WANFL: Royals Overcome Flag Favourites
In 1977 East Perth had just scraped into the four before being comfortably accounted for by West Perth in the first semi. Shortly afterwards, in somewhat controversial circumstances, Graham “Polly” Farmer was displaced as coach and the position handed to Barry Cable, whose name was synonymous to Royals supporters with arch rivals Perth, for whom he had played 225 senior grade games.
In 1978 Cable was nearing the end of an illustrious playing career in which, in addition to his time with Perth, had involved 116 VFL games for North Melbourne (116 games) as well as the 1966 Tassie Medal, three Sandovers and no fewer than eight club fairest and best awards; Cable, who had been an ardent Royals supporter as a boy, now had a burning ambition to coach a premiership team, but two thirds of the way through the season it appeared he would have to wait at least a little while longer to realise that ambition as the Royals languished in sixth spot with only 6 wins from 14 games. Victory in each of the final 7 home and away matches of the season was essential if the club was to have any realistic hope of contesting the finals - and, sensationally, this is just what was achieved, with the side actually gaining the double chance on percentage after a 9 point triumph over West Perth in the last round.
East Perth suffered their first defeat since round fourteen in the second semi final when reigning premiers Perth confirmed their flag favouritism to the tune of 29 points. This was followed, however, by a 112 point annihilation of South Fremantle in the preliminary final a week later, and there was not surprisingly a mood of considerable optimism in the Royals camp prior to the grand final re-match with the Demons.
The 1978 grand final was the fifth since 1966 to feature East Perth and Perth, and ominously all four previous clashes had gone the way of the Demons. This time, however, the Royals showed great resolve in atrociously wet conditions to run out winners by 2 points, 11.15 (81) to 12.7 (79). Ruck rover Ian Miller won the Simpson Medal for best afield, while East Perth were also well served by wingman Kelly, ruckman Duke, centre half back Bryant, and centreman Kickett. Barry Cable had thus achieved his ambition at the first time of asking, but it would be a long time before Royals fans could again rejoice after a grand final.
Perth were also about to embark on an even longer period in the football wilderness with the Demons failing to contest a single grand final between 1979 and 2015. Not that there were any signs of the club’s impending decline in 1978. Perth finished the minor round at the head of the ladder with 15 wins out of 21 games before, as mentioned above, comfortably overcoming East Perth in the second semi final. For the grand final re-match a fortnight later the Demons were without star full forward Murray Couper who had been twice reported during the second semi, found guilty of one of the charges, and suspended. In the event Couper’s absence did not significantly damage Perth because his replacement at the goalfront, Peter Bosustow, kicked 7 of the Demons’ 12 goals to be his side’s best player.
In a photo finish to the 1978 minor round South Fremantle leapfrogged Claremont to claim fourth place on the ladder despite losing their last game to bootom team Swan Districts. The Tigers also lost their final game, and both they and the Bulldogs finished level on wins with South claiming the last finals berth thanks to a 0.1 percentage superiority. The Bulldogs recaptured their best form in the firdst semi final when they accounted for West Perth by 13 points, a margin which scarcely did them justice as they had been comfortably in control all day. The wheels came off quite spectacularly in the preliminary final, however, with East Perth annihilating South by 112 points. Up until late in the second quarter the match had been evenly contested but then the Bulldogs inexplicably capitulated.
For the second season in succession South Fremantle’s Ray Bauskis was the league’s top goal kicker. He scored 82 goals.
Had West Perth defeated East Perth in the last minor round game of the season then they, not the Royals, would have qualified for the finals in second place. East Perth in fact would have missed the finals altogether as their percentage was inferior to that of both South Fremantle and Claremont. An immense crowd of 24,567 attended the match, played at Leederville Oval, with East Perth edging home by 9 points, 11.19 (85) to 11.10 (76).
As noted above, Claremont only narrowly failed to reach the major round. The Tigers were an accomplished side, capable on their day of beating any other team in the competition, but they lacked consistency, and never managed to put in a prolonged sequence of victories.
Beaten 1977 grand finalists East Fremantle suffered a disappointing slump, winning just 10 out of 21 fixtures to finish sixth. Their 10 wins came in the opening seventeen rounds but then the wheels fell off in pretty conclusive fashion and they nosedived out of the four.
For the most part Subiaco (5 wins) and Swan Districts (4) were little better than chopping blocks for the league’s other teams. Subiaco did manage to defeat high flying West Perth a couple of times but other than that their performances and results were wholly predictable and unremarkable. Swans best result, as mentioned earlier, came in round twenty-one when they accounted for South Fremantle by 19 points.
