BIOGRAPHIES [Wa-Wh]

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

[Doug Wade]  [Ernest Wadham]  [Gary Wagner]  [Alfred 'Topsy' Waldron]  [Bill Walker]  [Charles Walker]  [Francis 'Dick' Walker]  [Jack Walker]  [Norman Walker]  [William Walker]  [David Wall]  [George Wallace]  [Neville Waller]  [Steve Wallis]  [Robert Walls]  [Brian Walsh]  [Paddy Walsh]  [Paddy Y. Walsh]  [Wayne Walsh]  [Ernie Walton]  [Gavin Wanganeen]  [Bert Wansbrough]  [Keith Warburton]  [Alan Ware]  [Norm Ware]  [Donald Wares]  [Tom Warhurst]  [Ivor Warne-Smith]  [Danny Warr]  [Jim Washbourne]  [Terry Waters]  [Alan Watling]  [Colin Watson]  [Jim Watson]  [Tim Watson]  [Keith Watt]  [Ricky Watt]  [Rowland Watt]  [Roy Watterston]  [Albert Watts]  [John Watts]  [Neville Way]  [Hendrick 'Taffy' Waye]  [Tom Waye]  [Richard Wearmouth]  [Ronald Wearmouth]  [George Weatherill]  [Robert Weatherill]  [Athol Webb]  [Lindsay Webb]  [Reynolds Webb]  [Peter Webster]  [Bill Wedding]  [Sydney Ween]  [Murray Weideman]  [Dale Weightman]  [Neville Weller]  [Sean Wellman]  [Greg Wells]  [Jack Wells]  [Peter Welsh]  [Max Wenn]  [Henry 'Leo' Wescott]  [Roy West]  [Jack Whelan]  [Ken Whelan]  [Marcus Whelan]  [Ted Whelan]  [Bill Whicker]  [Mel Whinnen]  [Ray Whitaker]  [Alan White]  [Barry White]  [Darryl White]  [Leslie White]  [Lindsay White]  [Robin White]  [Sid White]  [Charles Whitehead]  [Reg Whitehead]  [Malcolm Whitford]  [Ted Whitten senior]  [Alvan Whittle

Doug Wade (Geelong & North Melbourne)

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Full forwards do not need to be eye-catchingly brilliant in order to be effective.  Some, of course, such as Pratt, Coleman, Robertson, McKenna, Rait, Ablett and Lloyd, were, or are, but the fact that brilliance is by no means an index of effectiveness is emphatically demonstrated by the fact that many of the most prolific goalkickers in the history of the game, including the likes of Farmer, Coventry, Naylor, Hudson, Lockett, Dunstall and Evans, could scarcely be described as easy on the eye.

If Douglas Graeme Wade clearly belonged in this latter category, this is not to imply that his goal kicking exploits for Geelong and North Melbourne were not immensely crowd pleasing in their way.  Capable if the need arose of flying high for big marks, he was much more in his element in the sort of one-on-one physical contests on which most league full backs thrived.  Moreover, his trade mark screw punts could realise maximum reward from virtually any distance up to about 60 metres (on one occasion, Wade won the Craven Filter Champion Kick of Australia).

A statistical summary of Doug Wade's most noteworthy achievements makes impressive reading: 

bullet in 267 VFL games between 1961 and 1975 he booted 1,058 goals at the remarkable average of 3.96 per game
bullet Geelong's leading goal kicker every year from 1961 to 1972, except for the injury ruined 1965 season; he also topped North Melbourne's list in his final three league seasons
bullet despite sterling opposition from the likes of Hudson, McKenna and Jesaulenko, he was the VFL's top goal kicker on four occasions
bullet Wade twice 'topped the ton', booting 127 goals with Geelong in 1969, and 103 with North in 1974
bullet he played 7 times for the VFL, booting 31 goals

When Geelong's 'Team of the Century' was chosen in 2001, arguably the easiest decision of all must have been placing Doug Wade at the goalfront.

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Ernest Wadham (Norwood)

Despite being built like the proverbial beanpole at 187cm and 71kg, Ern Wadham was a highly effective knock ruckman who made a significant contribution to Norwood's success during the 1920s.  He made his league debut for the Redlegs in 1922, and at the end of the season helped them defeat West Adelaide 9.7 (61) to 2.16 (28) to claim their first flag for fifteen years.  He also played in premiership teams in 1923 and 1929.  His 7 interstate appearances for South Australia included games at both the 1924 Hobart and 1927 Melbourne carnivals.  Appointed Norwood's captain-coach in 1931 he stood down, and indeed retired as a player, after a few games because he felt his form was no longer up to scratch.  A successful professional runner away from football, he later carved out a noteworthy career as a sporting administrator, including more than twenty years as secretary of the Norwood Football Club.

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Gary Wagner (Sandgate)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

Gary Wagner was a fleet-footed rover/wingman who won four best and fairest awards at Sandgate. He played 200-plus games over fifteen years and was a key member of the club's successful 1970's era, which included four premierships.  Wagner represented Queensland on multiple occasions during the 1970s. 

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Alfred Waldron (Carlton & Norwood)

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Alfred 'Topsy' Waldron was born in Mornington, Victoria, in 1857, and moved to Melbourne with his family while still a youngster.  While in Melbourne he began to play football with a club called 'The Montagues'.  Looking back on that time almost half a century later, Waldron observed:

"At that time football was more like 'stacks on the mill'. One man would get the ball and the others would try to deprive him of possession. The umpire would be a man chosen from the crowd that had gathered."  (See footnote 1)

Waldron began his senior football career with Albert Park, and then played briefly with Carlton, but it was only after joining Norwood that he developed into one of the genuine greats of the nineteenth century game.  He was persuaded to head to Adelaide by a Norwood player, Alf McMichael, who happened to be a good personal friend.  Waldron arrived at Norwood in 1879, the club's second year, joining forces with fellow former Carltonian Billy Dedman, who had topped the SAFA goal kicking list in 1878 and would do so again in 1879.  

Norwood was already a force in South Australian football, having won a premiership in its debut season, but Waldron's arrival made the team even stronger.  Waldron was an exceptional footballer, capable of playing in virtually any position on the field, but it was his skill as a leader that truly set him apart from the crowd.  He took over as Norwood captain in 1881, and all told enjoyed a club record total of ten seasons in charge in three separate stints.  He was widely acknowledged, even in Victoria, as the finest captain of his day, a reputation he consolidated in decisive fashion in 1888 when he led his team to a 3-0 'Test' series drubbing of South Melbourne in a contest to find the champion club in Australia.  Waldron himself regarded Norwood's 1888 combination as the finest he had seen in football, with players like 'the three Jacks' - Daly, Watson and Woods - being unmatched either before or since.  He was also of the opinion that football in the 1880s was superior to the early twentieth century game because players back then were less inclined to resort to handball, presumably because the 'little mark' was still legal and very much in vogue (see footnote 2).

'Topsy' Waldron spent a total of fourteen seasons with the Redlegs, and was a member of seven premiership teams.  He was selected to represent South Australia on 6 occasions, 3 of them as captain, during an era when intercolonial matches were only sporadically played.  His omission from the AFL's much vaunted Hall of Fame spectacularly undermines its credibility as a supposedly objective benchmark of excellence in the game.

Footnotes

1.  'The Advertiser', 16/5/1910, page 11.  Return to Main Text

2.  Ibid., page 11.  Return to Main Text

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Bill Walker (Swan Districts)

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Watching recordings of matches played as long ago as the 1960s only a few players immediately catch the eye as possessing the attributes necessary for success in modern day, professional football.  One such player is Bill Walker, who combined an uncanny sense of knowing where the ball was, and how to get it, with a rare, fastidious intelligence in its disposal (albeit that, when kicking, he tended to favour either the drop kick or the stab pass, a 'frailty' which a twenty-first century coaching team would no doubt waste little time in eradicating).

Walker, who was born at Huntley in New Zealand, made his debut with Swans in 1961 and over the course of the next sixteen seasons would go on to play a record 305 games for the club.  His arrival at Bassendean coincided with that of Haydn Bunton junior, who, in his first three years in Western Australian football, would be responsible for masterminding the club's first five premierships.  Bunton also shared the roving duties with Walker, who kicked 5.5 in Swans' debut premiership win in 1961, and was an integral member of the side as it established a new benchmark for football in the state.

Ultimately, Swan Districts' pre-eminence could not last, but Walker remained at the forefront of the game throughout his career.  Sandover Medallist three years in a row from 1965 to 1967, he was later awarded a 4th Medal (that of 1970) as part of the Westar Rules hierarchy's decision, in 1997, to bestow retrospective Medals on those players who had lost only on countback, or on the casting vote of the WANFL president.  Bill Walker thus shares with Russell Ebert the record of being the only players to have won four separate major state awards in the same competition. 

When at the height of his prowess, between 1965 and 1970, it would be hard to dispute the contention that Walker was the finest player in the land.  Apart from his four Sandovers, he finished 2nd and 5th in the other two seasons, averaging 19.3 votes per year; he was Swan Districts' club champion every year but one; and in interstate games he was almost invariably named in Western Australia's best players, winning a Simpson Medal against South Australia at Subiaco in 1967.

Often mentioned in the same breath as another superlative Western Australian rover, Barry Cable, Walker shared many of the same attributes, but had an edge in pace, which arguably made him the more damaging player.

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Charles Walker (East Perth)

A tough centre half back who compensated for any skill deficiencies with his fearless, wholehearted approach, Charlie Walker was a key member of three East Perth premiership teams, and played precisely 100 games for the club between 1954 and 1960.  Boasting an immensely strong upper body, he could fend opponents off with one hand, and his tackling was ferocious. He was good overhead, and capable of playing as a follower if needed, but his kicking was ordinary, or worse.  He gave a fine performance as support ruckman to 'Polly' Farmer in the 1958 grand final win over East Fremantle, and was reliably effective across half back in both the 1956 and 1959 flag winning sides. Charlie Walker represented Western Australia twice against the Vics in 1957.  

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Francis 'Dick' Walker (Perth)

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A great clubman, Perth rover Dick Walker played 226 league games for the Redlegs between 1952 and 1964.  He also made 10 appearances for Western Australia.  Renowned for his cleverness, he won club fairest and best awards in 1955 and 1956, and was runner-up in 1963.  He was one of the best players afield in Perth's 1955 grand final win over East Fremantle.  Always dangerous when resting in the forward lines, he topped his club's goal kicking list in 1953 with 44 goals.  During the 1961 season he took over as Redlegs captain-coach for a time; he also captained the side the following year, but had sadly retired by the time Perth re-emerged as a force under Mal Atwell in the mid 1960s.

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Jack Walker (Geelong)

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Geelong's Lara recruit Jack Walker made his VFL debut in 1930 and was on a wing when the Cats overcame Richmond in the following season's grand final.  Tall and elegant, he passed the ball superbly with either foot, and was direct and purposeful in everything he did.  A centreman or wingman for much of his seven season, 77 game league career, he was shifted to the backlines later on and continued to perform reliably.  Jack Walker played interstate football for the VFL.

