City-South/East Devonport/St Kilda/Clarence, Defender, 1958-72
> 8 games, 1 goal for St Kilda, 1965-66
> 101 games for City-South, 1958-61
> 42 games for East Devonport, 1962-63
> 128 games for Clarence, 1967-72
> Clarence captain-coach, 1967-72
> St Kilda VFL premiership, 1966
> City-South NTFA premierships, 1959, 1960
> City-South state premiership, 1960
> Clarence TANFL premiership, 1970
> Wander Medal for NWFU Best and Fairest, 1963
> East Devonport Best and Fairest, 1962
> Five representative matches for Tasmania, 1962-70
> Multiple representative matches for NTFA/NWFU/TANFL
> Alstergren Trophy for best NWFU player in intrastate matches, 1963
> City-South ‘Team of the Century’ (half back)
> Clarence ‘Team of Champions 1947-2002’ (centre half back)
A strong and relentless defender, John Bingley’s eight-game VFL career featured one of the most famous premierships ever won. He later became the mastermind behind Clarence’s first golden era.
Born in 1941, Bingley started his football journey with City-South in 1958. By 1961 he had played more than 100 games and featured in multiple premierships as a part of the great Redlegs sides of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1962 Bingley moved to East Devonport and enjoyed two highly successful seasons, winning both the NWFU and East Devonport Best and Fairest awards in his first year. In 1964 Bingley accepted the job as captain-coach of Glenorchy, however shortly afterwards he was approached by St Kilda about playing VFL football. Keen to test himself at VFL level, Bingley signed with St Kilda, however the TANFL refused to clear him. As a result, Bingley sat out of football for the entire 1964 season before heading across Bass Strait to join St Kilda in 1965.
Bingley made his debut for the Saints in Round 2, 1965. He played just three games in his first season and five in his second before returning to Tasmania. However, his eighth and final match would be in one of the most famous games ever played, the 1966 VFL grand final, during which Bingley’s efforts curbing Collingwood superstar Des Tuddenham – who had kicked seven goals against the Saints in the second semi final – were widely lauded.
Bingley was appointed captain-coach of Clarence for the 1967 season, taking over from legendary predecessor Stuart Spencer. The Roos quickly acquired their coach’s own burning desire to never accept second best, becoming a force in southern football for the first time in their history. After making a grand final in 1969 but losing to North Hobart, Clarence and Bingley continued to strive for success, and in 1970 the Roos were back on the big stage, this time playing New Norfolk. With 19-year-old sensation Terry Mayne booting 10 goals, Clarence recorded a 55-point victory and the club’s maiden premiership, sparking wild celebrations on Hobart’s eastern shore. Bingley later stated that the victory meant more to him than his flag with St Kilda.
The 1970 premiership was the high point of a sensational individual year for Bingley, who earlier in the season had played a major part in one of Tasmanian football’s most famous victories. WA coach Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer had declared before their match against Tasmania at North Hobart Oval that, “If we can’t beat Tasmania, we ought to give the game away.” Those words would come back to haunt Farmer, as Tasmania recorded a famous two-point victory. Bingley would ultimately prove the hero, kicking the winning goal late in the last quarter after receiving a pass from 1966 St Kilda premiership captain and teammate, Darrel Baldock.
After a third consecutive but unsuccessful grand final appearance in 1971, Bingley stepped down as coach at the end of 1972. He returned to Victoria for a time during the late 1970s before coming back home for one more coaching assignment, this time a one-year stint with New Norfolk in 1981. He would lead the Eagles to a grand final, but would come up short against his old side Clarence.
After football, Bingley returned to Victoria permanently. In 2002 he was honoured by his original club, City-South, with inclusion in their ‘Team of the Century’, which he described as one of the proudest moments of his life. His contribution to Clarence was also acknowledged with selection at centre half back in the club’s ‘Team of Champions.’