Phil Kelly commenced his league career with East Perth in 1975. After a slow start, he came good in 1978 under the coaching of Barry Cable. Kelly later admitted that Cable had inspired him to much greater levels of commitment and motivation, and this paid off handsomely in the form of Sandover Medal wins in both 1978 and 1979, together with the club's 1979 fairest and best award. Playing on a wing, Kelly was one of the Royals' best in their 1978 grand final win over Perth. He could also do a job on the ball, and knew how to kick goals, amassing a total of 73 in his 109 senior appearances for East Perth. In 1981 he crossed to North Melbourne where, after a fine start, his form fell away owing to a persistent hamstring complaint. He played 61 VFL games and booted 41 goals for the 'Roos in five seasons. He also represented Western Australia 6 times. In June 2006, Phil Kelly gained selection as a wingman in East Perth's official 'Team of the Century 1945 to 2005'.
SANFL: Redlegs Back From the Brink
After seeing his side finish fourth in 1976 and fifth in 1977 Norwood coach Bob Hammond was determined that, in 1978 - the club's centenary year - the players' assault on football's “holy grail” should be absolute, exhaustless and unswerving.
It was. Indeed, a Hollywood script writer could not have concocted a more heroic scenario than that which unravelled over the concluding weeks of the 1978 SANFL season. Having sustained just 1 loss for the year, and having won most of its games by substantial margins, Sturt was almost unbackable for the flag. Norwood, which had lost 7 times, figured in few pundits' post-season calculations, and when it succumbed 'inevitably' to Sturt in the second semi final (having earlier played well in the qualifying final to overcome Glenelg) no one other than the most ardent, one-eyed Redleg barracker would have given more than a few cents for the team's chances of taking out the '78 premiership.
Just as three years earlier Norwood faced arch rivals Port Adelaide in the preliminary final, and despite falling behind early on it ultimately emerged victorious by 34 points. Bob Loveday, skipper of the West Adelaide team which had inflicted the Double Blues' only defeat of the season, felt he had seen enough in the Redlegs' display to prompt him to “go against the tide” in tipping the destiny of the flag:
".....I think Norwood's win over Port last week will be a real confidence booster for them. It was such an efficient win. They were about five goals down at one stage but they didn't panic. They methodically put their game together and the players have obviously got a lot of confidence in each other. Man for man, Norwood can match Sturt. The only deficiency in Norwood's team as I see it is a spearhead. But they've got more overall experience.....enough experience to win the grand final." 
The 1978 SANFL grand final, played in front of 50,867 spectators, was one of the most dramatic, emotional and exciting games in Australian football history. With the aid of a strong breeze Sturt comprehensively dominated affairs in the opening term but poor kicking for goal meant that it led by 'only' 28 points at the first change, 5.9 to 1.5. The Redlegs rallied somewhat in the second quarter, adding 4.5 to 3.6, but the Double Blues still looked to be in charge, and although they continued to kick poorly in the third term (adding 4.6 to 4 straight goals) there was nothing in the general pattern of play to suggest that Norwood, trailing as they did by 29 points at lemon time, and having managed just 19 scoring shots compared with 33, could turn things 'round in the final term.
In the opening five minutes of the last quarter, however, Norwood exploded into life. Goals by Craig, Gallagher and Adamson gave notice that the game was far from over, and when Greg Turbil chipped in with 2 more to bring the Redlegs within a single straight kick of their opponents' score Football Park was at fever pitch. Minutes later John Wynne, who earlier in the match had careered into the Sturt coaching box and attempted to intimidate opposition coach Jack Oatey, booted the goal which put the Redlegs in front. From here on a game which hitherto had flowed freely suddenly became tense and tight, with scoring at a premium. Tony Burgan's goal after twenty-four minutes finally broke the deadlock, propelling Sturt back into the lead, but five minutes later Phil Gallagher kicked what proved to be the final goal of the game after being somewhat fortuitously awarded a mark by umpire Des Foster. The game dragged on for another four minutes during which the Double Blues threw everything they had at the Norwood defence, but with backline players like Danny Jenkins and Michael Taylor performing heroically, there was no addition to the score. Impossibly, seemingly against all the odds, Norwood had won by the narrowest of margins, 16.15 (111) to 14.26 (110). Best for the Redlegs was young skipper Michael Taylor, with other fine performances coming from Neil Craig, Brian Adamson, Mick Nunan (ironically, a former Sturt champion), Neil Button and Glen Rosser. For coach Bob Hammond and the 5,000 or so supporters who gathered at Norwood Oval on the evening of the match the celebratory champagne probably never tasted better.
