Monday, 30 October, 2008

AFL Queensland tonight launched the Queensland Australian Football Hall of Fame, honoring 150 players, coaches, umpires, administrators, teams and events in the game’s 150th year in front of a sell-out black tie crowd of700 at the Gabba.

The 150 inaugural inductees included the 100 nominations for the Queensland Team of the Century, chosen in 2003, plus the five nominations for the Coach of the Century, and the Umpire of the Century.

In addition, a further 40 have been chosen from other parts of the football family to recognise their outstanding service and contribution, and for ability, sportsmanship, integrity, commitment and character. And there were seven inaugural ‘Legends’ named to further recognise their extreme high achievement. The legends were:-

·         Arthur Collinson – A long-time administrator considered to be the forefather of the game in Queensland in the early 1900s. In a 35-year stint he held every senior position with the Queensland Football League. Was also an umpire.

·         Harry O’Callaghan – A 50-year servant as player, coach, umpire and administrator from the 1920s to the ‘70s. Had close ties with South Brisbane Football Club before helping to form the all-conquoring Windsor Football Club and serving for 22 years as the Queensland delegate to the National Football Council.

·        Dick Verdon - Fullback in the Queensland Team of the Century, he was a homegrown 240-game champion with Sandgate and Coorparoo, State captain and coach and 20-year football servant in Hervey Bay and Mackay.

·        Tom McArthurQueensland Umpire of the Century who officiated in a national record 502 senior games from 1950s to the ‘80s and this year was the first resident Queenslander inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.

·        Jason Dunstall – Originally from Coorparoo, he was a Hawthorn champion who ranks third on the all-time AFL goal-kicking list and was the first Queenslander inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.

·        Leigh Matthews – Hawthorn champion and AFL Team of the Century member who did so much to elevate the standing of the game in Queensland as coach of the Brisbane Lions triple premiership sides of 2001-02-03.

      Michael Voss – Originally form Morningside, he was captain of the Queensland Team of the Century, Queensland’s first Brownlow Medalist and captain of the Brisbane Lions triple premiership sides of 2001-02-03.

Dunstall flew from Melbourne to attend the evening with Matthews, Voss and McArthur, who capped off a massive year following his AFL Hall of Fame induction. Verdon travelled down from Mackay, while AFLQ officials are still searching for a family member of O’Callaghan, originally from Victoria who died in the 1980s.

The crowd, enjoying the festive spirit of the occasion expertly hosted by Bart Sinclair and Ken Hose, was the biggest ever to attend a function in the Legends Room at the Gabba.

Inductees were chosen from throughout Queensland. Regional inductees included:

  • Cairns – Reg Lillywhite (A 33-year administrator of AFL Cairns), Wayne Brittain (first Queenslander to coach in the AFL), Craig Brittain (Grogan Medalist, four-time AFLQ premiership coach), Troy Clarke (ex-Bears player, AFLQ Development Manager).
  • Townsville – John Durkin (President of AFL Townsville).
  • Mackay – Ian Burrill (A 30-year administrator with AFL Mackay).
  • Rockhampton – John Broad (A 25-year administrator with AFL Capricornia).
  • Hervey Bay – Owen Backwell (Dual Grogan Medalist and 300-game Western Districts rover), Grant Staunton (A champion local player).
  • Sunshine Coast – Bill Magin  (A 600-game playing icon), Don Smith (300-game Sandgate champion and dual Grogan Medallist), Dean Warren (Gympie Grogan Medalist and AFL National Participation Manager).
  • Toowoomba – Bill & Marj Shaw – founding members of AFL Darling Downs

Among a host of Gold Coast inductees were ex-Brisbane Lions stars Marcus Ashcroft, Clark Keating and Matthew Kennedy, ex-Bears captain and Lions coach Roger Merrett, Southport Football Club president Dr Alan Mackenzie, Sharks heroes Jason Cotter, Craig Crowley, Zane Taylor, Peter Guy, Norm Dare, No.1 AFL draftee Nick Riewoldt and ex-Geelong AFL champion Bill Ryan.

The Gabba was inducted as the home of football in Queensland, while special teams inducted were the 1974-75 Queensland State side, which beat Tasmania for the first time to lay a platform for the subsequent introduction of AFL football, and the historic Brisbane Lions triple premiership sides of 2001-02-03, arguably the greatest side of all time.

Clubs inducted were the Brisbane Football Club of 1866, the first in Queensland, and the Windsor Football Club, the competition powerhouse from the 1920s-30s-40s.

A full list of inductees, together with brief outline of their contribution to football in Queensland, is attached.

Other well-known AFL identities inducted to the Queensland Hall of Fame included triple Lions premiership fullback Mal Michael, the first AFL player from Papua New Guinea, ex-South Melbourne defender Erwin Dornau, the first Queensland to play AFL football, ex-Essendon utility Frank Dunell, the first Queenslander to play in an AFL premiership side, ex-Melbourne/Essendon utility Ray Smith, the first Queenslander to play 100 AFL games, ex-Fitzroy/Brisbane 200-gamer Scott McIvor, 1990 Collingwood ace Gavin Crosisca, 1991 Hawthorn premiership ruckman Stephen Lawrence, Brownlow Medalist Jason Akermanis and ex-Brisbane Bears captain and Brisbane Lions coach Roger Merrett, former Collingwood grand final player and Bears/Lions CEO Andrew Ireland, and ex-goal umpire Katrina Morris (nee Pressley), the first female to umpire in the AFL.

To see an information booklet profiling each of the 150 inductees, please click on the link below.


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