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Norman Walker (Norwood)

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Combining strength with great dexterity, Norm Walker was one in a sequence of fine ruckman produced by the Norwood Football Club during the 1940s, '50s and '60s.  He won the club's best and fairest award in 1957, and showed his potency when resting in a forward pocket by twice topping the club's goal kicking list.  Walker represented South Australia on 11 occasions, kicking 15 goals.

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William Walker (Fitzroy)

 

In the era of the ruck shepherd, there were few better exponents of the art than Fitzroy's William Walker.  An arch purveyor of strong arm tactics, it is more than a little ironic that arguably his proudest moment in football involved the deliberate and conscious eschewing of such an approach.  In 1913, Walker captained a vigorous, often fearsomely aggressive Fitzroy team to the minor premiership, followed by an emphatic semi final defeat of Collingwood.  In the final, however, opponents St Kilda succeeded in notching up a shock win by employing precisely the same kind of exaggeratedly brutal approach as the Roys had been utilising all year.  With the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, the Maroons were all at sea, and so for the following week's challenge final Walker told his men to avoid rough-house tactics at all costs, whatever the provocation, and concentrate on the ball.  His charges obeyed this injunction to the letter, and Fitzroy won a famous victory.

William Walker began with the Maroons in 1903 and gave sterling service in 168 games over the next twelve seasons.  In addition to the 1913 premiership, he played in flag-winning sides in 1904-5, and in the losing grand finals of 1903 and 1906.  Loathed by opponents and opposition supporters, he was hugely respected and admired at Fitzroy, winning the club's 1909 best and fairest award and, as alluded to above, captaining the side in his penultimate year.   

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David Wall (Fitzroy & Northcote)

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David Wall joined Fitzroy from West Heidelberg and made his senior VFL debut in 1967.  Over the ensuing decade he played a total of 132 league games, and kicked 120 goals.  Serviceable and honest rather than flamboyantly skilled, the Lions used him in a variety of positions, but he played his best football on the forward line.  After leaving Fitzroy at the end of the 1976 season he played briefly for Northcote in the VFA.

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George Wallace (South Adelaide)

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As an energetically dynamic rover, South Adelaide's George Wallace was a familiar and extremely popular figure around the club for no fewer than thirteen seasons, during which he tallied 127 senior games.  He commenced his career in 1905, and had a pronounced immediate impact.  A regular South Australian interstate representative during the early part of his career, his 8 state appearances included games at the inaugural Australasian championship series held in Melbourne in 1908.  Unfortunately for Wallace, South was far and away the weakest team in the competition during his time with them, and only twice, in 1905 and 1915, did they even manage to qualify for the finals.  On both occasions they bowed out of premiership contention at the first hurdle.  One imagines that George Wallace would have featured consistently strongly in South's best and fairest voting during his career, but the club did not introduce such an award until three years after his retirement.

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Neville Waller (Collingwood)

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Having played both Thirds and Seconds football with the club, Neville Waller proved to be a useful senior player for Collingwood in 84 VFL games between 1953 and 1958.  During that time he played in a variety of different positions but tended to produce his best football when stationed in the backlines.  He was at centre half back when the Magpies downed Geelong in the 1953 grand final, and played in a back pocket in the losing grand finals of 1955 and '56 against Melbourne.

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Steve Wallis (Footscray)

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Footscray's Steve Wallis started his VFL career as a creative running centreman who combined with the likes of Doug Hawkins and Brian Royal to give the Bulldogs one of the most potent running brigades in the league.  A prolific possession gatherer, he ran equal fourth in the Brownlow Medal voting in 1985, his third league season.  Renowned for his strong use of the body, Wallis began to take on more defensive roles as his career progressed.  He was an excellent tagger, and could also do a highly effective job anywhere in the backlines.  He captained Footscray in 1989, and represented Victoria on 3 occasions.  Between 1983 and 1996 he played a total of 261 V/AFL games and booted 57 goals.  He might be considered a trifle unfortunate to have missed selection in the Bulldogs' official 'Team of the Century'.

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Robert Walls (Carlton, Fitzroy, Brisbane)

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From the time he made his VFL debut as a sixteen year old Coburg High School student in 1967, Carlton's Robert Walls seemed destined for a noteworthy career.  Lining up at full forward, he booted a goal with his first kick in league football, the first of 347 he would amass in 219 games with the Blues.  Some of his early football was played in the backlines, and he was in a back pocket in the 1968 grand final when Carlton overcame Essendon by 3 points, but it was as a centre half forward that he truly came into his own.  He topped Carlton's goal kicking list on two occasions, and was a premiership player twice more, in 1970 and 1972.  He also represented the VFL on 4 occasions.

Lean and lithe, with long arms, Walls could regularly out-mark most opponents, but was equally adept at palming the ball to a team mate running past.  He finished his playing career at Fitzroy where he added 41 games and 77 goals between 1978 and 1980.

As a coach, Walls was astute, resourceful, and, overall, a success.  He took a hitherto unfashionable Fitzroy side to three finals series in five seasons, led Carlton to a flag in 1987, and oversaw Brisbane's overdue emergence as a credible combination when he steered the team to its first ever finals campaign in 1995, its ninth league season.  

His prowess as a player was rewarded with inclusion in Carlton's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Brian Walsh (St Kilda & Werribee)

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Brian Walsh was a dogged and extremely determined back pocket specialist who worked superbly in tandem with champion full back Verdun HowellSt Kilda recruited Walsh from Ormond in the VAFA and he gave excellent service in 129 VFL games between 1956 and 1964, unfortunately just missing the club's halcyon phase.  He also represented the VFL against Tasmania in 1962.  As a coach, Brian Walsh steered VFA 2nd division side Werribee to 4th place in 1981.  His father, Dave Walsh, played with Essendon, Essendon Association and North Melbourne.

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Paddy Walsh (Prahran & Brighton-Caulfield)

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One of the finest VFA centremen of his day, dual Prahran best and fairest winner Paddy Walsh was a driving force behind that club's 1951 premiership triumph.  Originally from Murrumbeena, for much of his career Walsh was a near automatic selection in VFA representative sides, including the team which went to the Brisbane carnival in 1950, and scored a noteworthy win over South Australia.  Renowned as an inspirational on-field leader, Paddy Walsh captained Prahran from 1949 to 1954, assuming the coaching duties as well in the last two of those years.  As a player he was highly skilled and resourceful, strong overhead, and a fine kick.

In 1960, after being away from the VFA scene for six years, Walsh made a one match return with Prahran in order to qualify as a ten year player, and the following season saw him installed as the club's non-playing coach.  The VFA introduced a two division system in 1961, with the Two Blues consigned to the lower flight.  After missing the finals on percentage in Walsh's debut season as coach, the Two Blues battled their way through to the following year's grand final, only to crash to an embarrassing 60 point defeat at the hands of Dandenong.

After being replaced as senior coach in 1963 by former Melbourne player Dennis Jones, Paddy Walsh had a brief stint as coach of fellow second division side Brighton-Caulfield

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Paddy Y. Walsh (City-Launceston & Essendon)

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Originally from Ledgerwood in northern Tasmania, Paddy Walsh played a couple of NTFA games for City before being recruited by Essendon.  A left footer, he was a slimly built 183cm in height, and was regarded as "a new breed of more mobile, fast moving, rugged big men that Essendon had and he was big and powerful with plenty of dash and good on the ground" (see footnote 1).  He gave the Dons some excellent service over the course of a ten season, 115 game VFL career.  Equally at home as a follower or across half back, Walsh was extremely highly regarded by his contemporaries, and made no fewer than a dozen appearances in a 'Big V' jumper.  He was voted Essendon's best and fairest player in 1933, the season before a serious knee injury undermined the closing phase of his career.  He finally called it a day at the end of the 1936 season.

Footnotes

1.  Those Magnificent Men by Michael Maplestone, page 87.  Return to Main Text

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Wayne Walsh (Richmond & South Melbourne)

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Wayne Walsh began his senior VFL career with Richmond in 1968 but he was unable to force his way into the powerful Tiger line-up on a regular basis, and after just 5 games he was cleared to South Melbourne.  From 1969 until midway through the 1972 season he played 63 games for the Swans, earning a reputation as a top quality defender, and representing the 'Big V' in 1970.  In 1972, however, he fell out with coach Norm Smith and quit the club, whereupon Richmond snatched him up again.  His second stint at Punt Road was much more successful than the first, and he represented the club in the losing grand final of 1972 against Carlton, and the wins in 1973 and 1974 against Carlton and North Melbourne respectively.  By the time he retired in 1977 he had proved himself a fine performer in 88 VFL games for the Tigers, and his problems during his initial stint with the club had been well and truly forgotten.

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Ernie Walton (Carlton)

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Playing either in the centre or as a defender, Ernie Walton was a key member of Carlton's late VFA and early VFL teams.  Skipper of the Blues in 1898 and 1899, he also represented the VFL in intercolonial and interstate matches.  A skilful player who handled the ball well and was an excellent place kick, Walton was a shining light for Carlton in an era that did not yield much in the way of success.  In his debut season of 1894, for example, the Blues only managed 2 wins, and the club's eventual admission to the VFL three years later was less a tribute to its on-field playing strength, which remained negligible, than a matter of expediency relating to its geographical location near the heart of Melbourne.

In Walton's eleventh and last season, however, and Carlton's eighth in the VFL, the club finally emerged from the doldrums by qualifying for the finals for the first ever time.  With Walton in a back pocket, the Blues scored a nail-biting 3 point win over Essendon in a semi final before succumbing to Fitzroy by 4 goals in the premiership decider.  Presumably feeling content that the club was, at long last, in a position of emerging strength, Ernie Walton retired.  He later served Carlton in a variety of administrative roles.

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Gavin Wanganeen (Port Adelaide, Essendon, Port Adelaide Magpies)

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Gavin Wanganeen, who retired from top level football midway through the 2006 season after well in excess of 300 senior games, was undoubtedly one of the finest and most instantly recognisable footballers of recent times.  Originally from Port Lincoln, he played briefly with Salisbury North after moving to Adelaide, before commencing his league career with Port Adelaide in 1990, when his 24 games for the year included the winning grand final against Glenelg (reviewed here).  Crossing to Essendon in the AFL in 1991, he appeared to adapt to the big stage with consummate ease, and two years later was a crucial cog in the 'Baby Bombers' machine that won the flag in highly impressive fashion with a 20.13 (133) to 13.11 (89) grand final demolition of Carlton.  Earlier that year he had been a member of the South Australian state of origin team that secured the national championship in memorable fashion thanks to a 2 goal win over Victoria on the MCG.  The 1993 season was also memorable on a personal note as he became Essendon's first Brownlow Medallist for seventeen years.

