly afterwards, he was lured to Richmond by Jack Dyer, where he made a handful of senior VFL appearances in 1942 and again two years later.  In 1945, he played his first full league season, and immediately stamped himself as a performer of considerable class and poise, winning the Tigers' best and fairest award, and representing the VFL against South Australia in Adelaide.  From then until his retirement at the end of the 1951 season he was a virtual ever present in VFL interstate teams, earning a reputation in the process as arguably the finest knock ruckman in the game at the time.  Despite often frustrating his coach, Jack Dyer, by an apparent propensity for picking up minor injuries on the training track, once let loose on a Saturday afternoon he was unstoppable, treating the welter of cuts and bruises that were an inevitable by product of his status as the opposition's 'public enemy number one' with blithe indifference. 

Renowned for his impeccable fairness, Morris inevitably garnered more than his fair share of Brownlow votes, winning the award in 1948, and finishing second two years later.  He also won Richmond's top award on three occasions.

After captaining the Tigers in his final two seasons in the VFL Morris captain-coached Box Hill in the VFA from 1952 to 1954, during which time the team showed steady improvement.  Morris continued to give good service as a player, and in 1954 was the club's top goal kicker, and fifth on the VFA list, with 57 goals  In 1960, aged thirty-eight, Bill Morris tragically ended his own life.

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Geoff Morris (West Adelaide & Wanderers)

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Tough, courageous, and hard at the ball, but always impeccably fair, Geoff Morris was a leading light at West Adelaide for fourteen seasons, during which time he played 220 SANFL games.  That total would have been considerably higher had his fearlessly aggressive style of play not given rise to so many injuries.  During the course of his career he suffered a broken leg, broken jaw and broken wrist, plus numerous soft tissue injuries, forcing him to miss roughly 80 games.  

Born in Mt Gambier, Morris moved to Adelaide with his family in 1966, and played his early football at Plympton High and with West's junior grades.  He made his league debut in 1973 as a wingman, and played in either that position or on a half forward flank for the bulk of his career.  In 1979 he starred at centre wing for South Australia during the Perth state of origin carnival, and was rewarded with All Australian selection.  Four years later came the highlight of his career when he was close to best afield in Westies' 21.16 (142) to 16.12 (108) grand final win over Sturt.

In January 1985, aged thirty, Morris was badly burned in an accident on his motor boat, and although he made a number of league appearances from off the bench in both 1985 and 1986, he never played a full game for West again.  It was a sad and immensely frustrating end to a fine career which also entailed a spell playing for Wanderers in the Darwin competition.

In 1994 Geoff Morris returned to the Bloods as non-playing coach, steering the side to 8th and 5th place finishes in his two seasons in charge.

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Mel Morris (Richmond & Brunswick)

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Mel Morris was a fine player for Richmond in various positions during 89 VFL games between 1921 and 1926, kicking 148 goals.  He was in the centre when the Tigers beat Carlton by 4 points in the 1921 grand final.  He headed Richmond's goal kicking ladder in 1924 with 44 goals and in 1925 with 25.  Quick, skilful and an extremely smooth ball handler, Morris played interstate football for the VFL on 3 occasions.  In 1926 he captain-coached the Tigers to 9 wins and 9 losses for 7th place on the ladder.  He was appointed captain-coach of Brunswick in 1928, but retired after sustaining an injury in the team's first match of the year. Mel Morris hailed from amateur club Elsternwick, where his equally talented brother Les played with distinction for well over a decade.

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Peter Morris (Richmond)

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Richmond recruited Peter Morris from Dandenong in 1955, three years before the Redlegs were admitted to the VFA, and he gave the Tigers sterling service in a variety of positions over the ensuing half a dozen seasons.  Quick, clever and highly team orientated, he played a total of 89 VFL games and booted 103 goals.

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Albert Morrison (Footscray & Preston)

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Were it not for his almost constant willingness to sacrifice his own game in the interests of his team, Alby Morrison might be remembered today as one of the bona fide all time greats of the game.  As it was, he was still an excellent player, perfectly balanced, and boasting all the skills, as well as sufficiently versatile to handle virtually any position on the ground.

Recruited from Spotswood, Morrison - popularly known as 'Boy' - made his Footscray debut in 1928, and went on to represent the club 224 times in three separate stints.  The first, and longest, lasted from 1928-38, during which time he won club best and fairest awards in 1933 and 1936, and topped the club's goal kicking on five occasions.  He also represented the VFL in 1929-30, 1933, 1935 and 1937-8.

In 1939-40, Morrison captain-coached VFA side Preston, but was unable to get the side into the finals.  He did, however, top the club's goal kicking list in both seasons, with tallies of 33 and 72 goals.  He returned to Footscray in 1941-2 before embarking on military service for the remainder of the war.  In 1946, at the age of thirty-seven, he lined up with Footscray for one last season.

Between 1948 and 1954, Morrison served as captain-coach of Sorrento, finally retiring, aged forty-five, after the club's victorious 1954 grand final.  Meanwhile, at the MCG on the very same afternoon, Footscray broke through for its first ever VFL pennant by downing Melbourne.

