No. 49 Noel McGuinness
Prolific ball-winning midfielder who won the Grogan Medal in 1953-54 and was runner-up by one vote to teammate Henry Maguire in 1955. A product of the Morningside State School and the Hawthorne juniors, he represented Queensland at schoolboy level in 1949 with Darryl Sanders. He captained the Hawthorne U18s to a premiership in 1951. Shifted to Morningside and captained them to a Reserves premiership, picking up the individual honour of the QANFL Reserves B&F medal in his first year of senior football in 1952 when Morningside only played at that level.
Stepped up in class when the club moved into Open ranks in '53, winning his first Grogan at age 18 under the tutelage of Clem Ryan, who was the first coach of the Panthers. Was recruited by St Kilda but was a victim of a freak accident when filling in for the Morningside Reserves in a practice match. Scheduled to head to Melbourne the following day, he suffered broken ribs that were not detected until he was under air cabin pressure.
He was hospitalised on arrival and subsequently sent home. Missed the first nine games of the season, but recuperated to poll an amazing 27 votes in the remaining games to pick up his second Grogan Medal. Was later lured to Coorparoo by Jack Handysyde like many other gun players of that era such as Ray Marshall, Dick Verdon and Ken Grimley. Won the Roos’ B&F in 1956-57 and played a key role in the club's first finals appearances. Represented Queensland from 1953-58 and was an avid supporter of the code via a media role for many years thereafter.
Reported the 1963 Football Record: “The Panthers’ centre had the anticipation of a true champion, kicked truly with either foot and was safe in the air. I’ve not seen another footballer who could emerge from the pack with the ball and get away so quickly to a team mate … Noel McGuiness is the best I’ve seen here.”