Sturt’s defeat in the 1978 grand final, and more particularly the manner of it, arguably scarred the club for decades. At any rate, the Double Blues, who had been at the forefront of the South Australian game since the mid-1960s, would not again achieve premiership success in the twentieth century. Sturt appeared virtually invincible for much of the 1978 season with their only minor round defeat coming in round six at the hands of West Adelaide. The Blues then moved straight into the grand final with a deceptively straightforward 22 point win over Norwood in the second semi final. Then came that dramatic and heart-rending capitulation at the hands of the Redlegs a fortnight later.
Reigning premiers Port Adelaide qualified for the finals in fourth place with a 14-8 record, the same as third placed Glenelg who bloasted a 0.03 superior percentage. In the elimination final, before a bumper crowd of 35,320, they annihilated sentimental favourites West Torrens to the tune of 78 points, 22.15 (147) to 9.15 (69). This was followed a week later by a come from behind 2 goal win over Glenelg in the first semi final. In the preliminary final against Norwood, however, the Magpies failed to capitalise on an excellent opening quarter performance which saw them boot 6 goals to the Redlegs’ 2 and in the end they went down by 34 points. It would prove to be but a brief blip in an era of concerted dominance for Port, however. A minor highlight of the season for the Magpies was full forward Tim Evans’ feat in topping the SANFL goal kicking list for the second time in a row. He kicked 90 goals.
Third after the minor round, Glenelg disappointed in the finals, losing the qualifying final to Norwood by 54 points and the following week’s first semi final to Port by a couple of goals.
Tigers rover Kym Hodgeman was a worthy winner of the 1978 Magarey Medal. One of Glenelg's greatest ever products, Hodgeman gave some indication of his promise in 1974 when he won the reserves Magarey Medal, despite spending half the season in the senior team. From 1975 he was a regular in the Bays' league side, and rapidly established a reputation as a courageous and skilful goal kicking rover of the highest order. A club best and fairest winner in 1977 and 1978, Hodgeman also topped the club's goal kicking list with 51 goals in 1978, and 32 the following year. The highlight of his first stint with Glenelg came with his popular Magarey Medal win in 1978; in the first season of the short-lived two umpire voting system, Hodgeman finished with 50 votes, one more than Port Adelaide champion Russell Ebert. A regular South Australian interstate representative, he achieved All Australian selection after the Perth state of origin carnival of 1979.
In 1981, after 160 games for the Tigers, Kym Hodgeman crossed to North Melbourne, where he continued to excel, playing 91 VFL games and kicking 133 goals in five seasons, besides winning the club's 1984 best and fairest award.
Returning to the Bay in 1986, Hodgeman played in a long overdue premiership in 1986, and continued playing for another four years. When he finally retired he had amassed 244 SANFL games for the Tigers, and booted 411 goals. He won a third club best and fairest award in 1989. Appointed senior coach at Glenelg in 1991, he steered the side to a losing grand final the following year, after which he stood down in favour of Tony Symonds.
West Torrens produced some good football during the minor round to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1974 and only the third occasion in a decade. Their victims in the minor round included Norwood in round two by 30 points and round ten by 31 points, Glenelg in round twelve by 35 points, and Port Adelaide in round fifteen by 39 points. However, once the battle for the premiership began in earnest on elimination final day their form deserted them and they succumbed quite meekly to Port by an embarrassing 13 goal margin.
With 9 wins from 22 games Woodville finished 1 win behind fifth placed West Torrens. The ‘Peckers combined some good wins, notably against Port Adelaide at Alberton in round eight and Glenelg at home in round sixteen, with a number of sizeable losses of the sort to which the club’s supporters had become accustomed, and perhaps inured, during the preceding decade and a half.
South Adelaide won 8 games and drew with West Adelaide to finish seventh. With the exception of a round twenty triumph against Glenelg the Panthers proved incapable of toppling any of the league’s top sides but they were consistently successful against the sides ranked lower than them on the premiership ladder. They did have some cause for celebration in 1978 as they scored a noteworthy triumph in the NFL series, sponsored this year by Escort, and featuring clubs from South Australia, Western Australia and the VFA, together with representative teams from Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT> In the final South Adelaide defeated Glenelg by 37 points, 9.9 (63) to 3.8 (26).