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Bruce Morrison (Geelong)

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Dogged, resolute and indefatigable, Bruce Morrison was the quintessential full back, and one of the finest defenders in Geelong's history.  Recruited from Bairnsdale, he made an immediate impact, winning the Cats' best and fairest award in his debut season, and earning interstate selection the following year.  For much of his career he formed an irrepressible back line partnership with the legendary Bernie Smith in which both players developed an almost faultless ability to provide cover for one another when it was most required.

Strong overhead, with a particularly effective spoiling technique, Morrison also displayed tremendous litheness at ground level, with his trademark sideways sprint frequently enabling him to skirt trouble.  He was a superb drop kick, and his judgement of the flight of the ball was impeccable.

Bruce Morrison played a total of 130 VFL games for Geelong between 1948 and 1954, all of them on the last line of defence.  (He never once troubled the scorers.)  He was a member of successive premiership teams in 1951-2 and was many observers' choice as best afield in the former year.  

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George Morrissey (Ballarat, St Kilda, North Hobart, East Perth)

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Renowned for his uncompromising aggression and toughness, George Morrissey began his senior career with Ballarat, where it soon became obvious that he was a VFL player in the making.  In 1907 he transferred to St Kilda and, playing mainly in the forward lines, was instrumental in the club making the VFL finals for the first time.  After four seasons with the Saints he crossed to Tasmania where he was appointed as North Hobart's first official coach.  He spent most of his time with the Robins playing as a ruckman, and he also represented Tasmania in that position at the Adelaide carnival.  In 1912 he returned to St Kilda but soon landed himself in hot water when he was reported for abusing an umpire; he received a hefty suspension, but was back in time to play a prominent role in the Saints' 1913 finals campaign which culminated in a 13 point challenge final loss to Fitzroy.  After playing 93 VFL games and kicking 64 goals for St Kilda Morrissey headed to Western Australia in 1914 where he finished his league career with a dozen games for East Perth spread over the next three seasons.

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Alan Morrow (St Kilda & Dandenong)

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Alan Morrow's importance to St Kilda was starkly demonstrated over two consecutive grand finals.  In 1965, against Essendon, Morrow sustained a broken foot seventeen minutes into the second term and had to be replaced.  At the time, the Saints were in the ascendancy, but they ended up losing by 35 points, after Morrow's direct opponent Brian Sampson cut loose to be best on ground.  In the following season's grand final against Collingwood Morrow was a vital contributor to the Saints' historic 1 point win (reviewed here).  It proved to be the last of his 163 VFL games for the club in a career stretching back to 1957 during which he also booted 151 goals.  In 1960, 1964 and 1964 he was chosen to play interstate football for the VFL.

In 1967, he assumed the role of captain-coach at Dandenong in the VFA 1st division, and had the immediate satisfaction of steering his side to a flag.  After one of the toughest, most tempestuous VFA grand finals on record the Redlegs edged out Port Melbourne by 25 points after scores had been close virtually all day.  Alan Morrow was, by popular consent, the most influential player on view.  He continued to captain-coach Dandenong for two more seasons, with his final game coming in the losing grand final of 1969 against Preston.

Neither tall nor heavily built for a ruckman at 189cm and 83kg, Morrow succeeded because of his enormous strength of will and appetite for a contest.  During his time in the VFL there were few tougher or more hard working footballers, and if team mates such as Darel Baldock, Ian Stewart and 'Big Carl' Ditterich tended to harvest most of the attention and kudos, in the final wash-up there was no one more integral to the Saints' success than Alan Morrow.

In, Morrow was included on the interchange bench in St Kilda's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century', while two years later he was selected as captain-coach of Dandenong's equivalent combination.

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Bill Morrow (Prahran & Melbourne)

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After spending the 1945 season with the club's seconds, Bill Morrow made his senior VFA debut for Prahran as a seventeen year old in the following year.  A tall, strong marking, aggressively dynamic footballer, he played most of his 167 games for the Two Blues as a centre half forward.  The undoubted highlight of his career came in 1951 when he helped his side to a 9 point grand final triumph over Port Melbourne giving Prahran its first flag since 1937, and only its second ever.

Morrow spent the 1953 season with Melbourne where he played 6 senior VFL games and kicked 4 goals.  He resumed with the Two Blues in 1954 and continued playing until the end of the 1957 season.  A VFA representative player against South Australia in Adelaide in 1951, Bill Morrow was Prahran's leading goal kicker the following season with 36 goals.  In 2003 he was named as centre half forward in the Two Blues' official 'Team of the Century'.

