325. Robert Dutton

Player Inductee

Launceston/Carlton/Hawthorn/Clarence, Ruckman/Forward, 1975-89

139 games for Launceston, 1975-79; 1985-89
1 game for Carlton, 1980-81
1 game for Hawthorn, 1982
36 games for Clarence, 1983-84
Launceston NTFA premierships 1976, 1985
Clarence TFL premiership, 1984
Launceston Best & Fairest 1979, 1985
Clarence Best & Fairest, 1984
Best-on-Ground, 1984 TFL Grand Final
Best-on-Ground, 1985 NTFA Grand Final
Clarence Leading Goal-Kicker, 1983
Launceston Leading Goal Kicker 1988, 1989
Carlton Reserves Leading Goal Kicker 1980, 1981
Tasmanian state representative 1983, 1984
NTFA representative 1977, 1978, 1979
Launceston Team of the Century, 2000 (Interchange)

Tall, athletic and sporting a shock of blonde hair, Robert ‘Major’ Dutton made his senior debut for Launceston in 1976 and was a member of the Blues’ premiership team that season. He quickly established himself as one of the best young ruckmen in northern football, and was a regular intrastate representative during the late ‘70s.

After a career-best season in 1979 in which he won Launceston’s Best & Fairest and captained the NTFA, Dutton was recruited by Carlton who, given their already impressive ruck depth including fellow Tasmanian Percy Jones, opted to utilise Dutton as a Full Forward. The move proved a masterstroke, as Dutton produced two exceptional seasons to win the Carlton reserves’ goal-kicking with 47 in 1980 – earning him the Blues’ ‘Best First Year Player’ award – and 51 the following year. Despite this, Dutton was selected for just one senior game for the Blues where, by his own admission, he “had a shocker”.

Delisted by Carlton at the end of 1981 Dutton was given a lifeline by Hawthorn, where he again made just a solitary senior appearance before heading back to Tasmania. Dutton joined Clarence in the TFL upon his return home, slotting seamlessly into a strong team under Noel Leary. He continued to play primarily as a forward during his two seasons with the Roos, topping the club goal-kicking in 1983 and earning his first state representative honours.

This was followed by arguably two of the most individually dominant seasons by any footballer in Tasmania, as across 1984-85 Dutton won back-to-back Best & Fairest awards with Clarence and Launceston (having returned home to the latter for 1985) and was adjudged as Best on Ground in two consecutive winning Grand Final teams. Dutton would remain with the Blues after the club’s move to the NTFL in 1987, and bowed out of top flight football aged 31 with back-to-back Launceston goal-kicking awards in 1988-89.

One of Launceston’s most popular stars, he was selected on the bench in the club’s Team of the Century in 2000. Dutton remained involved in football after his playing days, and had a hand in three more Launceston flags when he served as part of the committee which brought future triple-premiership coach Adam Sanders to the club in 2003.