With his distinctive low to the ground running style Wanganeen combined exquisite talent with explosive, if occasionally wayward, aggression.  Most commonly used as a rebound defender, he was also, on occasion, a damaging on-baller, and had a keen eye for goal when used in the forward lines.  The sort of player who leads naturally by example, he returned to South Australia in 1997 when he was appointed Port Adelaide's inaugural AFL captain, a role he retained for four seasons.  If his form with the Power tended to be somewhat inconsistent at first he came good in no uncertain terms in 2003 when he not only landed his club's best and fairest award but came within a single vote of a second Brownlow Medal.  His proudest moment in a Power jumper, however, came the following season, when his 4 goals made a significant contribution to his club's first ever AFL flag courtesy of a 17.11 (113) to 10.13 (73) grand final victory over Brisbane.

In 2005, along with many of his team mates, Wanganeen appeared to suffer something of a premiership hangover, and in 2006 he managed just 1 game to bring up the magical 300 figure before eventually deciding that his body had had enough.  His final game of senior football came on 20 May 2006 for Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL.  Five times an AFL All Australian, Wanganeen was the first indigenous footballer to amass 300 games (127 with the Bombers, 173 for Port) at AFL level.  Even more significantly, however, he was revered, and will be remembered with affection and esteem, at two top level clubs, with the high regard in which he was held at Essendon in particular being emphasised by his inclusion, in a back pocket, in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Bert Wansbrough (Perth)

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Best remembered for his stirring display after being shifted from centre half back to centre half forward during the 1955 grand final win over East Fremantle (reviewed here), Perth's Bert Wansbrough, who was vice-captain that day, was an important player for the Redlegs in 127 games between 1952 and 1958.   Powerfully built, he used his strength to good effect both at ground level and in the air.  He could play well in any key position, and boasted considerable flair for such a big man.  During his career, Wansborough booted a total of 167 goals, including tallies of 56 in 1956 and 69 the following year to top Perth's list.  He represented Western Australia 4 times, including 1 match (against South Australia) at the 1956 Perth carnival.   In 1999, Bert Wansbrough was placed on a half back flank in Perth's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Keith Warburton (Brighton & Carlton)

 

Described as "an acrobat in football boots" (see footnote 1), full forward Keith Warburton was one of the primary reasons behind Brighton's emergence as a post-war VFA power.  In 90 games for the Penguins he booted 317 goals, topping the competition's list with 101 in 1949.  With Warburton at the goal front, the Penguins attracted sizeable crowds to their games, and qualified for the finals for a club record-equalling three times in succession (see footnote 2).  In the 1948 grand final against Williamstown, Warburton was heavily concussed during the first half, but later returned to the fray to help his team to a 9 point triumph.

The 1951 season saw Keith Warburton at Carlton, where he hit the headlines with an opening round bag of 7 goals.  He went on to play 74 games in five seasons with the Blues, amassing 91 goals (including 48 in his debut year when he topped the club's list), but his career - and indeed his life - almost came to a premature end in 1952.  After playing in that season's losing 1st semi final against Fitzroy he attended a club dance during the evening, and collapsed.  It transpired that the cause was a hefty blow to the abdomen received during the course of the afternoon's game, and it was only after receiving several blood transfusions that he recovered.  Once his playing career was over, however, he had to have a kidney removed.

Footnotes

1.  The Pioneers by Marc Fiddian, page 124.  Return to Main Text

2.  Between 1926 and 1928 Brighton finished 2nd, 2nd and 3rd; in Warburton's time it was premiers (1949), followed by two consecutive third places.  Return to Main Text

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Alan Ware (Manuka)

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Nicknamed 'Darkie', Alan Ware played with distinction for Manuka and at senior representative level for Canberra during the 1930s.  He was the winner of the 1939 Mulrooney Medal.  A member of the first ever ACT schoolboys representative team in 1929, Ware made his senior debut for Manuka three years later.  Although not especially robust, his tremendous anticipation and superb marking ability made him a redoubtable opponent anywhere in the back lines, but especially in the two key defensive positions.  Twice selected as Manuka's best and fairest player, 'Darkie' Ware was also chosen in two Canberra representative teams, against Tasmania in 1938, and against New South Wales the following year.  Unfortunately, World War Two then arrived to nip his blossoming career in the bud, although he did return for one final season at Manuka in 1946, taking his final total of senior games to 158.

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Norman Ware (Footscray)

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Norm Ware was a clever and unusually pacy and mobile big man who contributed an enormous amount to the development of Footscray as a league force during the 1930s and 1940s.  As a ruckman, he was hard to beat in the air, but the fact that he also moved like a rover made him a doubly valuable player.  Later in his career he moved onto the forward lines with telling effect, topping Footscray's goal kicking list with 51 goals in 1942.

Recruited by Footscray from Sale, Ware made his VFL debut in 1932, and won the first of his five club best and fairest awards two years later.  Always scrupulously fair, he was held in the utmost esteem by his team mates, and earned the admiration of opponents.  He captained Footscray in 1940 and was captain-coach in 1941-42.  In 1941 he made history by becoming the first, and to date only, playing coach to win the Brownlow Medal.  At the age of thirty he was also, at the time, the oldest player to have won the Medal.

Ware's 199th and last VFL game was the 1946 1st semi final against Melbourne.  Footscray lost, but Ware went out in style, booting 4 goals for a final career tally of 219.

In 2002, Ware's importance in the history of Footscray was recognised when he was selected in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Donald Wares (South Fremantle)

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Ruckman Don Wares was a key member of the superb South Fremantle sides of the late 1940s and early '50s, playing a total of 107 league games for the club, including three winning grand finals.  He also represented a Western Australian no. 2 state side in 1947.  Wares made his senior debut when the WANFL reverted to senior competition after three seasons of under-age football in 1945.  He quickly stamped himself as a player of considerable promise by playing 18 of South's 23 matches for the year, including the losing grand final against East Fremantle.  Thereafter, until his retirement at the conclusion of the 1951 season, only injury prevented him from taking his place in the much-vaunted line-up.  The undoubted highlights of his career were his appearances in the aforementioned victorious grand finals, with his performances against West Perth in 1948 and 1950 earning him prominent mention in dispatches.  He was also better than serviceable in the 1947 defeat of the Cardinals.

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Tom Warhurst (Norwood)

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A solid, strong marking and eminently reliable key position defender who could also do a serviceable job on the forward lines, Tom Warhurst was a key player for Norwood both before and immediately after World War Two.  He debuted with the club in 1935, won a best and fairest award in 1939, and was captain for part of the 1940 season, which was his last before embarking on military service.  When full scale football resumed in 1945 Warhurst played a big part in helping the Redlegs emerge as a force.  In 1946 he was at full back, and one of his side's best players, in a 13.14 (92) to 9.10 (64) grand final defeat of Port Adelaide.  When he retired the following year he had played a total of 94 league games, plus 3 for South Australia.

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Ivor Warne-Smith (Melbourne & Latrobe)

 

Born at Lavender Bay, Sydney in 1897, Ivor Warne-Smith's football reputation was established in Tasmania and Victoria.  One of the most revered names in the football history of both states, Warne-Smith was actually something of a reluctant footballer.  After 8 games with Melbourne in 1919 he re-located to the Latrobe region of Tasmania, not because of football, but in order to take up share farming.  His football prowess was noticed during informal lunch time end to end kicking sessions at Atkinson's sale yards and he was invited to join Latrobe; however, because of the pressure of work on the farm it was not until midway through the 1920 season that he accepted the invitation.

During four and a half seasons with the Diehards he proved himself an accomplished footballer in all conditions and in a variety of positions.  In 1922 he took over as club coach and led the side to two flags in three years.  He also performed with distinction in inter-league games, winning the Parry Medal in 1924.

Warne-Smith returned to Melbourne as a twenty-seven year old in 1925 and his quick thinking, two-sided play made an immediate impact.  In 1926 he won the Brownlow Medal and, playing at centre, was one of the best players afield as the Fuchsias swamped minor premier Collingwood by 57 points in the challenge final to claim their first premiership since 1900. 

It was to be the only VFL flag of Warne-Smith's career.  However, he did win another Brownlow in 1928 to become the first dual winner of the award.

In recognition of his weighty contribution to Tasmanian football, Ivor Warne-Smith was, in June 2004, included in that state's official 'Team of the Century', having four years earlier being chosen at centre half forward in Melbourne's equivalent team.

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Danny Warr (Preston, St Kilda, Eastlake, Turner)

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Recruited from a local church side, rover Danny Warr made his senior debut with Preston in 1923 when the club was competing in the VJFA.  The side went top that year, and three years later rejoined the VFA after an absence of fifteen years.  Warr continued with the Bullants until 1928 when he crossed to VFL side St Kilda, where he made an extremely favourable impression in 37 games over two seasons, during which he booted 47 goals.  The 1930 season saw him undertaking the financially lucrative role of captain-coach of Rochester in the Bendigo League, but a yearning for a higher standard of football saw him back with Preston in 1931 where he continued for another six seasons.  Warr's entire VFA playing career comprised 144 senior games during which he kicked 317 goals.  It was a distinguished career, entailing Recorder Cup and club best and fairest trophy wins in 1934, and club leading goal kicker awards in 1932-3-4-5.  The only disappointment was probably his failure to play in a VFA premiership team.  Warr captain-coached the Bullants in 1935, and two years later embarked on another stint of coaching in the country, this time with Hampden League club Camperdown.  After the war, he coached Finley in 1946 before spending eight seasons in Canberra, coaching Eastlake (1947-50 and 1952-3) and Turner (1951).  His proudest moment was overseeing Eastlake's 1948 premiership victory, which came via a 22.16 (148) to 10.8 (68) mauling of Manuka.  Extremely highly regarded in ACT football circles, Warr coached Canberra representative teams in 1948, 1950 and 1951, and also served as a selector once his coaching career had finished.

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Jim Washbourne (East Perth)

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Dashing, reliable and extremely consistent, East Perth's Jim Washbourne was one of the finest half back flank specialists of his generation.  He made his debut for the Royals in 1945, and won the club's fairest and best award the following year.  In 1949 he made the first of an eventual 9 interstate appearances for Western Australia, and in 1950 finished third in the Sandover Medal voting.  For most of his career, East Perth tended to struggle, managing just one finals appearance between 1945 and 1955.  The second half of the 1950s, however, proved to be something of a golden age for the club and it contested every grand final between 1956 and 1961.  Jim Washbourne was there for the first two of these grand finals, the win over South Fremantle in 1956, and the loss to East Fremantle in 1957.  He was listed high among his team's best players after both games.  The grand final clash with Old Easts proved to be the last of Washbourne's 173 WANFL appearances.  His importance to the club was endorsed in 2006 with his selection on a half back flank in the Royals' official 'Team of the Century 1945 to 2005.