Central District managed just 8 wins, but this was nevertheless a distinct improvement over a 1977 season which had yielded three fewer victories and a wooden spoon. The Bulldogs were still one of the competition’s easy-beats, however, and it was hard to see how this situation might change in the immediate future.
West Adelaide (5 wins and a draw) and North Adelaide (5 wins) were significantly inferior in 1978 to the other clubs in the lead. West’s highpoint came with the aforementioned win over minor premiers Sturt, while the North’s form was almost universally poor. It was the Roosters’ first wooden spoon since 1912, and only the third in their history. The triumphant days of the early part of the decade seemed like a distant memory.
VFA: Two Blues Triumph
Prahran's 1978 flag came after prolonged sequence of “outs” and was popularly received. The Two Blues were underdogs going into the grand final against Preston but played more resolute football throughout to win a spectacular, high standard game by 22 points, 21.15 (141) to 17.17 (119). Future and former VFL stars Wayne Johnston and Sam Kekovich played well across half forward for the victors as did full forward Kim Smith (7.4) and ruckman Lou Pepe. The match, played at the Junction Oval, was attended by a sizeable crowd of 30,569, but this would be the last occasion that the VFA proved capable of attracting spectators in such numbers. In 1979 the VFL began its policy of playing Sunday fixtures in Sydney. These games were shown 'live' on television back in Melbourne, thereby effectively eroding the VFA's monopoly on Sunday football. From being a respectable complementary draw-card to the VFL the VFA was forced into direct opposition almost overnight, and there was never any doubt about which of the two bodies would emerge victorious.
The Year of “Peerless Pete”
The 1978 TANFL season was dominated by one man: Glenorchy full forward Peter Hudson. A year after making a successful return to VFL football with Hawthorn, Hudson rejoined Glenorchy and broke virtually every goal kicking record going. During league roster matches he booted 142 goals with his total for all matches an Australian record 191. For good measure, he also won the Leitch Medal as the league’s best and fairest player. Hudson’s spectacular form was perhaps one reason that TANFL attendances increased from 139,393 in 1977 to 188,204 this year.
Despite Hudson’s presence in the side Glenorchy did not manage to take out the 1978 flag. That honour went to Sandy Bay, who overcame the setback of a second semi final loss to the Magpies to win when it mattered in the grand final by 11 points. It was the Seagulls’ third successive premiership victory.
The state preliminary final saw Sandy Bay overcome NTFA premiers North Launceston but NWFA premiers Cooee proved much too good in the grand final, winning 19.25 (139) to 16.17 (113). This would prove to be the last time the Tasmanian state premiership was contested as thoughts began to move towards the establishment of some type of statewide competition.
Interstate Match Round-up
After a successful first venture into state of origin football in 1977 Victoria and Western Australia played one another in this format both home and away with the Vics triumphant on both occasions. Their winning margins were 100 points in Melbourne and 14 points in Perth.
A Western Australian team also travelled to Adelaide where they thrashed South Australia by 69 points. This was not a state of origin encounter.
A VFL representative team visited Hobart and trounced Tasmania 25.11 (161) to 18.6 (114). Another such team travelled to Canberra and comfortably overcame the ACT 21.21 (147) to 12.11 (83). Also in Canberra, the ACT upset Tasmania in a thriller by 4 points. Scores were ACT 17.7 109) defeated Tasmania 16.9 (105).
Queensland played home matches in Brisbane against the VFA and Tasmania and clearly demonstrated just how fast the game in the sunshine state was improving. Against the VFA, Queensland won by 30 points, 18.14 (122) to 12.20 (92), while they downed the Tasmanians 16.9 (105) to 12.11 (83), a victory margin of 22 points.
New South Wales had just one outing in 1978, losing a high scoring match to the ACT at Narrandera. Final scores were ACT 26.17 (173) to New South Wales 17.12 (114).
On the club front the NFL again conducted a nationwide competition which was contested by five SANFL clubs, four clubs from Western Australia, three from the VFA, and representative teams from the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. South Adelaide overcame Glenelg by 37 points in the grand final.
Premiership Teams in Other States and Territories
Beaten in both the 1976 and 1977 NSWAFL grand finals North Shore broke through for their first premiership since 1961 when they overcame Western Suburbs by 29 points in the 1978 play-off. The other finalists were St George and East Sydney.
