29. Harry Long

Player Inductee

Lefroy/Launceston/Melbourne, Half Back, 1927-37

117 games, 21 goals for Melbourne, 1929-37
Around 30 games for Lefroy, 1927-28
Represented VFL against VFA, 1934
Life member of Melbourne Football Club
Named as one of the ‘150 Heroes’ of Melbourne, 2008

A half back flanker whose marking and left foot kicking were the hallmarks of his game, Harry Long enjoyed a relatively short but successful football career, predominantly in Victoria.

Born in Hobart in 1910, Long spent short periods with both the Lefroy and Launceston football clubs as a teenager, before moving to Melbourne as a 19-year-old to study accounting in 1929. He joined the Melbourne Football Club in the VFL, debuting in the first round of 1929. Able to play virtually anywhere but most at home on a half back flank, it didn’t take him long to establish himself as one of the Fuchsias’ first picked players, with Long playing 82 of a possible 90 games between 1930 and 1935. In 1934, the same year he was appointed vice captain of his club, Long represented the VFL in a challenge match against the VFA, with the VFL triumphing by 33 points.

While the Dees were competitive at various stages during his early years at Melbourne, Long had to wait until 1936 to play his first final, a nine-point semi final win over Carlton. Unfortunately the Dees failed to qualify for the biggest match of the year, suffering defeat to South Melbourne by 26 points in the preliminary final a week later. Long retired from football soon afterwards, still aged just 26, however made a short comeback the following season, playing in eight games during the second half of 1937, including a second successive losing preliminary final, this time against Collingwood. He retired permanently after this match, having played 117 games for the red and the blue.

Post-retirement, Long enlisted in the military during the Second World War, serving with the 2/3 Australian Anti-Aircraft Regiment in North Africa and the Pacific, and was discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant. Following his military service Long served both as a selector and a committee member of the Melbourne Football Club for 20 years between 1951 and 1970 – his tenure including the infamous Norm Smith scandal in 1965 – before resigning and returning to Tasmania where he had business interests. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 93, and was posthumously honoured by the club when he was named as one of the ‘150 Heroes’ of Melbourne as part of the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2008.