291. Jim Leitch

Player Inductee291. Jim Leitch

Melbourne/Scottsdale/Bridport, Wingman, 1962-1985

12 games, 7 goals for Melbourne, 1964-65
Around 200 games for Scottsdale, 1966 – 73
Melbourne Reserves Best and Fairest, 1964
Scottsdale NTFA Premierships, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973
Scottsdale State Premiership, 1973
Scottsdale Best and Fairest, 1969
Scottsdale Team of the Century (Wing)
Scottsdale Football Club Life Member
Tasmanian State Representative 1971 and 1972, including the National Carnival in Perth
Lefroy Medallist for Best Tasmanian Player, 1972
All-Australian (Wing), 1972
Australian All-Stars Team, 1972
Bridport Coach, 1985
NEFU representative coach v Fingal Valley FA, 1985

Jim Leitch’s talent was obvious from an early age, selected in the 1959 Victorian schoolboys side alongside future VFL champion Carl Ditterich and playing against a Tasmanian side boasting future stars Peter Hudson and Barry Lawrence.

At the age of 16 Leitch was invited to train with Melbourne’s Under 19’s in 1962, where he impressed to the extent that he was awarded the Demons Under 19’s Best First Year Player award and the captaincy the following season. 1964 saw Leitch make his senior debut, playing two matches late in the Demons’ premiership year and ten games the following season, including a four goal effort against Essendon when opposed to premiership half back Alec Epis. After being cut by Melbourne, Leitch was lured to Tasmania thanks to an excellent deal – which included a guaranteed job – from Scottsdale in the NTFA.

He arrived at the beginning of a golden era for the Scottsdale Football Club, with the Magpies snaring six flags during a ten-year period. Leitch was an integral part of four of those flags between 1968 and 1973, the 1973 team earning legendary status by going throughout the entire season undefeated and achieving the State Premiership with a famous come from behind victory over Cooee at West Park in Burnie. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Jim Leitch stamped himself as one of the stars of Tasmanian football, with a Scottsdale Best and Fairest, runner-up in the NTFA Best and Fairest (losing on a countback) and multiple state selections, including representing Tasmania at the 1972 National Carnival in Perth where he was highly decorated, amongst his most notable achievements. After more than 200 games for Scottsdale, Leitch retired and returned to his adopted home town of Bridport. He was never far away from the game he loved however, coaching Bridport’s senior team in 1985, as well as coaching the NEFU to a representative victory against the Fingal Valley FA the same year.

Jim Leitch’s football achievements are a testament to his skill and passion for the game, and his achievement in becoming the only Scottsdale player to achieve All Australian selection has ensured his reputation and contribution to Tasmanian football.