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Tom Morrow (Geelong)

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Tall and strongly built but exceptionally mobile, Tom Morrow joined Geelong from local side North Geelong, and made his senior VFL debut in the opening round of the 1946 season against Melbourne at Punt Road.  He was an extremely canny footballer who combined formidable overhead strength with good ground skills and the ability to kick both long and accurately with his favoured left foot.  Used mainly as a ruckman, he could also do a more than serviceable job at centre half back.  Morrow captained the Cats for part of the 1949 season, and was first ruckman in their 1951 premiership team.  He played interstate football for the VFL twice, kicking 3 goals.  When he retired towards the end of the 1952 season he had donned the famous navy and white hooped jumper on 120 occasions and booted 58 goals.

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Len Mortimer (Williamstown & South Melbourne)

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Despite being lumbered with the questionable nickname 'Mother', Len Mortimer was a formidable presence on the forward lines of first Williamstown, and later South Melbourne during the early years of the twentieth century.

In 1905, his last season with the Villagers, Mortimer booted 48 goals to top the VFA list, and in 153 games with South between 1906 and 1915 he bagged an overall tally of 289 goals.  A key member of the southerners' 1909 flag-winning side, Mortimer was the club's top goal kicker in each of his first seven seasons in the VFL.

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Parker 'Bo' Morton (Sturt)

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Sturt's Parker 'Bo' Morton (see footnote 1) was one of several top quality full forwards to emerge in South Australian football during the 1930s, and while he was by no means the most prolific in front of goal, he was arguably the most talented all round footballer of the lot.  Three times a Sturt best and fairest award winner, he was capable of playing in several positions away from the goalfront, which undoubtedly reduced his goal tallies on occasions.  He kicked a total of 561 goals in his 138 game league career, which began in 1930, and ended after he had captain-coached the Blues to the 1940 flag.  He also booted 9 goals in half a dozen interstate appearances for South Australia.  Despite his prowess in front of the sticks he never once topped the SANFL's goal kicking ladder, although he was Sturt's leading goal kicker on half a dozen occasions.  In his final season he bagged 101 goals to 'top the ton' for the first time in his career, but North Adelaide's Ken Farmer managed 125 to leave Morton in his wake.

In the face, one imagines, of stern opposition from the likes of Malcolm Greenslade, Ken Whelan and Malcolm 'Emmy' Jones, 'Bo' Morton gained the full forward spot in Sturt's official 'Team of the Century'.

Footnotes

1.  In contemporary press match reports, Morton's nickname was sometimes incorrectly rendered 'Beau'.  Return to Main Text

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Noel Morton (Claremont)

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A tough, no nonsense defender or ruck-rover who attacked the ball vigorously and with considerable effectiveness, Noel Morton gave sterling service to the Claremont Football Club in 171 games between 1979 and 1988.  One of the Tigers' best in their 1981 grand final defeat of South Fremantle, he captained the side in 1984-5.  By no means the most glamorous member of Claremont's star-studded 1980s line-up, Morton nevertheless almost invariably used the ball effectively, and was a key player in the coaching plans of first, Graham Moss, and secondly Gerard Neesham.

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Shane Morwood (South Melbourne & Collingwood)

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Shane Morwood made his VFL debut with South Melbourne in 1981 but when the club relocated to Sydney at the end of the 1982 season he refused to move and was cleared to Collingwood.  Over time he developed into a fine, aggressive, rebounding defender who could run all day and boasted excellent all round skills.  He represented Victoria in 1988, 1989 and 1990, and was a key member of the Magpies' 1990 premiership team.  He played a total of 195 league games for Collingwood to add to the 17 he had managed with the Swans.  Brothers Paul and Tony also played V/AFL football.

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Tony Morwood (South Melbourne/Sydney)

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Tony Morwood was an accomplished all round footballer who was capable of the odd flash of match-winning brilliance.  Slimly built, he was excellent overhead, and possessed plenty of pace.  Much of his football was played on a half forward flank, where he displayed a keen goal sense, topping the Swans' goal kicking list with 56 goals in 1979 and 45 in 1982.  When South Melbourne moved to Sydney in 1982 Morwood happily relocated to the Harbor City and continued to play consistently fine football for another eight seasons.  All told, he played 229 VFL games and kicked 397 goals between 1978 and 1989, besides representing Victoria.  He was chosen on a half forward flank in the Swans' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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William Mose (East Perth)

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Bill Mose is best remembered for an outstanding 1958 season during which his 115 goals from full forward made a significant contribution to his club, East Perth's, eventual premiership win.  Mose had also played at full forward in the premiership team of 1956.  Between 1952 and 1959 he played 123 senior games for the Royals, kicking 205 goals.  He also represented Western Australia 4 times, including a couple of games at the 1958 Melbourne carnival.

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Graham Moss (Claremont & Essendon)

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Graham Moss made his Claremont debut in April 1969, a month before his 19th birthday.  He lined up in a back pocket against West Perth, which was coached at the time by one of the greatest ruckmen in the history of the game, and a player Moss lionised, Graham 'Polly' Farmer.  Over the ensuing decade and a half, Moss would carve out a reputation for himself that bore healthy comparison with that of his hero.

