24. Alan Rait

Player Inductee

North Hobart/Footscray, Full Forward, 1927-37

19 games, 62 goals for Footscray, 1933-34
147 games, 688 goals for North Hobart, 1927-32, 1935-37
North Hobart captain-coach, 1935
North Hobart TANFL premierships, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1936
North Hobart State premierships, 1932, 1936
North Hobart Best and Fairest, 1930
TANFL leading goalkicker, 1929 (92), 1930 (112), 1931 (84), 1932 (102), 1935 (84), 1936 (98), 1937 (62)
North Hobart leading goalkicker, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1937
Tasmanian National Carnival representative, 1930 (Adelaide)
North Hobart ‘Team of the Century’ (full forward)

Nearly 40 years before Peter Hudson became the greatest goalkicker in the history of Australian football, Tasmanian crowds flocked to TFL venues to watch the exploits of North Hobart sharpshooter Alan Rait.

Born in 1908, Rait began his football career at North Hobart in 1927 as a 19-year-old. Six feet tall and solidly built, Rait initially played on a half forward flank, but it didn’t take long for him to find a home for life in the goal square. He topped the North Hobart goalkicking table for the first time with 44 goals in the club’s premiership year of 1928, and from there the tallies just grew and grew: 92 goals and another flag in 1929 led into easily the finest year in a sensational career in 1930. Rait kicked 112 goals for North Hobart in the TANFL season, in the process winning the club Best and Fairest award, but his thirst for goals didn’t stop there. At the 1930 Carnival in Adelaide, Rait booted 27 goals from five matches, including a haul of 12 against Queensland; what’s even more amazing is that Tasmania as a team only kicked 46 goals for the entire carnival! Rait also kicked 13 goals in intrastate matches to finish the season with a grand total of 152 majors, a Tasmanian record that would stand until 1976.

After totals of 84 and 102 in the following two seasons – including becoming the first of only two men to ever kick 10 goals in a TANFL grand final in North Hobart’s win over Cananore in 1932 – Rait crossed Bass Strait to join Footscray in the VFL for the 1933 season. His first season was a great success: 59 goals in 15 games, including 10 against Carlton at Princes Park in Round 8, saw Rait top the Tricolours’ goalkicking list. However his form the following year was poor, and he booted only three goals in four games before a knee injury ended his season in Round 10. As a result of the injury Rait opted to depart Footscray to return to Tasmania in order to recover.

Rait was appointed captain-coach of North Hobart for his first season back in 1935, and it was soon obvious that he was back to the Rait of old, kicking 88 goals for the season to top the TFL goalkicking list for the sixth time. He would have one final monstrous season in 1936, kicking 98 goals as North Hobart stormed to TANFL and state premierships, and finished with a total of 108 goals including representative matches, the fourth and final time he topped the ton in a season. He would play one final year in 1937 aged 29, once again ending the season as the competition’s foremost sharpshooter with 62 majors.

In an 11-year career from 1927 to 1937, Rait booted a total of 849 goals – 688 for North Hobart, 62 for Footscray, and 99 in interleague or interstate matches – at an average of 4.4 goals per match, a figure that has him sitting comfortably in the company of other great spearheads of the game. Rait died in 1965 at the age of 56.