54. Darrell Eaton

Player Inductee

North Hobart/Wynyard/Devonport, Wingman, 1947-57 54. Darrel 'Dasher' Eaton

179 games for North Hobart 1947-51, 1955-57
36 games, 36 goals for Wynyard, 1952-53
13 games, 7 goals for Devonport, 1954
Wynyard captain-coach 1952-53
Devonport captain-coach 1954
North Hobart TANFL premierships 1947, 1957
Wynyard NWFU premiership 1952
Wander Medal 1953 (NWFU Best and Fairest) 1953
George Watt Medal 1946 (TFL Reserves Best and Fairest) 1946
North Hobart Best and Fairest 1947
Tasmanian National Carnival representative 1947 (Hobart), 1950 (Brisbane), 1953 (Adelaide)
14 representative matches for Tasmania 1947-53
15 representative matches for TANFL
11 games, 7 goals for NWFU Rep. team, 1952-54
North Hobart coach 1960-64
North Hobart TANFL premiership coach 1961, 1962
North Hobart State premiership coach 1961, 1962
North Hobart Team of the Century 2000 (Wing)

 

One of the finest wingmen Tasmania has produced, Darrel Eaton became a highly decorated performer for a number of clubs across the state. Known universally as ‘Dasher’ because of his blinding pace, Eaton possessed a deceptive leap, was a fierce tackler, and was renowned for his long and accurate kicking. He later developed a reputation as a shrewd and tactically skilled coach, guiding clubs under his tutelage to three league and two state premierships.

Born in 1927, Darrell Eaton’s talent was obvious from an early age. After playing schoolboy football for Campbell Street Primary School in Hobart, Eaton joined North Hobart in 1946. His impact was immediate, winning the George Watt Medal as the best and fairest player in the TANFL reserves competition in his first season. His meteoric rise continued the following season, as Eaton made his senior debut for the Redlegs, won the club’s senior Best and fairest award and featured in their TANFL premiership win over Hobart. Even more remarkably, the 20-year old was then selected to represent his state at the National Carnival in Hobart, the first of three Carnivals in which Eaton would compete.

After five seasons with North Hobart, Eaton journeyed to greener pastures, moving to the north-west coach to take up the job of captain-coach at NWFU side Wynyard for the 1952 season. In two seasons at the Cats, Eaton’s impact was enormous: he would guide the club to their first NWFU flag in 1952, while the following year he would claim the highest individual honour in coastal football, taking out the Wander Medal as the Best and Fairest player in the NWFU.  In 1954 Eaton was on the move again, this time just down the coast to Devonport, where he would spend one season as coach of the Magpies before returning to Hobart and his original club ahead of the 1955 season. He would play three more seasons with North Hobart – bringing his total games for the club to 179 – and retired on the highest possible note – a premiership – as North Hobart overcame Glenorchy by 12 points to take out the 1957 TANFL flag.

After retirement, Eaton turned his hand to umpiring, spending two seasons officiating as a field umpire in the TANFL, for which he received widespread praise and respect from players of the day. However the desire to coach soon resurfaced, and in 1960 Eaton returned to North Hobart, this time as non playing coach. It soon became obvious that he had lost none of his touch, as under Eaton’s leadership North Hobart achieved back-to-back TANFL and State premiership triumphs in 1961-62. Part way through 1964, Eaton’s tenure at North Hobart ended in controversy: Eaton and captain Peter Marquis were of the opinion that a certain player did not warrant a place in the senior side. However, the match committee overruled their decision to omit the player, leading both Eaton and Marquis to quit the club as a result; a sad end for both coach and club.

In later life, Eaton became a successful bookmaker. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 79.