It was not long before Moss was moved from the back pocket onto the ball, and it immediately became clear that the Tigers had been blessed with a player of prodigious all round talent.  A superb knock ruckman, he was equally impressive around the ground, both aerially, and in the packs.  In 1970, he made the first of an eventual 23 interstate appearances for West Australia; called into the team after the sandgropers had suffered an embarrassing defeat against Tasmania, he combined well with fellow ruckmen Graham Farmer and Bill Dempsey to help his state to a hard fought 4 point win over South Australia at Subiaco Oval.

After helping Claremont reach the 1972 grand final, which resulted in a 15 point loss to East Perth, Moss joined the rapidly growing exodus of top players to Victoria when he signed for Essendon.  His four season stint with the Bombers only served to confirm what football fans west of the Nullarbor already knew: that Graham Moss was one of the finest big men in the game.  Runner-up in the Brownlow Medal in his debut season, Moss landed the award in his last; he also represented the VFL on 5 occasions, and won the Bombers' top individual award in 1974-5-6.  At the end of the 1976 season, however, he felt that Essendon "did not seem to be going anywhere" (see footnote 1), and accepted an offer from Claremont to return home as the club's captain-coach.

Moss' first couple of seasons as coach convinced him "that I could not continue a professional career and coach at the same time" (see footnote 2).  Accordingly, he gave up his job as an engineer, went into real estate to supplement his income, and devoted himself full time to his coaching duties.  Claremont's fortunes promptly revived, and, after failing to qualify for the previous six finals series, the side participated in the next six, winning a premiership in 1981, and finishing runner-up in '82 and '83.

On the field, Moss continued to play as well as ever, winning Claremont's fairest and best award in 1977-8-9-80, and continuing to represent West Australia with distinction.  Frequently described as 'a gentle giant', he was certainly not shy of 'mixing it' if the need arose, as the above photo, with Moss at left, appears to confirm.

After 253 games for Claremont, Graham Moss announced his retirement at the end of the 1983 season, only to resurface, for one match only, two years later.  He thus ended up with an overall tally of 343 club games, which includes 89 at Essendon.   Moss carried on as Claremont coach until the end of the 1986 season when he accepted the position of General Manager of the newly formed West Coast Eagles Football Club.  After a couple of years in that role, however, he moved on to other challenges outside football. 

Footnotes

1.  Football Greats of Western Australia volume one by Anthony James, page 51.  Return to Main Text

2.  Ibid., page 51.  Return to Main Text

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Geof Motley (Port Adelaide & North Adelaide)

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Combining tremendous fairness - he was never once reported - with a fearlessly dynamic approach to the game, Geof Motley (see footnote 1) might almost be regarded as the personification of the award he finally won after several near misses in 1964, the Magarey Medal.  Jeff Pash's eloquent tribute admirably evokes and encapsulates the Motley style:

He is fearless and resolute, but the resolution is jolly and good-humoured - no kicking in ruck.  The shape of his flying play for the ball and of his recovery is brave and pleasing; he flies with abandon and bounces up smiling from some impossible rolls and spills.

Others certainly have more elegant techniques, and they, too, are admired in their place; but Motley is unique.  (See footnote 2

Part of this uniqueness was a near universal popularity; it was difficult for even the most one-eyed of opposition supporters to dislike Motley, and when he won his aforementioned Magarey Medal in 1964 it was greeted with widespread and unadulterated acclaim.  He was also the consummate team man, a fact evidenced in 1963 when he was the recipient of the Football Writers', Commentators' Award for the most valuable all round player to his club.

The only man to participate in all nine of Port Adelaide's premiership teams between 1954 and 1965, Geof Motley played a total of 250 SANFL games for the Magpies between 1953 and 1966.  He also represented his state on 28 occasions, with the standard of his performances gradually improving over time.

Captain-coach of Port's 1959 flag-winning side, Motley later coached North Adelaide for three seasons after his retirement as a player.  His son, Peter Motley, later played for Sturt and Carlton.

Footnotes

1.  The single 'f' in 'Geof' is correct.  Whether intentionally or by accident, this is how the name was rendered on Motley's birth certificate, a fact that Motley himself did not discover until the time of his marriage.  Return to Main Text

2. The Pash Papers by Jeff Pash, page 166.  Return to Main Text

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Peter Motley (Sturt & Carlton)

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Supremely accomplished in all facets of the game, it was hard, at twenty-two, not to imagine Peter Motley eventually becoming one of football's all time greats.  Tragically, that was the age at which his football career, and very nearly his life, came to an end on a Melbourne road, when he was involved in a horrendous traffic accident.  Motley was in his second season playing for Carlton at the time, having participated in a losing grand final team the previous year.  His VFL career was thus prematurely, and peremptorily, finished after just 19 games.

Peter Motley, the son of former Port Adelaide legend Geof Motley, made his league debut with Sturt, and went on to enjoy a sparkling four season, 92 game SANFL career with that club before heading east.  He won consecutive club best and fairest awards in 1984-5. and represented South Australia half a dozen times.  He achieved All Australian selection in 1985.

