304. Nick Probert

Player Inductee

Burnie Hawks/Collingwood/Prahran/Sandy Bay/Southern Cats/Burnie Dockers, On-Baller, 1988-2004

22 games, Burnie Hawks, 1989
30 games, Prahran (VFA), 1992-93
82 games, Sandy Bay, 1994-97
19 games, Southern Districts, 1998
77 games, Burnie Dockers, 2001-04
Burnie Dockers captain-coach, 2002-04
Burnie Dockers NTFL premierships, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004
Darrel Baldock Medal for NTFL Best and Fairest, 2003
William Leitch Medal Runner-Up, 1994
Sandy Bay Best and Fairest, 1995
Wilf Barker Medal for Best on Ground in NTFL Grand Final, 2002
Six representative matches for Tasmania, 1994-98
Four representative matches for NTFA, 2001-04 (captain)
Teal Cup All-Australian, 1989
Named in Sandy Bay’s ‘Best 50 Players’
Named captain of NTFL ‘Team of Champions, 1987-2006’ (half back flank)

A hard-as-nails but highly skilled player and an outstanding leader both on and off the field, Nick Probert was a consistently brilliantly performer either side of the turn of the millennium, nowhere more so than with his native Burnie. Drafted by Collingwood as a 16-year-old in late 1988, Probert elected to remain in Tasmania to complete his Year 12 education, however after a superb 1989 in which he played a full season of senior footy with the Burnie Hawks in the TFL, captained Tasmania at the Teal Cup (winning Best and Fairest) and was named an Under 17 All-Australian, Probert headed to Melbourne to take his place on the Magpies’ list for the 1990 season.

Over the following two years he played Under 19 and reserves football with the Magpies but failed to break though for a senior game in a strong team that would win a drought-breaking premiership in his first season. At the end of 1991 Probert was one of a number of list casualties resulting from Collingwood’s upset Under 19 grand final loss to North Melbourne, and in 1992 joined a number of his teammates in heading to VFA club Prahran, coached by former Collingwood spearhead Brian Taylor. Probert’s impact in two seasons with Prahran helped the Two Blues to consecutive finals series – though no grand finals – and it also brought a potential return to Collingwood when he was re-recruited by the Magpies in the 1992 Mid-Season Draft, though ultimately Probert decided against returning to Victoria Park.

Probert came home to Tasmania in 1994 and joined Sandy Bay, and over the next four years he became one of the Seagulls’ brightest stars during their final days in the TFL, winning a Best and Fairest in 1995 and finishing runner-up to North Hobart’s Michael Maple in the 1994 William Leitch Medal count. He was also a regular Tasmanian representative during this time, featuring in wins under Andy Bennett over highly fancied WAFL, SANFL and VFL sides. Following the demise of Sandy Bay, Probert spent one season with the Southern Districts Cats in 1998 before heading overseas for a couple of years’ work and travel in 1999-2000. During this period he turned out for a few matches with the London-based Wandsworth Demons in the British Australian Rules Football League.

Probert returned to Tasmania and his hometown of Burnie in 2001, joining the Burnie Dockers under former Collingwood teammate Mick McGuane. The Dockers would go on to win five consecutive premierships from 2001-05, with Probert playing in the first four flags, as well as coaching the middle three after taking over the reins from McGuane. Despite being in the twilight of his career Probert was still clearly one of the NTFL’s finest players, with his ferocious attack on the ball and supreme skills earning him the Baldock Medal as league Best and Fairest in 2003 and captaincy of the NTFL representative side for four straight years. After hanging up his boots at the end of 2004 Probert remained heavily involved in Tasmanian football for a number of years. He was particularly involved with talent development, having served at different times as State Talent Manager for AFL Tasmania, as well as both Head and Development Coach for a number of Tasmanian underage sides.