125. Adrian Fletcher

Player Inductee

Glenorchy/Geelong /St Kilda/Brisbane/Fremantle/Williamstown, Centre/Rover, 1987-2003

23 games, 10 goals for Geelong, 1989-91
22 games, 10 goals for St Kilda, 1992
107 games, 53 goals for Brisbane Bears/Lions, 1993-97
79 games, 24 goals for Fremantle, 1998-2001
Around 40 games for Glenorchy, 1987-88
41 games, 17 goals for Williamstown (VFL), 2002-03
Williamstown VFL premiership, 2003
Fremantle co-captain, 2000-01
William Leitch Medal (equal), 1988
Fremantle Best and Fairest, 1999
Glenorchy Best and Fairest, 1988
Williamstown Best and Fairest, 2002, 2003
Norm Goss Medal for best on ground in the VFL grand final, 2003
Two State of Origin matches for Tasmania, 1991, 1993
One State of Origin match for ‘The Allies’, 1996

A hard as nails ‘ball magnet’ whose AFL career spanned 13 seasons and five different clubs, Adrian Fletcher was one of the most effective but underrated midfielders of the 1990s.

Born in 1969, Adrian Fletcher’s long and eventful football journey began with Glenorchy as a 17-year-old in 1987. It didn’t take long for the highly-talented teenager to make his mark, and in 1988 he played in his second consecutive (and unsuccessful) TFL grand final, took out the Glenorchy Best and Fairest award and amazingly tied with Sandy Bay’s Michael Seddon in the William Leitch Medal count. This immediately attracted the attention of VFL recruiters, and in the 1988 National Draft Fletcher was selected with Pick 20 by Geelong.

Fletcher made his senior debut for Geelong in Round 8 1988. He quickly found his feet, gathering 25 disposals and kicking two goals in just his third game, but despite this and other high possession performances – such as his 36-touch effort against Richmond in 1990 – he struggled for regular game time in a team boasting the midfield talent of Garry Hocking, Mark Bairstow and Paul Couch. As a result Fletcher played just 23 games in three seasons with the Cats, and at the end of 1991 he was traded to St Kilda. Fletcher’s 1992 season was his best to date, playing 22 games and averaging more than 20 touches a game, but at season’s end a contractual dispute led to him departing the Saints after just one year, and in 1993 he headed north, joining the Brisbane Bears under Robert Walls.

Fletcher’s five seasons in Queensland were the most stable of his career. During his time at the club the Bears became a force for the first time in their existence, and Fletcher was one of their prime midfielders along with names like Voss and Lambert, averaging no less than 23 disposals a game in his four seasons with the Bears. After surviving the cull that resulted from Brisbane’s merger with Fitzroy at the end of 1996, Fletcher spent one season at the Lions in 1997 before he was on the move again, this time to join the Fremantle Dockers. For so long underappreciated, Fletcher’s star really shone in the west, and in his first season in 1998 he finished runner-up in Fremantle’s Best and Fairest award despite missing six games. The following year he went one better, taking out the Dockers’ top award, playing every game, averaging 26.4 disposals per match and adding a touch of class to the raw and thinly talented Dockers midfield. In 2000 Fletcher was appointed a co-captain of the club along with Shaun McManus, and despite being over the age of 30 he continued to rack up disposals at an astonishing rate. After being told at the end of 2001 that he would not receive a new contract from the Dockers, Fletcher retired after 231 AFL matches, 76 Brownlow votes and having gathered over 30 disposals in a game an astonishing 41 times.

After his retirement from AFL football Fletcher returned to Victoria and joined Williamstown in the VFL. As if to prove he had lost none of his touch, he collected the Seagulls Best and Fairest award in both of his two seasons at the club and ended his playing career on the highest possible note, winning the only senior premiership of his career in Williamstown’s 2003 grand final win over Box Hill and taking out the Norm Goss Medal as Best on Ground. After his playing career ended Fletcher spent time as an assistant coach at Geelong, Collingwood and Brisbane.