Hobart/St Kilda/Kingston, Rover/Forward, 1956-73
> 15 games, 27 goals for St Kilda, 1964
> 238 games for Hobart, 1956-63, 1965-70
> 50 games for Kingston (Huon FA), 1971-73
> Hobart captain-coach, 1969-70
> Kingston captain-coach, 1971-73
> Hobart TANFL premierships, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1966
> Hobart state premiership, 1959
> William Leitch Medal for TANFL Best and Fairest, 1965, 1966
> Hobart Best and Fairest, 1963
> Hobart leading goalkicker, 1962 (52), 1963 (52), 1967 (35)
> Tasmanian National Carnival representative, 1966 (Hobart), 1969 (Adelaide)
> 16 representative matches for Tasmania
> Weller Arnold Medal for best TANFL representative player, 1969
> Hobart ‘Greatest Team 1947-2002’ (ruck-rover)
Known to all and sundry as ‘Burnie’, Burnet Payne was unquestionably one of the most decorated players in the history of the Hobart Football Club. Over 14 seasons and more than 200 games Payne formed one of the most potent centre lines in the history of Tasmanian football, was one of the key contributors during Hobart’s golden age of the 1950s and 1960s, and in his prime was one of the finest footballers in the state.
Born in 1939, Burnie Payne made his senior debut for Hobart at the tender age of 16 in 1956. By the time of Hobart’s back-to-back TANFL premierships in 1959-60, Payne had cemented himself in the Hobart midfield as a speedy, skilful and slippery rover. Alongside Mal Pascoe and Dennis Powell, he went on to form part of the legendary Hobart centre line of the 1960s known as the ‘Three P’s’. The premiership was not the only great success of Payne’s 1960 season however, as he was also a member of the Tasmanian side that sensationally stunned Victoria at York Park in June, kicking two goals for the match from a forward pocket.
After a career-best season in 1963 – producing a third premiership, Hobart’s Best and Fairest award and 52 goals to top the Tigers’ goalkicking table for the second consecutive year – Payne was lured to the mainland to play in the VFL, becoming one of the many Tasmanians of the time to join St Kilda. He made his debut for the Saints in the opening round of 1964, booting three goals against Essendon at Windy Hill. Playing mainly in a forward pocket, Payne would go on to kick 27 goals in 15 games that year – including a haul of six against South Melbourne – to finish second behind fellow Tasmanian Darrel Baldock (with 29 goals) on the Saints’ goalkicking table. Unfortunately for St Kilda Payne was forced to return to Tasmania for family reasons after just one season, but the VFL’s loss was Tasmania’s gain. Payne confirmed just how deep his talent went upon his return to Hobart in 1965, winning the William Leitch Medal as the best and fairest player in the TANFL.
1966 was arguably Payne’s finest season; not only would he win his second successive William Leitch Medal and play in his fourth Hobart premiership team, he would also represent his state at the first of two national carnivals, playing four games during the 1966 National Carnival in Hobart. Payne was still a force to be reckoned with in 1969, when aged 30 he won the Weller Arnold Medal as the best TANFL player in intrastate matches, represented his state at the 1969 National Carnival in Adelaide, and was named captain-coach of Hobart.
At the end of 1970 Payne bid farewell to Hobart after 238 games and four premierships, finishing his playing career in the Huon Football Association as captain-coach of the Kingston Tigers from 1971-73.
It is amazing to think that a player of Payne’s ability only ever won a single club best and fairest, even given the superlative talent that represented Hobart during Payne’s era. Regardless, Payne’s standing as a great of Tasmanian football will live forever in the minds of those who saw him grace the field. Easily one of the finest half a dozen players ever to play for Hobart, his standing as a great of the club was confirmed when he was named ruck-rover in Hobart’s ‘Greatest Team of 1947-2002’.