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Paul Mountain (Swan Districts & South Fremantle)

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Paul Mountain made his league debut with Swan Districts as an eighteen year old in 1970, but in four seasons with the club he struggled to establish himself, managing just 24 senior games.  In 1977, after three years away from league football, he resumed, this time with South Fremantle, and from the start it was clear that he was a much improved player.  He spent seven seasons with the Bulldogs, playing in excess of 100 league games, mainly as a rover or ruck-rover, in which roles he developed a fine understanding with ruckman Stephen Michael.  He was South's best in the 'derby' grand final loss to East Fremantle in 1979, and also played in the losing grand final of 1981 against Claremont.

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Ernest Mucklow (Port Adelaide)

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Boasting the nickname 'Punch', Ern Mucklow made his league debut for Port Adelaide in 1920, and went on to enjoy a highly auspicious fifteen season, 182 game senior career with the club.   A dashing and purposeful wingman, he was a member of Magpie premiership teams in 1921 and 1928, and won the club's best and fairest award in 1929.  A South Australian carnival representative in 1927 at Melbourne, he played a total of 10 interstate matches, and almost invariably acquitted himself well.

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Ray Mudie (East Fremantle)

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Ray Mudie started out with Old Easts in 1914, but after playing just a handful of senior matches his career was put on hold until after World War One.  During the early 1920s he established himself as one of the finest defenders in Western Australia, representing his state on 10 occasions, mainly in the back pocket, although most of his games for East Fremantle were at centre half back.  

Formidable at ground level, and a strong spoiler, Mudie was extremely hard to beat.  He captained both Old Easts and the state, and counted among his many admirers former Australian Prime Minister John Curtin, who allegedly summed up Mudie's style with memorable succinctness, describing him as "an obstruction" (see footnote 1).

Ray Mudie captain-coached East Fremantle in 1927, and was non-playing coach when the club won the first two of its four successive flags in 1928-29.

Footnotes

1.  Cited in Celebrating 100 Years Of Tradition by Jack Lee, page 139.  Return to Main Text

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Jack Mueller (Melbourne)

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Famed for his 'eight finger grip', a legacy of his losing two fingers above the knuckle in a factory accident during his first senior season, Jack Mueller was an inspirational player without whom the Melbourne sides in which he played during a seventeen season, 216 game career in the 1930s, '40s and '50s would almost certainly not have been as successful.  Certainly he was the primary instigator of Melbourne's 1948 flag victory after being recalled from retirement (with the reserves) for that year's preliminary final in which he kicked 8 of his team's 25 goals against Collingwood.  He followed this up with 6 out of 10 in the drawn grand final with Essendon and another 6 out of 13 the following week when Melbourne won the replay.

Mueller was much more than just a goal kicker, however.  An immensely versatile footballer, he was at full back in Melbourne's 1939 premiership team, rucked for the 1940 and 1941 flag winning combinations, and represented the VFL at both ends of the ground as well as as an on-baller.  Never the most elegant of players, he was nonetheless more than adequately endowed with all the major skills of the game and it was this, combined with his formidable physique and typically effervescent, explosive attack on the football which made Jack Mueller so inordinately effective - more so, it might be said, than the ostensible 'sum of his parts'.

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Alan Muir (Queanbeyan & Queanbeyan-Acton)

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A stalwart of Queanbeyan and Queanbeyan-Acton sides throughout most of the 1950s, Alan Muir also gave great service to Queanbeyan in a wide variety of off-field roles once he had retired from senior football.  At the time of that retirement, he had played a total of 225 first grade games, which represented a record that was to stand for thirty-one years.  Muir played in a total of six grand finals for either Queanbeyan or the Combine for flags in 1953, 1954 and 1956.

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Ken Mulhall (St Kilda)

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Solidly built and tireless, Ken Mulhall was a loyal servant of the St Kilda Football Club in 134 VFL games spanning twelve seasons from 1946.  He booted 81 goals.  Equally effective either as a centre half forward or a ruckman, he may not have been particularly eye-catching or spectacular, but he almost invariably gave good value to the team.  Mulhall was St Kilda's vice-captain in his final league season.

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Robin Mulholland (Central District)

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In 1962, two decades before the Melbourne Football Club's renowned 'Irish experiment', sixteen year old Belfast boy Robin Mulholland arrived in South Australia with his parents.  Settling in Gawler, 40km to the north of Adelaide, he soon developed an interest in Australian football, to which his grounding in Gaelic football enabled him to adapt with perhaps surprising ease.  Indeed, so proficient did he become that he was invited to try out with local League club Central District.  In 1968 he made his SANFL debut as a rover, impressing everyone with his energy, commitment and skill; he went on to become one of only two Bulldog players to appear in all 20 minor round games that year and capped things off by winning the club's best and fairest award.