In Queensland, Western Districts won their second consecutive flag thanks to a 4 point win over a wayward Windsor-Zillmere. Scores were Western Districts 17.11 (113) to Windsor-Zillmere 14.25 (109).
Eastlake were crowned ACTAFL premiers after downing Ainslie by 24 points in the grand final. It would turn out to be the eighteenth and last of the Demons’ senior grade premierships.
In Darwin, St Marys won the NTFL premiership with a comfortable 23 point defeat of North Darwin in the grand final.
 Quoted in “The South Australian Football Budget”, 30/9/78.
Grand final results - VFL: Hawthorn 18.13 (121) d. North Melbourne 15.13 (103); SANFL: Norwood 16.15 (111) d. Sturt 14.26 (110) [See GREAT GAMES section]; WANFL: East Perth 11.15 (81); Perth 12.7 (79) [See GREAT GAMES section]; VFA: Division One - Prahran 21.15 (141) d. Preston 17.17 (119); Division Two - Frankston 15.13 (103) d. Camberwell 13.11 (89); TANFL: Sandy Bay 11.14 (80) d. Glenorchy 9.15 (69); NTFA: North Launceston 14.12 (96) d. Launceston 11.17 (83); NSWAFL: North Shore 17.17 (119) d. Western Suburbs 14.12 (96); NTFL: St Marys 15.17 (107) d. North Darwin 13.6 (84); QAFL: Western Districts 17.11 (113) d. Windsor-Zillmere 14.25 (109); NWFU: Cooee 20.11 (131) d. Wynyard 13.30 (108); ACTAFL: Eastlake 19.23 (137) d. Ainslie 16.17 (113); NFL: South Adelaide 9.9 (63) d. Glenelg 3.8 (26).
East Perth's Phil Kelly
BACK TO: Season Reviews 2
A Review of the 1978 Football Season
VFL: All Hail Hawthorn!
Hawthorn suffered the by now familiar premiership hangover in 1977, finishing third under new coach David Parkin. A year later things reverted to what was increasingly coming to seem like normality. After finishing in second spot on the ladder at the end of the home and away rounds, Hawthorn scored victories over Collingwood in the qualifying final and North Melbourne in the second semi to win through to their third grand final in four seasons. The opposition was once again provided by North Melbourne and, just as in 1976, the Hawks proved much too accomplished; after a hiccup or two in the second quarter they raced away to a commanding 22 point lead at three quarter time, and the fact that a few late goals brought North to within 18 points at the end did nothing to disguise the fact that Hawthorn had been eminently comfortable winners. Young Robert Dipierdomenico, without the handle bar moustache which would become his trademark in later years, starred on a half back flank to be most people's choice as best afield; he was closely followed by Leigh Matthews, who bagged 4 goals in a typical all action roving display, full back Kelvin Moore, ruck rover Michael Tuck, and centreman Terry Wallace.
David Parkin had made a quick impact as coach and, at least in part, this may have been due to the fact that, while he shared his predecessor Kennedy's passion for fitness and hard work, in terms of personality he was very different. Whereas Kennedy was very much the disciplinarian, whose word was law, Parkin adopted a more modern, consensus based approach in which the views of players were always welcome. Initially at least, this proved effective, but over the longer term it is at least arguable that the players, or some of them at any rate, abused their newfound freedom, becoming less fit and focused as a consequence. Perhaps Parkin’s ideas were ahead of their time.
By contrast, North Melbourne under veteran coach Ron Barassi relied on an approach which, whilst scarcely old fashioned, nevertheless emphasised the role of the coach as authoritative leader rather than mentor. That such a coaching style could still prove effective was un deniable. North won 16 out of 22 home and away matches to qualify for the finals in first place. Hawthorn, however, proved to have their measure - just - winning the second semi final by 14 points and the grand final by 3 goals. In between the Kangas were comparatively untroubled by Collingwood in the preliminary final with their ultimate winning margin of 12 points not fully reflecting their superiority.
Flamboyantly talented North utility Malcolm Blight was the winner of the 1978 Brownlow Medal. Originally from Woodville with whom he had won the 1972 Magarey Medal Blight went on to spend adecade with North Melbourne where he became arguably the most celebrated South Australian to transfer to the VFL up to that point. His record while in Melbourne is worth summarising:
The bare facts reveal nothing of the artistry, power and genius of Blight's play, however. Thankfully, his career coincided with the onset of the video age, and so a fair number of his more memorable feats have been recorded for posterity.