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Terry Waters (Dandenong & Collingwood)

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Terry Waters began his senior football career with Dandenong for whom, as a seventeen year old, he starred with 4 goals in the losing 2nd Division grand final of 1961 against Northcote.  Two years later, when the Redlegs achieved promotion courtesy of a hefty grand final win over Prahran, Waters, who had spent the majority of the 1962 season standing out of football in a bid to win a clearance to VFL club Collingwood, had moved on.  As a player with the Magpies he achieved virtually everything the game had to offer except for a premiership: the club captaincy in 1970 and part of 1971, a Copeland Trophy in 1966, All Australian selection after the 1969 Adelaide carnival, a near best afield performance in the losing grand final of 1966, and Collingwood's leading goal kicker trophy in 1963 (50 goals) and 1964 (43).  Highly versatile, he spent most of the early part of his career on the forward lines before transforming himself into a resilient, hard running defender who marked superbly whatever the conditions.  In all, he played 163 VFL games and booted 182 goals for the Woods between 1963 and 1972. 

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Alan Watling (West Perth)

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Extremely pacy and tenacious, Alan Watling was an important player for West Perth throughout his 284 game league career.  Initially used mainly as a wingman, he later developed into a fine ruck-rover.  Strong overhead, his disposal skills were impeccable, and he was a prominent contributor to the Cardinals' winning grand final efforts in 1969, 1971 and 1975.  Watling represented Western Australia on 5 occasions, earning All Australian selection after the 1972 Perth carnival.  In October 2000 he was named on the interchange bench in West Perth's official 'Team of the Century'.

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Colin Watson (Port Melbourne & St Kilda)

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After playing a handful of games with VFA side Port Melbourne in 1919, Colin Watson, who had been brought to the city from South Warrnambool by Roy Cazaly, crossed to St Kilda in the VFL where he went on to enjoy a highly illustrious, if stuttering, league career.  That stuttering began after just 3 games of his debut season when acrimonious in-fighting on the Saints' committee persuaded Watson to up stumps and return home to the country.  He returned to St Kilda in mid-1922, however, and soon treated football fans to the full range of his capabilities: stockily built, he was extraordinarily quick, both of mind and limb, and approached the game with a robustness which was as wholehearted as it was bereft of any kind of malice or spite.  Equally at home on the half back line or across the centre, Watson peaked in 1924-5, earning carnival selection for the VFL and a club best and fairest award in the former year, and scoring a resounding win in the Brownlow Medal in the latter.

In 1926, he accepted the position of captain-coach of Stawell, but the Saints, perhaps not surprisingly, refused to clear him.  After standing out of football for a year, Watson crossed to a different country club, Maryborough, without a clearance, and the Ballarat Football League was disqualified by the VFL as a consequence.  Watson stayed in the country, initially with Maryborough, and later with his original club, South Warrnambool, for seven years, but in 1933, aged thirty-three, he was enticed back to the 'big time' by St Kilda.  Quickly picking up where he had left off in his Brownlow Medal year, Watson was one of the Saints' best in 1933, and was included in the VFL state squad for the Sydney carnival.  In 1934 he captain-coached the Saints to 7th place on the ladder - their best return for five years - but after just one match of the 1935 season, which took his total number of VFL appearances to 93, the lure of the country proved too powerful, and he returned home for good.

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Jim Watson (Carlton & Fitzroy)

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Jim Watson was a solid and dependable defender who was a stalwart at Carlton for the better part of a decade.  After taking some time to establish himself, he earned a reputation as one of the VFL's finest full backs.  His Blues career entailed 91 senior games in 1921 and from 1923 to 1929.  Midway through the 1921 season he crossed to Fitzroy, where he added another half a dozen league appearances.  Watson was twice chosen to represent the VFL in inter-league matches.

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Tim Watson (Essendon & St Kilda)

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Indisputably one of Essendon's greatest sons, Dimboola-born Tim Watson made his senior league debut in 1977 aged just fifteen years and 305 days, making him the third youngest V/AFL debutant in history.  During the course of a seventeen season, 307 game career he was perpetually at the forefront of the game, winning Bomber best and fairest awards in 1980, 1985, 1988 and 1989, and helping the club secure three premierships.  He boasted tremendous pace and balance allied to finely tuned aggression and vigour, and his ball handling skills were second to none.  A regular Victorian state of origin representative, his best ever season came in 1989 when he ran third in the Brownlow Medal voting and picked up numerous media awards.  Two seasons later he temporarily retired, claiming his body had had enough, but he made a much vaunted comeback in 1993 when he was a steadying influence in a youthful Bomber combination that surprised many pundits by taking out that year's flag.

After finally retiring at the end of the 1994 season Tim Watson carved out an impressive media career for himself before returning to football briefly in 1999-2000 as senior coach of St Kilda.  After overseeing 10th and 16th place finishes, however, the 2001 season saw him resuming his media activities.

Watson was chosen as a ruck-rover in Essendon's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

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Keith Watt (Subiaco)

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Keith Watt was handed his league debut by Subiaco midway through the 1970 season and immediately stamped himself as a footballer of abundant promise.  Boasting lightning reflexes, immense drive and determination, and copious all round skills, there seemed little reason to doubt that the Lions had unearthed a future champion.  Ultimately, however, although he ended up playing state football, winning a club fairest and best award, and contributing to a premiership, it was hard not to draw the conclusion that he under-achieved.  When he retired from the game in 1978 at the age of just twenty-three he had played a mere 71 games.  Football, to Keith Watt, had never been anything more than a game, or a pleasing diversion, and one presumes he had little or no interest in buying into the football-as-business ethos that emerged during the 1970s.

During the early part of his career there was arguably no better rover in the WANFL than Watt, who had the rare ability to blow a game wide open in a few minutes of dazzling, blistering skill.  He was equally capable of blowing ice cold, however, a case in point being the 1972 season which saw him produce several displays of real genius interspersed with others that were so lack lustre that he ended up spending almost half the year in the reserves.

The crowning achievement of Watt's career was his form in the 1973 finals series, particularly the preliminary final and grand final.  In the former he was an almost universal choice as best afield as he contributed 3 goals to the Lions' 10 point defeat of East Perth; on grand final day he was even more damaging near goal, bagging 4 goals, and equally inspirational around the ground as Subi downed West Perth to claim their first flag in almost half a century.

Watt's form continued good in 1974, but after that he seemed to lose his way, or perhaps his interest, and was never quite the same player again.  He actually first announced his retirement in 1976, but was coaxed back for a final 9 games two seasons later.

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Ricky Watt (Collingwood, Coburg, Penguin, East Devonport)

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Although his achievements were by no means negligible, Ricky Watt's senior career with Collingwood was, to a considerable extent, a story of what might have been.  He commenced with the Magpies in 1963 while still aged just sixteen, and immediately impressed as a tall, pacy, confident all rounder who shaped as a champion full forward of the future.  Unfortunately, a series of severe injuries put paid to his entire 1965 season, and although he made a comeback he always faced an uphill struggle to maintain the high standards he had set himself.  For a time during the 1969 season he looked as though he might be putting the worst of his troubles behind him and, after being chosen to represent the VFL, he performed brilliantly at the the Adelaide carnival, from which he went away with an All Australian blazer.  Injury woes resurfaced in 1970, however, and his last game in a Collingwood jumper proved to be the 1970 losing grand final against Carlton (reviewed here) when he was named as nineteenth man.  After missing the entire 1971 season he resumed briefly with Coburg in the VFA in 1972, and then spent the ensuing season captain-coaching NWFU side Penguin.  Watt then moved to East Devonport, under the coaching of Graeme Lee, where in 1975 he was successful in winning both a Wander Medal and his club's best and fairest award.

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Rowland Watt (Essendon Association & Essendon)

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Originally from Rochester, Rowland Watt spent the 1921 season with Essendon Association, which proved to be the club's last.  In 1922 he crossed to Essendon in the VFL where he would become a member of the club's famed 'Mosquito Fleet' which formed the nucleus of the 1923 and 1924 premiership-winning combinations.  In the 1923 challenge final win over Fitzroy he was one of the Dons' best as a wingman; he also played many fine games both as a half forward flanker and a rover.  Despite standing only 163cm in height he was renowned as much for his aerial prowess as his ground skills, and he was also a fine kick.  When he retired in 1931 he had played a total of 140 VFL games and kicked 41 goals and had played in the 1924 premiership side as well as that of 1923.  Rowland Watt's younger brother Rod also played briefly with Essendon, and later for Coburg in the VFA.

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Roy Watterston (Newtown, Queanbeyan-Acton, Acton, Eastlake)

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Originally from the Perth district of Subiaco, Roy Watterston did not commence his senior football career until he was discharged from the army in 1946, by which time he was aged twenty-three.  On leaving the army he decided to settle in Sydney, and for six of the ensuing seven seasons he lined up for a Newtown side that had just won a premiership, and would go on to win the next five in succession as well.  Watterston was a member of the club's 1946-7-8 and 1950 flag-winning combinations, but in 1949 he captain-coached Griffin in the Riverina.  A regular New South Wales representative player, he captained the state at the 1950 Brisbane carnival.

The 1952 season saw Watterston join the recently formed Queanbeyan-Acton Combine in the CANFL, and after being appointed captain-coach the following season he was immediately successful in steering the side to a premiership.  In 1954 he repeated the dose but the next year, Watterston's last as captain-coach, the Combine lost a hard fought grand final to Manuka.  The 1956 season brought another flag with Watterston continuing as a player under new coach Lindsay White.  

According to 'The Canberra Times', Roy Watterston was "the best post-war player to have appeared in Canberra".  Despite standing just 185cm in height he played for most of his career as a knock ruckman, exhibiting a combination of great strength, fluidity of movement, tremendous kicking ability, and aerial prowess of the highest order.  He played in every Canberra representative side between 1952 and 1957, won Mulrooney Medals in 1953 and 1954, making him the first dual winner of the award, and was voted the Combine's best and fairest player in 1953 and 1955.  When the Combine was dismantled in 1957 Watterston continued his CANFL career with Acton before crossing to Eastlake in 1958 where he spent the final three seasons of his senior career.  In 1961 he captain-coached Eastlake's reserves to a flag. 

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Albert Watts (Midland Junction & Perth)

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Albert Watts was a sure-footed, reliable defender with a natural penchant for leadership.  He commenced his league career at Midland Junction, where he played a total of 22 senior games between 1914 and 1917.  He then moved to Perth, where he added a further 144 league appearances between 1919 and 1929, serving as captain in his final four seasons.  Between 1927 and 1929 he also coached the side.  The 1920s was an extremely bleak decade for the Redlegs, however, and only once, in 1920, did they even contest the finals.  The fact that Watts was scarcely to blame for this under-achievement was emphasised in 1926 and 1927 when he skippered the Western Australian state team to six wins from eight matches, including two victories in three games against the VFL.