Although it would perhaps be fair to observe that his kicking lacked penetration, in every other respect Mulholland - imaginatively nicknamed 'Irish' by his teammates - was a top quality player.  As Central District's on field fortunes improved, so did the visibility of Mulholland's contribution: he was best afield in the Bulldogs' first ever finals match in 1971, and the following year he played in all 3 of South Australia's matches in the Perth carnival, won the Bulldogs' best and fairest award for the second time, and topped the club's goalkicking with 46 goals.  There seems little doubt that, until the arrival of Jim Stynes and Sean Wight in the 1980s, Robin Mulholland, along perhaps with Stuart Magee, was the most successful Irishman to play top level Australian football.

Mulholland's career came to a premature end after the 1974 season.  All told, he played 112 games for Centrals and kicked 146 goals.  Later, he maintained involvement with the club through its past players association.

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Angie Muller (Geelong & Fitzroy)

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Angie Muller was a flame-haired left footer whose clever, often brilliant play was laced with venom.  His direct opponents were said to often find themselves feeling very sore indeed by the end of a game.  He joined Geelong in 1933 from North Geelong, and made his senior VFL debut in the opening round of that season against Collingwood at Victoria Park.  Regarded mainly as a wingman, he was actually a highly versatile footballer who could perform with credit in numerous other positions, most notably as a rover, half forward flanker or centreman.  He played a total of 115 games for the Cats between 1933 and 1941, kicking 37 goals.  He also played interstate football for the VFL 4 times.  In Geelong's winning grand final of 1937 against Collingwood (reviewed here) he amassed 28 effective disposals and took 6 marks in a near best afield display.  Muller crossed to Fitzroy in 1942, but managed just 1 game for the year before retiring.

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Tom Mullooly (Swan Districts & Perth)

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An interchange player in Swan Districts' official 'Team of the Century', Tom Mullooly was a solid defender in 246 league games from 1971 to 1986.  Focused and reliable rather than spectacular, he emphasised his resilience late in his career when he successfully shrugged off a series of persistent, niggling injuries to play some of his most authoritative football.  He was at full back in Swans' 1982 grand final defeat of Claremont, and again two years later when East Fremantle was vanquished.  He missed the 1983 grand final, which Swans also won, through injury.

Mullooly's failure to play more than a single state game for West Australia was a touch surprising, but again this was attributable, at least in part, to his sustaining injuries at the wrong time.

Appointed coach of Perth in 1990, he spent just one season at the helm (for 6th position) before being replaced by Ken Armstrong.

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Brian Mulvihill (West Torrens, North Melbourne, Woodville)

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Seemingly blessed with all the attributes of the top quality centre half forward - strong overhead, a superb kick, courageous, durable and dynamic - Brian Mulvihill should arguably have been much better than the good player he undoubtedly was.  Seen at West Torrens as the heir apparent to Geoff Kingston he played 4 senior games in his debut season of 1965 before becoming a regular league player the following year.  For much of his time with the Eagles he alternated between centre half forward and full forward, topping the club's goal kicking list on half a dozen occasions, with 74 goals in 1974 his best season's tally.  When at the height of his form, he was extremely difficult to contain, as is evidenced by his achievement in kicking double figure tallies on three occasions, with 12 goals against Woodville at Adelaide in 1967 his best.  His most consistent season was probably 1969, when he played a major role in the Eagles' 10 game winning streak that clinched finals participation.  He was rewarded with selection at centre half forward in the prestigious 'Advertiser' Team of the Year.  In 1971 and 1972 he played 24 VFL games and kicked 25 goals for North Melbourne, where some of his best performances came as a half back flanker.  He returned to Torrens in 1973, and rounded off his career with a couple of seasons at Woodville in 1976 and 1977.  The SANFL portion of his career comprised 160 games during which he booted 427 goals.  Had he been a little more consistent, he would undoubtedly have been selected to represent South Australia, and might be considered a little unfortunate not to have done in any case.

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Les Mumme (Claremont)

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Originally from Collie, rover Les Mumme was a champion schoolboy footballer who arrived at Claremont in 1955.  Tank-like in build, he made the most of his physique by imposing it on every contest with relentless determination.  Tough, energetic and resourceful, he was almost invariably one of the first players chosen by the Western Australian selectors for matches against the Vics, and his 17 interstate appearances included many fine displays.  Regarded as the consummate team player, he nevertheless had enough individual flair to secure two club fairest and best awards.  He was also a key contributor to Claremont's 1964 grand final win over East Fremantle (reviewed here), booting 2 goals and being listed high among his side's best players.  He may have boasted less natural skill than some of the rovers who succeeded him in the Western Australian team - the likes of Cable, Doncon and Walker - but he was by no means less effective or influential.

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Joe Murdoch (Richmond)

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Joe Murdoch is perhaps best remembered for an altercation with Gordon Coventry during a match in 1936, as a result of which both players were reported, and the Collingwood champion was suspended for eight weeks, missing his club's grand final win against South Melbourne.  However, he deserves to be remembered for much more, as he was a key element in Richmond's success during the early 1930s.  Big, rugged and uncompromising, he was also a superb high mark, and one of the longest kicks in the Richmond team.  He made his VFL debut in 1927, and went on to amass 180 league games over the next ten seasons, including successful grand finals in 1932 and 1934.  Some of his best games for the Tigers were on occasions when they had their backs to the wall, such as the losing grand finals of 1928, 1929 and 1933, in all of which he featured highly on the best player lists.  For most of his career he alternated between the two key defensive positions, but like most defenders he was far from averse to embarking on the odd stint ahead of centre.