If Malcolm Blight the player was among the greatest to have adorned the game, Malcolm Blight the coach was no slouch either. After proving himself the most successful coach in Woodville's brief and predominantly ignominious history, he steered a hitherto under-achieving Geelong side to three grand finals, before returning home to South Australia and masterminding the first two premierships in the history of the Adelaide Crows. A brief stint at St Kilda was less successful, but his achievements with the Crows would doubtless have been sufficient to earn him the keys to the city of Adelaide for life.
As for the Magpies, they at least had the satisfaction of recording a finals win over arch rivals Carlton. In front of 91,933 spectators at the MCG they led throughout en route to a 15.18 (108) to 13.15 (93) first semi final triumph. They were no match for Hawthorn and North, however, losing the qualifying final to the former by 56 points - the biggest winning margin of the finals series - and, as mentioned above, the preliminary final to the latter by a couple of goals.
Carlton’s run-in to the finals had featured excellent wins against Hawthorn, Collingwood and North but they failed to reproduce such form in the finals, although they did manage a comfortable enough victory over Geelong in the elimination final. The Cats, however, were only really in the finals to make up the numbers, a feat they achieved by a whisker thanks to a round twenty-two defeat of Fitzroy. The unlucky team to miss out on finals participation were St Kilda who finished half a win behind Geelong. Having won away against both Hawthorn and North Melbourne during the minor round the Saints might arguably have made a better fist of finals involvement than the hapless Cats.
Although Richmond were only pale shadows of the team which had won successive flags in 1973 and ’74 they remained quite hard to beat on the wide open spaces of the MCG which was suited to their long kicking, hard running style. Only Hawthorn registered more points for during the minor round than the Tigers, but their defence was the third worst in the league. Richmond boasted some excellent young players such as Jim Jess, Geoff Raines and 1978 debutant Dale Weightman and many Tiger fans were confident about the future. They would not be disappointed.
After eighteen home and away rounds South Melbourne, who were 9-9, were just a couple of points behind fifth placed Richmond. However, they failed to win another game to finish a highly disappointing eighth.
Ninth placed Fitzroy and tenth placed Essendon were separated only on percentage with both teams managing just 8 wins. The Lions’ most noteworthy home and away victory probably came in round eighteen when they won a high scoring thriller against eventual premiers Hawthorn by a point. They also won the VFL night premiership with a 13.18 (96) to 2.8 (20) grand final trouncing of North Melbourne. The Bombers meanwhile managed to win both of their minor round clashes with Carlton.
It was a dismal season for Footscray who dropped from seventh place in 1977 to eleventh spot this year. Despite their consistently poor performances, however, the Bulldogs managed to provide the VFL leading goal kicker in the shape of Kelvin Templeton, who booted 118 goals. When he joined Footscray from Traralgon in 1974 Templeton was already a league footballer in all but name. Possessing in substantial measure all the traditional skills of the top class key position forward - quick and combative at ground level, strong overhead, and a resplendent kick of the football over any distance up to 60 metres - Templeton was idolised by Bulldog fans throughout his nine season, 143 game career with the club. Those 143 games elicited 494 goals, including tallies of 118 in 1978 and 91 the following year to top the VFL's goal kicking ladder. Templeton also topped Footscray's goal kicking list in 1976-7 and 1980. His greatest 'day out' came when Footscray kicked its record VFL score of 33.15 (213) against St Kilda in 1979, with Templeton contributing 15.9.
Kelvin Templeton's best season in football was undoubtedly 1980 when he not only won his second Footscray best and fairest award but the Brownlow Medal as well, the latter achievement being comparatively rare for a key forward. A regular 'Big V' representative, Templeton played in both the 1979 and 1980 state of origin championship series.
After captaining Footscray for the first time in 1982 Templeton was lured to Melbourne the following year in what was reputedly a big money transaction. Persistent niggling injuries undermined his effectiveness while with the Dees, but he still managed 99 goals in 34 games over two seasons, including 51 in 1984 to top Melbourne's list.
After retiring as a player, Templeton worked for Sydney for a time as a skills coach.
Templeton was named at centre half forward in the Bulldogs’ official Team of the Twentieth Century.
Melbourne meanwhile fared even worse than the Bulldogs, winning the same number of games - 5 - as the previous season but finishing last compared to eleventh in 1977.
Kym Hodgeman (Glenelg)