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John Watts (East Perth, Geelong, Hobart)

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John Watts was a solidly built and robust defender and occasional ruckman who added a certain energetic toughness to East Perth's ultra-talented 1950s and early 1960s combinations.  He was at full back when the Royals won flags in 1956 and 1958-9, and while less conspicuous than the likes of Farmer, Kilmurray and Sheedy was arguably an equally important contributor to the wins.

Between 1954 and 1962 Watts played 166 league games.  He also represented Western Australia on a dozen occasions.  In 1963 he joined former East Perth team mate 'Polly' Farmer at Geelong, and his resolute style represented a critical addition to the mix in terms of the club's premiership credentials.  Watts was a key contributor from a back pocket as the Cats won that season's grand final against Hawthorn, the team widely regarded as the toughest in the VFL.

John Watts spent three seasons with Geelong, playing a total of 52 VFL games, before captain-coaching TANFL side Hobart between 1966 and 1968.  In his first season with the Tigers he steered them to a nerve-jangling 1 point grand final win over Glenorchy.  He was a key player throughout that years finals series, with his performances epitomised by some noteworthy fingertip marks in defence, and prodigious clearing kicks.  Watts played a total of 55 senior games while with Hobart, comprising 53 for his club, and two intrastate representative games for the TANFL.  In 1966, he was selected in Tasmania's squad for the Hobart carnival, but was forced to withdraw owing to injury.

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Neville Way (Boulder-City, St Kilda, Norwood)

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After playing with Goldfields league side Boulder City in 1940 and 1941 Neville Way played 8 VFL games for St Kilda while stationed in Melbourne in 1942.  However, he made his name as a follower/forward for Norwood where he played 87 games (including several for the Norwood-North Adelaide combined wartime team) between 1944 and 1950.  One of his finest performances came in South Australia's 52 point interstate victory over the VFL in 1945, to which he contributed 7 goals.  Way twice topped Norwood's goal kicking, and was a joint runner-up in the 1947 Magarey Medal, albeit that he finished 11 votes adrift in the voting behind the winner, Bob Hank of West Torrens.  Way's 9 interstate games for South Australia saw him bag a total of 19 goals.

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Hendrick Waye (Sturt)

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Renowned almost as much for his weekly sixty mile round trip by buggy from Willunga to Adelaide to play for the Double Blues as for his formidable rucking talent, 'Taffy' Waye won the 1903 Magarey Medal.  Many of his best performances came while representing South Australia in the interstate arena, which he did on 8 occasions.  A sound mark, and dangerous near goal, Waye was Sturt's top, or joint top, goalkicker on five occasions.  He played a total of 71 league games for the club between 1903 and 1910 having commenced his senior football with his home town club, Willunga.

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Tom Waye (Port Adelaide & Footscray)

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A tough, resolute big man who seemed to produce his best football when the chips were down, Tom Waye commenced his league career with Port Adelaide in 1929, and played 54 senior games for the club in three seasons.  Playing as a follower, he was one of South Australia's best players during the 1930 Adelaide carnival, piquing the interest of several VFL clubs as a result.  In 1932 he transferred to Footscray along with his Magpie team mate Les Dayman, and he went on to give the club four seasons of useful service, during which he played 53 games and booted 43 goals.  Both tallies would have been considerably higher had he not been sidelined so often with injury.

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Richard Wearmouth (Footscray)

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Richard Wearmouth joined Footscray from Rupanyup, and made his VFL debut as an eighteen year old in 1944.  Unable to play in 1945 because of military duties, he resumed with the club in 1946, and for the next seven seasons, playing mainly as a wingman, he was a key member of the side.  He boasted considerable pace and flair, and almost always used the ball impeccably.  When he retired in 1952 he had played precisely 100 VFL games, and kicked 27 goals.  His son, Ronnie Wearmouth, later played VFL football with Collingwood.

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Ronald Wearmouth (Collingwood)

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After displaying somewhat erratic form early in his league career with Collingwood, Ronnie Wearmouth developed into a fine rover, who excelled at many of the less glamorous aspects of the game, besides being an excellent crumber.  As the son of former Footscray player Richard Wearmouth he might have been expected to line up with the Bulldogs, but Magpie vice president Jim Crowe enticed him to Victoria Park.  He made his VFL debut in 1969, but did not become a regular in the senior side until the mid-seventies.  Pacy, energetic and deceptively robust, he was first rover in three Collingwood losing grand final sides, and represented the VFL against the ACT in 1978.  He retired in 1981 after 186 senior games, during which he kicked 127 goals.

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George Weatherill (Richmond)

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George Weatherill joined Richmond in 1919 and went on to play 53 VFL games and kick 5 goals over the ensuing five seasons.  Most of his football was played in the backlines.  In 1921 he was an ever present in the Tigers' victorious finals teams against Geelong in a semi final, and Carlton in both the final and challenge final (matches reviewed here).  

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Robert Weatherill (Richmond, Coburg, Prahran)

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Bob Weatherill was a talented and versatile footballer who played 72 VFL games and kicked 44 goals for Richmond between 1917 and 1923.  Strong overhead and a fine kick, he was at centre half forward in the club's challenge final victories over Collingwood in 1920 and Carlton in 1921 (match reviewed here).  When Coburg crossed from the VFL seconds to the VFA in 1925, Bob Weatherill was appointed as the club's captain-coach, and oversaw a promising debut season which produced 10 wins from 14 matches and finals qualification.  Coburg officials would have liked to retain his services in 1926, but because he ran a business based in Prahran, Weatherill requested a transfer to the Two Blues, which was reluctantly granted.  While with Prahran, he played under the coaching of former Richmond team mate Frank Harley.

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Athol Webb (Scottsdale, Melbourne, New Norfolk, East Launceston, Western Suburbs)

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Dynamic, elusive and skilful, Athol Webb was one of the finest crumbing forwards of the 1950s.  He commenced his senior career with Scottsdale, whose best and fairest trophy he won in 1953.  In 1955 he was recruited by Melbourne where, after a slow start, he developed into an important member of the side.  His 146 VFL goals included 5 in the grand final win over Collingwood in 1956, and 3 in the following year's defeat of Essendon.  He also played against Collingwood in the losing grand final of 1958.  Coach Norm Smith would typically use Webb as a decoy full forward, with a bigger, strong marking player such as Bob Johnson alongside him in a forward pocket.  He topped the Demons' goal kicking list in 1956, with 56 goals, and in 1957 (jointly with Ron Barassi) with 44.  Returning to Tasmania in 1960, Webb initially played with and captain-coached New Norfolk (1960-61), before rounding off the Tasmanian phase of his career in a similar role at East Launceston (1962-3), where he hit the headlines after sustaining a serious back injury during the 1963 season.  He later moved to Sydney, where he coached Western Suburbs.  Athol Webb had earlier played interstate football for Tasmania against the Australian Amateurs in 1954, and in the famous win against the VFL in 1960 (reviewed here), as well as for the VFL against his home state in 1957.

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Lindsay Webb (East Devonport & Devonport)

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With the probable exception of Darrel Baldock, East Devonport has been home to no more colourful, dynamic and noteworthy footballer than Lindsay Douglas Webb, who played in the region of 250 senior games with the club over the course of four separate stints.  The most significant and longest of those stints came during the first decade after World War Two, commencing in 1946 when he was a member of the club's 12.13 (85) to 10.19 (79) grand final defeat of Burnie.  In 1947, Webb was a member of Tasmania's Hobart carnival team, and the following year, as East Devonport's vice-captain, he helped the club procure another premiership.

A vibrant and sometimes volatile character, controversy was seldom far from Webb, and during the 1951 season it erupted in full force during a match between East Devonport and Burnie when he was reported for allegedly striking field umpire Lloyd Digney.  Found guilty, Webb not surprisingly was sentenced to a lifetime ban, but twelve months later this was surprisingly reduced to just two years.  Webb, who had been coaching East when suspended in 1951, returned as a player during the 1953 season, and then took over as coach once more in 1954, a season which saw him chosen to represent Tasmania against the Australian Amateurs.  The following year he was responsible for handing a senior debut to a fresh-faced sixteen year old  youngster known as Darrel Baldock.  At the time, however, Webb was still the Swans pre-eminent football personality, having just won his third club best and fairest award.  In 1956 he crossed to Devonport where his season was highlighted with selection in Tasmania's side  for the Perth carnival.  The 1957 season saw him back at East Devonport where he played on for three more years before announcing his 'retirement'.  However, he could not resist the lure of league football, and returned twice more, in 1964 and 1966, before hanging up his boots for good.  Runner-up in the Wander Medal on two occasions, Webb also won the Alstergren Trophy, awarded to the NWFU's best player in each year's intrastate competition, in 1953.  One imagines he would be an almost certain inclusion if East Devonport were ever to announce either an official club 'Team of the Century' or 'all time best' combination.

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Reynolds Webb (Collingwood)

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A busily effective rover or forward, Reynolds Webb was a key player for Collingwood during the first half of the 1920s.  Recruited from Collingwood District, he played a total of 84 VFL games and kicked 65 goals between 1921 and 1926.  He was first rover in the challenge final loss to Fitzroy in 1922, and again three years later against Geelong, when he was one of the Magpies' best.  Webb represented the VFL against New South Wales in 1925.  

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Peter Webster (Carlton)

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Courageous and adaptable, Peter Webster carved out a useful VFL career for himself with Carlton despite suffering from a weakness of the heart.  He played under-age and seconds football with the club before making his senior debut in 1953, and went on to play a total of 97 games and kick 6 goals over seven seasons.  For much of his career he played in defence, where his brilliant overhead marking, sound kicking and fine sense of anticipation showed up to good effect.  However, he could also perform serviceably on the ball, and even on occasion on the forward lines.

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Kingsley Arthur Wedding (Norwood)

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Cumbersome and ungainly on the ground, a mediocre mark, rated only a 5-1 shot even to connect with the ball when attempting a kick (see footnote 1), and only likely to trouble your grandmother in 100 metre foot race if given at least a 50 metre 'start', 'Big Bill' Wedding nevertheless won five consecutive Norwood club champion awards, and was arguably the single biggest factor in South Australia's resurgence at interstate level during the period 1960 to 1965 (see footnote 2).  The reason?  Bill Wedding was, quite simply, one of the greatest knock ruckmen ever to play the game.  Approaching football with the exuberance and delight of a child with a favourite toy, Wedding regularly beat the likes of Farmer, Nicholls, Schultz and Clarke in the interstate arena, and was rarely seriously challenged at home.  Early in his career he was somewhat one-dimensional in approach, thumping the ball 20 or 30 metres forward from every single ruck contest, a strategy that was all too easy for opposition sides to counter, but during his peak years he became equally adept at palming the ball directly to his rovers.  Despite being a heavy smoker, he seemed to boast abundant stamina, and if his impact in general field play was sometimes negligible this was more than compensated for by his matchless pre-eminence in the ruck.