Another well worn anecdote regarding Murdoch concerns the time he thrashed a young Jack Dyer in a practice game.  Dyer of course went on to become one of the greatest legends of the game, but as a young hopeful he was lined up against Murdoch in a scratch match by Tiger coach 'Checker' Hughes, and by all accounts failed to touch the ball.

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Max Murdy (South Adelaide)

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South Adelaide's specialist half forward flanker of the 1930s Max Murdy is perhaps best remembered for his misfortune in running second in the Magarey Medal voting on no fewer than three occasions.  He was a sublimely talented left footer who played 149 games for South between 1932 and 1941, winning the club's top award in 1940.  He also represented South Australia 15 times, kicking 16 goals.  Max Murdy coached South Adelaide to 7th place in 1946.  He was named on a half forward flank in the Panthers' official 'Greatest Team'.

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David Murphy (Sydney)

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Pacy, tough and highly skilled, wingman David Murphy was one of the prime reasons behind Sydney's emergence as a VFL force in the mid- to late 1980s.  Recruited from Turvey Park, he made his debut in 1984, and, over the ensuing ten seasons, went on to play 156 senior games and kick 92 goals.  In partnership with centreman Greg Williams he helped give the Swans arguably the most potent centreline in the league for several years.  A Victorian state of origin representative on several occasions, Murphy achieved All Australian selection after the 1988 bicentennial carnival in Adelaide.  In August 2003 he was selected on a wing in the Swans' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Frank Murphy (Collingwood, Subiaco, Kalgoorlie City)

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A half forward in each of Collingwood's record-breaking sequence of four consecutive grand final victories from 1927-30, Frank Murphy played a total of 145 VFL games for the Magpies between 1925 and 1934, kicking 120 goals.  Equally accomplished on the ground or in the air, he was also a good kick with either foot.  He represented the VFL three times.

In 1935 Murphy moved to Western Australia where he took on the captain-coaching role at Subiaco, steering the Maroons to a losing grand final against West Perth in his debut season.  His remaining two years at the helm were less successful, however; the side dropped to 4th place in 1936, before succumbing to the ultimate indignity of a wooden spoon the following year.  As a player, Murphy continued to provide good service as he added another 52 league games to his career record.

The 1938 season saw Murphy remaining in Western Australia as coach of GNFL club Kalgoorlie City.  He also coached a combined goldfields side that year in a memorable clash with St Kilda in which a total of 42 goals was kicked.

After several years out of football, Frank Murphy returned to Perth in 1946 for another stint as coach of Subiaco, steering his charges as far as the preliminary final, where they lost to West Perth.  After such a promising start it was unfortunate for the Maroons that burgeoning business commitments prevented Murphy from resuming as coach in 1947, and indeed his noteworthy career at football's highest level was now over.

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John Murphy (Fitzroy, South Melbourne, North Melbourne, Ulverstone, Werribee, Box Hill)

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Tough, tenacious, abundantly skilled, and equally adept in a variety of positions, John Murphy was without doubt one of the greatest players in the roller-coaster history of the Fitzroy Football Club.  His particular forte was winning the ball in strenuous circumstances, and if his use of that ball was occasionally slipshod this was arguably attributable to the immense pressure with which he so often found himself confronted.  Between 1967 and 1977 Murphy played 218 VFL games (plus 9 state matches for the VFL) and kicked 332 goals for the Lions, mainly across centre, at half forward, or on the ball.  He was Fitzroy's best and fairest award winner a remarkable five times, and club captain from 1973 to 1977.  During his final season, however, he spoke his mind once too often when he declared that the club needed to discard certain players if it was to stand any chance of succeeding; as a consequence, at season's end it was Murphy who found himself discarded, and he ended up signing for South Melbourne.  His season and a half spell with South was subject to severe disruption through injury, but Murphy nevertheless managed to win the club's best and fairest award in 1978.  Midway through the 1979 season, after 23 games with the Swans, he was on the move again, this time to North Melbourne, where he spent another severely injury-affected year and a half amassing the final 9 games of a VFL career which, at its peak, had seen him acknowledged as one of the game's most damaging, and valuable, performers.  

In 1981 Murphy was appointed captain-coach of Ulverstone, where he enjoyed a fine season, winning the Wander Medal.  John Murphy later coached VFA sides Werribee (1983-5) and Box Hill (1993-8).  When Fitzroy's official 'Team of the Century' was announced in 2002, he was named in the centre. 