Wedding's prowess saw the re-emergence for a time, particularly in interstate matches, of the lost art of ruck shepherding, whereby opposition teams would often double or even triple-team Wedding, with the supplementary ruckmen being instructed to remove 'Big Bill' from the contest by whatever means were possible.

Always modest and self-effacing, Bill Wedding quietly retired from league football in 1968 after playing 214 matches in twelve seasons, plus 19 interstate games for South Australia.  In 1958, just as his senior career was getting underway, 'Big Bill' had won the seconds Magarey Medal.  The years since his retirement may not have been especially kind to his memory - away from the Parade, at any rate - but at the time he was playing he was widely - and rightly - acknowledged as among the pre-eminent knock ruckmen in Australia.

Bill Wedding passed away after a long illness in July 2007, three months short of his seventy-second birthday.

Footnotes

1.  According to his former state colleague Neil Kerley, as quoted in Knuckles: The Neil Kerley Story by Jim Rosevear, page 57.  Return to Main Text

2.  South Australia's success rate during that six year period was 63.1%, which compares extremely favourably with Western Australia's (35.3%), and is not far short of the VFL's (70%).  According to 'The SANFL Football Budget' of 11/5/66:

......Wedding - more than most people realise - has been the chief factor in South Australia's ability to beat Victoria and Western Australia over the past six years.  Until he brought his 6.5½ height and bulk (15 st. 3 lb.) into action, SA's rucks were so often outreached and outweighed it was no joke."  Return to Main Text

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Sydney Ween (West Torrens & Port Adelaide)

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Syd Ween commenced his league career with West Torrens, but found it extremely difficult to break into the senior team on a regular basis.  When the blue and golds won their first flag in 1924, Ween was named as a reserve for the grand final clash with Sturt, which in those days simply meant turning up ready to play in case one of the selected players suddenly became available.  Needles to say, Ween ended up watching the match from the sidelines.

In 1926, Torrens cleared Ween to Port Adelaide, and after taking a couple of seasons to find his feet he developed into a handy player.  In ten years with the Magpies, he played 134 league games, besides representing South Australia twice at the 1930 Adelaide carnival.   He was highly thought of at Alberton, and served as vice-captain from 1929 to 1931 and in 1934, and as captain in 1932 and for part of the 1933 season.  He was a member of Port's winning challenge final of 1928 against Norwood, and finished a commendable third in the Magarey Medal voting in 1931.

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Murray Weideman (Collingwood & West Adelaide)

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Probably best remembered today as Collingwood's much loved (and much loathed) 'enforcer' of the late 1950s and early 1960s, during the early part of his career Murray Weideman was actually more renowned for his aerial ability.  He made his VFL debut in 1953, and was on the bench for that year's grand final, in which the Magpies downed Geelong.  Weideman's more brutal side only really emerged later in the 1950s as he filled out physically and began to assume more of an on-field leadership role.  When regular Collingwood skipper Frank Tuck was injured and unavailable for the 1958 grand final against Melbourne, Murray Weideman stepped into his shoes and took to the responsibility as though born to it.  His deliberate and continuous intimidation of his star Melbourne opponent Ron Barassi was a major factor in the Magpies eking out a shock 3 goal win.

Weidemann was much more than just the footballing equivalent of a hit man, however.  He won the Copeland Trophy for Collingwood's best and fairest player in 1957, 1961 and 1962, and was regularly among the Magpies' best players in important games.  In 1964, after 180 VFL games and 262 goals, he accepted a job captain-coaching Albury in the Ovens and Murray Football League.  After four seasons there, during which he steered his side to the 1966 premiership, he accepted a similar job with West Adelaide, which had been in the doldrums since the early 1960s.  Weidemann promptly got the Blood 'n Tars into the finals, but they bowed out at the first hurdle against North Adelaide.  They did slightly better in 1969, reaching the preliminary final before losing to Glenelg, but then Weideman opted to retire as a player.  Without his inspirational on-field presence, Westies seemed to lose their way, finishing 6th in 1970, and 8th in 1971, after which 'The Weed' packed his bags.  He made a brief return to coaching in 1975 with his old club Collingwood, but after a solid debut season which spawned an 11-9 record and 5th place on the ladder, the wheels fell off in spectacular fashion in 1976 as the club plummeted to its first ever wooden spoon.

It is as a player, however, that Murray Weideman will be best remembered, and his selection at centre half forward in Collingwood's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century' should help ensure that his feats continue to be celebrated for many years to come.

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Dale Weightman (Richmond)

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Tenacious, fleet of foot, and highly skilled, Dale Weightman's 1985 Tassie Medal was fitting reward for a player whose performances in a 'Big V' jumper were seldom other than exemplary.  During a time when his club, Richmond, was suffering something of an ignominious decline, Weightman appeared increasingly to regard interstate fixtures as being effectively equivalent to finals football, and he approached games against Western Australia and South Australia with the same intensity, pride and determination as he had the 1980 VFL grand final against Collingwood.

Always a highly effective and eye catching interstate performer, Weightman - known popularly as 'the Flea' - was at his peak in 1985, a season which saw Victoria re-establish its pre-eminence in the interstate arena after several seasons playing second - or even third - fiddle (see footnote 1).  Given a proverbial armchair ride by the consummate supremacy in the ruck of his Richmond team mate Mark Lee, Weightman cut both South Australia and Western Australia to ribbons in successive near best afield performances.

Dale Weightman's achievements as a player, which include triple All Australian selection and two Richmond best and fairest awards  in addition to his Tassie Medal, are all the more remarkable when you consider that he suffered from diabetes - not that anyone watching him play with such energy, verve, determination and aggression could ever possibly have guessed.

Footnotes

1.  Ironically, however, Victoria was stripped of its title after a technical indiscretion by coach Kevin SheedyReturn to Main Text

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Neville Weller (Windsor-Zillmere)

by Murray Bird and Peter Blucher

A foundation member of the Windsor-Zillmere club as an eleven year-old in 1963, Neville Weller went on to play 200 games for the Eagles as a hard-running, rugged and mobile ruckman.  Despite not being blessed with exceptional kicking skills, he compensated in other areas and was an uncompromising competitor.  Weller was a member of Zillmere's first premiership side in 1975, before a stint with Richmond reserves in 1976.   He failed to settle in Melbourne, and returned home mid-season as the Eagles completed back-to-back flags.  He picked up another premiership in 1981, and played 16 times for Queensland between 1970 and 1979, almost invariably being listed among the best players.

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Sean Wellman (North Adelaide, Adelaide, Essendon)

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Sean Wellman began his league career with 4 games for North Adelaide in 1991, but he was then forced to miss the entire 1992 season with a back injury.  He bounced back with a solid 1993 season which saw him play 18 senior games, and elicited the attention of Adelaide.  Wellman embarked on an AFL career with the Crows in 1994, performing solidly as a key position player.  He played 34 games and kicked 9 goals in two seasons with Adelaide before moving to Essendon, where his career blossomed.  Strong, assured and resolute, he developed into one of the best and most consistent defenders in the competition.  In 1998 he ran second in the Dons' best and fairest award, and he enjoyed another excellent season two years later when he was a key contributor to the club's premiership win.  When Essendon lost the 2001 grand final to Brisbane, Wellman was one of his side's best players.  He achieved AFL All Australian selection the same year, having previously earned the honour in 1998.  He retired at the end of the 2004 season having played a total of 178 AFL games and booted 25 goals for the Bombers.

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Greg Wells (Melbourne & Carlton)

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A supremely talented on-baller or centreman, Greg Wells joined Melbourne from Bentleigh and served the club with distinction in 224 VFL games, kicking 251 goals, between 1969 and 1980.  Chunkily built, courageous and resilient, he won Demons' best and fairest awards in 1971 and 1976, and topped the club's goal kicking list in 1975 with 32 goals.  He was Melbourne's captain in 1977 and 1978.  Midway through the 1980 season, without being given any advance warning, he was unceremoniously cleared to Carlton, with the Demons benefiting to the then unprecedented tune of $200,000.  Wells spent two and a half seasons with the Blues, during which time he played 43 games and kicked 24 goals.  He was centreman in Carlton's 12.20 (92) to 10.12 (72) grand final victory over Collingwood in 1981.  Greg Wells was chosen to represent Victoria in the interstate arena 5 times.

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Jack Wells (Rovers, Perth, Kalgoorlie City, St Kilda, Carlton, North Melbourne)

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Nicknamed 'Balla', Jack Wells made his WAFA debut with Rovers in 1898, and had played 11 games for the club by the time it disbanded midway through the following season.  At that point, along with several of his team mates, he crossed to Perth, which had been admitted to the WAFA as Rovers' replacement.  An accomplished all round footballer, he could play with equal effectiveness on the forward lines, across centre, or in the ruck.  The last of his 57 games with Perth was the losing 1904 premiership decider against East Fremantle.  Wells finished as Perth's top goal kicker that year, kicking at least 17 goals (records are incomplete), which included a then club record 11 in a 25.24 (174) to 3.3 (21) annihilation of Subiaco.  The 1905 season saw Wells performing with consistent brilliance for Goldfields Football Association side Kalgoorlie City, and at the end of the year he won the competition's fairest and best award.  Between 1906 and 1914 he plied his trade in the VFL, initially with St Kilda, for whom he played 39 games in an injury-interrupted four seasons, and then with Carlton, where his 66 games included the losing challenge final of 1910 against Collingwood.  A VFL interstate representative on 4 occasions, Wells was actually appointed state captain for a match against South Australia in 1912, but was forced to withdraw from the side owing to injury.  Renowned as an astute and inspirational on-field leader, he captained St Kilda in 1907 and part of 1908, and the Blues in 1912 and 1913.  The last phase of his senior career took place at VFA side North Melbourne in 1915 where he played a handful of games before the Association went into mothballs at the end of the season because of the war.

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Peter Welsh (Footscray)

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Footscray's Peter Welsh was an aggressive, resolute and talented ruckman or key position player in 165 VFL games from 1968 to 1978.  Powerful overhead, he was sometimes let down by his kicking, which was poor in technique, and of variable effectiveness.  Nevertheless, he was good enough to win the Bulldogs' best and fairest award in 1972, and he also represented the VFL.

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Max Wenn (Oakleigh & Carlton)

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Max Wenn was a talented half forward from Berwick who was a key figure in Oakleigh's 1950 and 1952 premiership-winning sides.  Recruited by Carlton, he quite impressed during a 26 game, 38 goal stint in 1953-4, but was then surprisingly released.  Despite allegedly being chased by several VFL clubs he opted to return home to Oakleigh. 

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Henry 'Leo' Wescott (Collingwood, Longford, Prahran, Sandringham)

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Invariably known as 'Leo', Henry Wescott was a late starter in league football, being already twenty-two years of age by the time he made his VFL debut with Collingwood in 1922.  Solidly reliable, and an excellent kick, he played most of his 143 game senior career with the Magpies in the back pocket, from which position he contributed to the 1927 final and 1929 challenge final defeats of Richmond.  After spending the 1930 season with NTFA side Longford, where he won the Tasman Shield Trophy as the competition's best and fairest player, Wescott resumed with the Magpies in 1931 and played on for two final seasons.  After coaching Kyneton in 1933 he was appointed captain-coach of VFA side Prahran where he held the reins for five seasons, the last two in a non-playing capacity.  Under Wescott, the Two Blues contested the grand finals of 1936 and 1937, winning the latter game at the expense of Brunswick.  When the side dropped to 4th in 1938 Wescott had a difference of opinion with club officials which precipitated his departure to Sandringham, where he served as coach until midway through a disastrous 1941 season that ended with the Zebras rooted to the bottom of the ladder, without a win from their 20 matches.  It was undoubtedly not the climax to his coaching career that 'he would have wanted, but the fact is that cold statistics sometimes belie the truth, which in this case is that 'Leo' Wescott was highly regarded at Sandringham for his efforts to lift the club, efforts which might be seen as belatedly bearing fruit with the Zebras' march to the 1946 premiership.

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Roy West (Geelong)

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Geelong's 1963 premiership full back Roy West initially arrived at the club from Stawell with a reputation as a top quality centre half forward.  However, after failing to impress in that position with the Cats he was shifted to the last line of defence where his impact was immediate and considerable.  In addition to starring for Geelong in that position he represented the 'Big V' against South Australia, and there were considered to be few better exponents of the position during his career, which comprised 108 VFL games and 1 goal between 1961 and 1967 (although he missed the entire 1965 season with a back injury).  Unlike most other VFL full backs of his era he relied less on strength than on a combination of speed, great anticipation, and a prodigious spring.  He was also a fine drop kick.  His last game in a Cats jumper was the losing grand final of 1967 against Richmond when he was one of his side's best players.  In 1968 he returned to Stawell as captain-coach.

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Jack Whelan (Brunswick)

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A powerful mark, and an extraordinarily deft and clever palmer of the ball, Brunswick's Jack 'Silver' Whelan was one of the best VFA ruckmen of his day.  He skippered the VFA at the 1950 Brisbane carnival even though he was not captain of his club at the time.  His clashes with Port Melbourne's Frank Johnson were always highly memorable, with Whelan seldom doing less than breaking even in these encounters.  Tragically for Brunswick, a disagreement over money in 1951 led to Whelan's premature departure from the club, and he played out the remainder of his career in country football.

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Ken Whelan (Sturt)

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Sturt full forward Ken Whelan's league career lasted ten seasons, but is best remembered for a halcyon three year spell from 1973 to 1975 which produced 295 goals, including two centuries.  Both prior to and after those three seasons, however, Whelan struggled even to make the Sturt side, as his overall tally of just 126 SANFL games - which spawned 441 goals - confirms.  

Very much a confidence player, Whelan's best was devastating.  He booted 10 goals in a match on three occasions, for example.  An excellent and sometimes spectacular high mark, he habitually finished his work with deadly accuracy, but was sometimes susceptible to being pressurised out of a game.  It is also only fair to point out that he suffered more than his share of injuries, particularly later in his career.  One such injury put paid to his chances of helping the Blues defeat Port Adelaide in the 1976 grand final.  Two years earlier, Whelan had contributed 2 of Sturt's 9 goals from full forward as it edged out Glenelg in the first ever Football Park grand final by 15 points. 

Whelan's only interstate appearance for South Australia was at Football Park in 1974 when he booted 3 goals in a 20 point defeat of Western Australia.

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Marcus Whelan (Collingwood)

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Collingwood recruited Marcus Whelan from Darley in the Bacchus Marsh and Melton Football League, and he made his senior VFL debut in 1933.  For most of his twelve season, 173 game war-interrupted career he was a centreman, but later on he played in various defensive positions with equal effectiveness.  Although short in stature, he was an excellent overhead mark, and his kicking was superb.  There was a touch of class to everything he did, and his Brownlow Medal win in 1939 was scarcely surprising.  Whelan landed the Copeland Trophy (awarded to Collingwood's best and fairest player) the same season.  After missing the 1943-4-5 seasons while on war service, Whelan resumed with the Magpies in 1946, and continued to perform to a high level until his retirement at the end of the following season.  He represented the 'Big V' three times.

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Ted Whelan (Port Adelaide)

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Ted Whelan, who played 248 games for Port Adelaide between 1948 and 1961, plus 20 interstate matches for South Australia, was an old school ruckman-defender of the resolute, socks down, heart on the sleeve variety, who in many ways personified the Fos Williams coaching philosophy.  The first Magpie player to reach 200 league games, he also enjoyed the rare distinction of captaining South Australia despite never being appointed captain of his club.  This almost unique situation arose during South Australia's injury-ruined 1958 carnival campaign: by the time of the state's third match of the series against Tasmania, the selectors were without Fos Williams (captain), Neil Davies (vice-captain) and Lindsay Head (deputy vice-captain), and as Whelan was the most experienced member of the party who remained fit, they turned to him to skipper the side.  It was a distinctly unmemorable experience for the Port champion, however, as Tasmania scored an upset 2 point victory.

Although he spent the majority of his career either rucking or resting in a back pocket, Whelan could also provide a useful marking option on the forward lines, as his career tally of 91 goals appears to affirm.  He played in all seven of Port's premiership sides during the 1950s and was almost invariably listed among the best players.  Indeed, in both 1956 and '57 he was many observers' choice as the best player afield.

For much of his career, Ted Whelan combined with Lloyd Zucker and Fos Williams to give the Magpies the most formidable 1st ruck combination in the state.  This 'team within a team' was widely regarded as the single biggest factor in the club's sustained period of pre-eminence, in much the same way as the Kelleway-Reval-Quinn combination had been a couple of decades earlier. 

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Bill Whicker (Port Adelaide)

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Bill Whicker was a useful wingman and half forward who played 119 league games for Port Adelaide between 1931 and 1940.  Although the Magpies boasted many players of his type, Whicker was a regular member of the side for much of that period, and played in the grand final wins of 1936 (over Sturt) and 1937 (against South Adelaide).  He served as club vice-captain in 1938, and represented South Australia once.

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Mel Whinnen (West Perth)

 

Throughout his eighteen season, 371 game league career Mel Whinnen's name was synonymous with both fair play and brilliance, the dual attributes which inform the voting for most of the top awards in Australian football.  Given this, it is somewhat ironic that, although he came close several times (see footnote 1), he never once landed the supreme individual honour in Western Australian football, the Sandover Medal.  He more than made up for this, however, by winning West Perth's club champion award, the Breckler Medal, a record nine times, emphasising that he was not merely brilliant, but consistently so.

Indeed, it was arguably the fact that Whinnen could invariably be relied upon to perform at or near his best that distinguished him from the comparatively large group of players who warrant the description 'good', and made him instead a bona fide champion.

Whinnen was fortunate enough to play in a premiership in his very first season with the Cardinals, coming on as nineteenth man for Don Marinko in a 32 point win over arch rivals East Perth.  His contributions to West Perth's victorious grand final teams of 1969 and 1971 were somewhat more auspicious, while in the 1975 grand final, nearing the end of his career, he was awarded the Simpson Medal for best afield in the Cardinals' 104 point annihilation of South Fremantle.

Always a sublimely elegant footballer, it was perhaps appropriate when, in 1976, Whinnen became one of a select band of players to be awarded an MBE.  He retired a year later after West Perth lost the 1977 preliminary final to East Fremantle.   It is doubtful if Leederville was ever home to a more prodigious talent.

Footnotes

1.  Whinnen was runner up in the Sandover twice, to Barry Cable in 1964, and Dave Hollins in 1971.  In addition, he came 4th in 1972, and 5th in 1963 and 1966.  Back to Main Text

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Ray Whitaker (Port Adelaide)

 

Although his league career was comparatively short, Ray Whitaker was, for a time, unquestionably one of the leading rovers in South Australia.  He made his senior debut with Port Adelaide in 1949, and immediately stood out from the crowd as a player of considerable artistry and brilliance.  He was the sort of player who always seemed to have ample time to do whatever he wanted with the ball.  Between 1949 and 1953 and in 1955 he played a total of 79 SANFL games, kicking 104 goals.  He won Port's best and fairest player award in 1952, and topped the club's goal kicking the following year with 35 goals.  A carnival player for South Australia in 1950 at Brisbane and 1953 in Adelaide, Whitaker played a total of 14 interstate matches.  He was a member of the Magpies' grand final team against North Adelaide in 1951, and was one of the best players afield in an 11 point win.

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Alan White (North Adelaide, South Adelaide, Swan Districts)

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Renowned for his high fitness ideals, Alan White came from a boxing background, and perhaps as a consequence was the quintessential head-down, straight through footballer who invariably seemed to come to the fore when the play got willing.  He boasted all the trademark qualities of the good rover - pace, smooth ball handling ability, good, two-sided disposal skills, and considerable resilience - but somewhat perversely only seemed capable of given them full rein under the coaching of Neil Kerley.  He began with North Adelaide's Colts side in 1954, while still aged just twelve, but his progress after that was slow, and he did not make his league debut until 1961.  He managed 3 senior games that year, but when he could not break into the league side in 1962 he sought a clearance to South Adelaide.  The Roosters refused, but when he again failed to make the grade the following year they eventually relented.  White's arrival at South coincided with that of Neil Kerley as captain-coach, and under 'The King' White's career blossomed.  He was a key player for the Panthers in the 1964 grand final defeat of Port Adelaide, and between 1964 and 1966 he was widely acknowledged as one of the foremost rovers in the state.  In the last minor round game of the 1966 season he sustained a horrific injury against Port Adelaide and was required to have his spleen removed, and it is perhaps no coincidence that his form thereafter declined markedly. Nevertheless, he remained with South for another two seasons, by which time he had made a total of 94 senior appearances for the club.  He rounded off his career in Western Australia where he played 15 games for Swan Districts in 1969 and 1970 without ever managing to recapture his best form.  While with South, White had represented South Australia twice.

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Barry White (South Fremantle)

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Barry White burst onto the league scene in 1952 when he played in all 23 of South Fremantle's matches for the year, culminating in the grand final defeat of West Perth, when he lined up on a half forward flank.  He went on to enjoy the rare distinction of playing in a premiership team in each of his first three seasons as South triumphed in the 1953 grand final against West Perth and again twelve months later at the expense of arch rivals East Fremantle.  White by that stage had acquired a reputation as one of the best small men in the game, a rating he would reinforce with 16 interstate appearances and 28 goals for Western Australia, including games at both the 1956 Perth and 1958 Melbourne carnivals.  His South Fremantle career, which ran from 1952 to 1958 and 1960-1 comprised 160 games.   Consistently effective and damaging, he was perhaps a trifle unfortunate never to claim the club's fairest and best award, running second in both 1955 and 1957 and third in 1958

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Darryl White (Darwin, Brisbane, Mt Gravatt)

 

Originally from Alice Springs club Pioneers, dazzling utility Darryl White enjoyed an illustrious, 267 game AFL career at Brisbane between 1992 and 2005.  Capable of both the spectacular and the straight forward, White became one of several on field leaders in the Lions' formidable line up.  His deceptive strength combined with an extraordinary ability to get high off the ground enabled him to compete with taller, heavier opponents, while his pace and assurance at ground level made him equally adept when confronted by smaller, running types.