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John P. Murphy (Sturt & South Melbourne)

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An extraordinarily determined if sometimes dour footballer, John Murphy was nevertheless highly effective, and he enjoyed a long and illustrious senior football career in two states.  The son of former Collingwood defender Jack Murphy, John, who played mainly as a ruck-rover, inherited much of his father's aggression, strength and dependability.  He began with Sturt in 1962 and his 205 league games with the Blues in two stints included premierships in 1966 (as 19th man), 1967, 1968, 1974 and 1976.  He also played 5 matches for South Australia.  After moving to South Melbourne in 1969 he was forced to spend a year on the sidelines awaiting a clearance before making his VFL debut the following year.  In all, he played 58 senior games for South in four seasons before returning home to South Australia for a final three season flourish which saw him bow out of football on an ultimate high after Sturt's remarkable against-the-odds victory over Port Adelaide in the 1976 SANFL grand final.

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Leonard Murphy (Williamstown, Collingwood, Footscray)

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The younger brother of Frank Murphy, Len Murphy was an altogether tougher and more hard-nosed proposition, who ultimately gave Collingwood somewhat longer, if not necessarily qualitatively superior, service.  He actually began at Williamstown, where he captured the attention of a recruiting official from Essendon, but ultimately the lure of playing in the big time alongside his brother proved too strong, and he signed for Collingwood.  Between 1928 and 1937 he played a total of 173 VFL games, mainly as a ruckman, and booted 105 goals.  He was a member of premiership-winning combinations in 1928-9-30, but missed the winning grand finals of 1935 and 1936 through injury and suspension respectively.  After spending the entire losing 1937 grand final against Carlton warming the bench he retired from league football and spent the period from 1938 to 1939 as captain-coach of Wimmera Football League club Nhill.  In 1940, however, he made a return to the VFL with Footscray where, over the ensuing couple of seasons, he added a final 25 games and 28 goals before retiring for good.

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Bob Murray (Sandringham & St Kilda)

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Born in Tasmania, Bob Murray moved with his family to Victoria while still a child.  After playing with success as a forward at Sandringham in the VFA, he moved to St Kilda, but, in his first three seasons with the Saints, he completely failed to fire.  Only after being moved to the backlines did he suddenly come into his own, so much so that, during the mid- to late 1960s, he was widely regarded as Australia's premier full back.  A key performer in St Kilda's 1966 grand final defeat of Collingwood, Murray made his interstate debut for the VFL the following year, achieved All Australian selection in 1969, and remained a regular in the Big V team until 1970.  Boasting perfect timing when contesting the ball in the air, he was doggedly brilliant at ground level - in point of fact, the complete defensive package.  Winner of St Kilda's best and fairest award in 1969, Bob Murray played 153 VFL games for the club from 1963 to 1972 and in 1974.  In 2002, he was selected on the interchange bench in the Saints' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Jack Murray (Swan Districts)

As either a ruckman or a defender Jack Murray scaled heights that few if any of his contemporaries in the Swan Districts league side could dream of. Had his career not been shortened by the war he would almost certainly have been Swans’ first ever 200 game footballer. As it was, in a career that ran between 1935 and 1940 and from 1945 to 1949 he fell 28 games short. Murray made his interstate debut at the 1937 Perth carnival against South Australia, the start of a run which saw him play in 8 of Western Australia’s last 9 matches prior to World War Two. He donned the state jumper once more after the war for a final tally of 9 appearances. Consistency was a hallmark of Murray’s game, and he emphasised this by winning two club fairest and best awards eight years apart. Jack Murray was chosen in a back pocket in Swan Districts’ official ‘Team of the Century’.

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Kevin Murray (Fitzroy, East Perth, Sandringham)

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Never the most elegant or poised of footballers Kevin Murray did not let such trifling matters stand in the way of his effectiveness.  With pace, good judgement, and a tremendous leap Murray was equally effective both in the backlines and on the ball.  He was also an inspirational leader who skippered Fitzroy for eight seasons, captain-coached them in 1963 and 1964, and captain-coached East Perth in 1965 and 1966.  Twice an All Australian (once with the VFL, once with Western Australia), Murray was a veritable stalwart of the interstate scene donning the Big V jumper 24 times and representing Western Australia on 6 occasions.  He won a Brownlow in 1969 at the age of 31 having previously finished 2nd twice and 3rd once and was no stranger to club awards either winning best and fairests at Fitzroy on an unprecedented nine occasions, plus once with the Royals.  In 1975 he was appointed captain-coach of Sandringham on a three year contract, but after two mediocre seasons he was replaced by Darrell MacKenzie.

Murray's durability was emphasised not only by his incredible ability to keep on playing whilst carrying injuries that would have floored most other players, but also by the sheer extent of his playing career which encompassed no fewer than 448 senior games over more than two decades.  In 2002 he was placed on a half back flank and selected as captain in Fitzroy's official 'Team of the Century'.  Four years later East Perth selected him as a ruck-rover in the club's official 'Team of the Century 1945 to 2005'

Kevin Murray's father, Dan Murray, was an accomplished wingman who played VFA football for Prahran during the 1930s.

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