During his time with NTFL club Darwin, White represented the Territory in its 1992 Australia Day game against Geelong.

Although individual honours have eluded him, he was somewhat unfortunate in season 2000 when he led the Lions' best and fairest count after 16 rounds only to suffer a hip injury which kept him out for the remainder of the season; he eventually finished 4th in the count.

Despite not being prominent in terms of disposals, he performed an important defensive role for Brisbane in its 2001, 2002 and 2003 premiership sides.

Once his AFL career was over, White resumed with Darwin in the NTFL, which operates during the summer months, as well as playing for AFL Queensland club Mt Gravatt in the winter.

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Leslie White (Essendon & St Kilda)

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Pacy, assured and ultra reliable, Les White was one of the finest half back flank specialists of his day.  Essendon recruited him from Hawthorn Rovers, and he made his VFL debut in 1910.  The following season saw him suffer the disappointment of missing the Dons' winning grand final against Collingwood, but in 1912 he made amends by helping the team to successive flags with a 5.17 (47) to 4.9 (33) challenge final win over South Melbourne.

When Essendon went into temporary mothballs because of the war in 1916 White had played 75 games in six years and was at his peak.  Two years later, when the Dons resumed, he might reasonably have been expected to have a good deal of football left in his legs, but he fell out with the club committee, and refused to play.  Instead, he went through the long-winded process of seeking a clearance to St Kilda, but when this was finally granted in 1920 White was no longer the same player that he had been prior to the war.  After an aborted stint with the Saints in 1920 he tried again four years later, but overall added just 3 games to his aggregate tally.

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Lindsay White (Geelong, South Melbourne, Queanbeyan-Acton)

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Fast on the lead and strong overhead, Lindsay White was one of the most effective full forwards of the 1940s.  He showed he was a player of great potential in his debut season of 1941 when he booted 67 goals in a Geelong side that managed just 3 wins for the year.  In 1942-3 White played temporarily for South Melbourne while Geelong was in recess owing to wartime travel restrictions.  He continued his progress while with South, amassing 80 goals in 1942 to top the league list, and booting 111 goals in all in 25 games.  Returning to Geelong in 1944 he developed into a firm favourite among the club's fans because of his outstanding aerial ability and superb drop kicking.  He topped the Cats' goal kicking list in 1944, 1947, 1948 and 1949, with the 1947 season being especially profitable as his tally of 86 goals was good enough to head the VFL's list for a second time, and he won a club best and fairest to boot.  He remained a consistent and popular performer at Geelong until a painful achilles tendon injury forced his retirement midway through the 1950 season after 117 VFL games and 429 goals for the club.  Lindsay White later spent the 1956 as captain-coach of Queanbeyan-Acton in the CANFL.  He not only led the side to a premiership, but kicked his 100th goal for the season in the grand final win over Manuka.

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Robin White (South Adelaide)

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One of South Adelaide's finest players during the Haydn Bunton era, Robin White was a resourceful and courageous half back flanker and occasional centreman who racked up a total of 154 senior games between 1978 and 1985.   Very much a team-orientated player, The 1983 Football Times Yearbook, in noting his victory in the previous year's club best and fairest award and simultaneous almost complete failure in the Magarey Medal, remarked that "his single-minded determination to win the ball at all costs will always be of great value to a club, and yet, more often than not, will be overlooked by the men in white".

Originally from West Gambier, Robin White played Teal Cup football for South Australia and, towards the end of his SANFL career, represented the state's senior side on a couple of occasions.

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Sid White (Norwood & Sturt)

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Originally from Kadina, Sid White commenced his league football career with Norwood in 1912, winning the club's best and fairest award in 1913 and 1914.  In the seasons immediately following World War One he became a regular member of South Australian interstate teams, donning the state jumper on 8 occasions.  He took over as Norwood skipper in 1921 and was widely regarded as "an entirely satisfactory leader.  Not only (did) he direct the team well........he invariably (played) a determined and skilful game, coming through the crushes in great style." (See footnote 1.)  During five seasons as captain he led the Redlegs to three premierships.  Not for nothing is the first half of the 1920s at Norwood often looked back on as 'the Sid White Era' (Walter Scott's similarly significant contribution notwithstanding).  When he retired as a player in 1925, he had played a total of 145 SAFL games.

White later coached Sturt for over a decade, steering the Blues to three grand finals and the 1932 flag.

Footnotes

1.  From 'The SA Footballer', 19/8/22, page 17.  Return to Main Text

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Charles Whitehead (Sturt & St Kilda)

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A consistently effective, strong marking ruckman with a keen goal sense, Charlie Whitehead was an important player for Sturt in 124 senior games between 1924 and 1931, and in 1933 and '34.  He booted a total of 134 goals.  In 1932 Whitehead played 9 VFL games and kicked 9 goals for St Kilda, which sadly for him meant he missed participation in the Double Blues' premiership triumph of that year.  He did, however, make a significant contribution to the side's 1926 challenge final win over North Adelaide when, together with his older brother Reg and Bill Martin, he helped ensure that Sturt had winning rucks for most of the day.  A South Australian carnival player in both 1927 at Melbourne, and at Adelaide three years later, Charlie Whitehead made a total of 11 interstate appearances, kicking 16 goals.

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Reg Whitehead (Sturt)

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As the immediate successor to Tom Leahy as the acknowledged premier ruckman in South Australia, Reg Whitehead inevitably attracted comparisons, many of them not strictly favourable, at least initially.  This is hardly surprising, as Leahy was one of those extraordinarily rare individuals who achieved legendary status while still playing.  As Whitehead's career went on, however, it soon emerged that he, too, was a fine ruckman, if not quite in Leahy's class - who is? - then arguably only a rung or two below the very top bracket.  Despite being somewhat wiry and lightweight in build, he was extremely, sometimes excessively, physical, perhaps feeling that he needed to impose himself in order to acquire the respect of his often heftier opponents.  He led Sturt's rucks between 1919 and 1928, during which time he played 122 senior games, and kicked 48 goals.  He was a key member of Double Blue premiership sides in 1919 and 1926, and captained the club during his final season.  For much of his Sturt career he played alongside brother Charlie, an equally accomplished, if rather more attacking, ruckman.  Originally from Mitcham, Whitehead was often described in the contemporary press as dominating in the ruck in matches against the VFL - a far cry from how things would become in later years - and rarely put in a bad match during an interstate career that saw him play 20 times for South Australia, kicking 13 goals.  Reg Whitehead would doubtless have come under serious consideration for inclusion as first ruckman in Sturt's official 'Team of the Century', a position which eventually went to Rick Davies.

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Malcolm Whitford (North Adelaide & South Adelaide)

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Malcolm Whitford not only possessed extraordinary pace, he knew how to use.  While with North Adelaide he was often instructed to run with the ball at every opportunity, a license he clearly relished, and undertook with considerable success.  Despite standing 191cm in height he was typically used on a wing or a half forward flank - not at all unusual these days, of course, but almost unprecedented in the 1950s and '60s, when Whitford was playing.  Between 1956 and 1962 he played a total of 104 SANFL games for North, highlighted by an appearance on a half forward flank in the 1960 grand final win over Norwood.  In 1964 he was enticed back to league football by South Adelaide's newly appointed coach, Neil Kerley, and added another 34 senior games before retiring for good in 1967.

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Ted Whitten senior (Footscray & Williamstown)

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Few footballers have given as much to the game as Edward James Whitten.  First as a player, in 321 games for Footscray and 29 for his beloved 'Big V', but perhaps even more significantly in the quarter of a century which elapsed between his retirement as a player and his death in 1995, as one of Australian football's few genuine living icons.

However, it was his achievements as a player which constituted the seed-bed out of which such legendary status grew.  After being rejected by Collingwood (in whose zone he resided) in 1950 on the grounds that he lacked bulk, Whitten was free to turn out with his boyhood heroes at the Western Oval.  His debut in 1951 has gone down in football folklore.  Opposed by renowned hard man Don 'Mopsy' Fraser of Richmond the young Whitten politely offered his hand prior to the opening bounce only to receive a sharp kick in the ankles in return.  Undeterred, Whitten goaled after marking early in the 1st term, an act of insolence which did not go down at all well with 'Mopsy' whose retaliation this time was even more pronounced - suffice to say that Whitten had much to reflect upon that night as he lay in his hospital bed!

E.J. Whitten was nothing if not a quick learner.  He soon realised that the best way to achieve success in the sport he loved was to intimidate rather than be intimidated, and if 90% of this was bluster it nevertheless could not mask the fact that he was also a supremely gifted - and tough - exponent of the game.

Aside from participating in Footscray's famous 1954 premiership win, Whitten did not enjoy much success at club level during his career.  (This included a disastrous 1975 season spent coaching 1st division VFA club Williamstown.  The Seagulls managed just 4 wins from 14 home and away matches, which consigned them to last place and relegation to 2nd division.) His volatile personality and fondness for back-chatting meant that he seldom fared well with the umpires when it came to Brownlow votes: equal 3rd, half a dozen votes off the pace, in 1959 was his best effort.  This perhaps in part explains his excessive partiality for interstate football - a predilection all the more remarkable when you bear in mind that many Victorians at the time regarded the interstate arena as redundant given the VFL's unarguable supremacy.  Whitten, however, liked nothing better than to remind the other states of that supremacy, a feat he achieved in 27 of the 29 interstate matches he played.  So fanatical was Whitten's devotion to interstate football, both during and after his playing career, that to many his name is synonymous with the big white V, an emblem tantamount to the Holy Grail to many South Australian, Western Australian and Tasmanian footballers of the twentieth century.

An emblem which, sadly, was probably consigned to posterity at more or less the same time as the mortal remains of Edward James Whitten.  Both the emblem and the man played significant roles in the history of the greatest sport on earth, however, and as such deserve to be feted and acclaimed as long as the sport is played. 

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Alvan Whittle (East Perth & West Perth)

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Alvan Whittle was something of a rarity among footballers in that his league career took in successful spells at two of the Western Australian game's fiercest rivals, East Perth and West Perth.  He began with the former club in 1940, and had played 20 senior games in two seasons when the WANFL senior competition was suspended owing to the war.  Whittle did not resume his career until midway through the 1946 season, but when he did it was not with the Royals, but with their arch nemesis, for whom his six season, 101 game stint included three grand final appearances.  He enjoyed premiership success only once, however.  Solid and capable as a follower, he really came into his own when used as a tall option on the forward lines.

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