Scottsdale/Collingwood/North Launceston, Defender, 1950-64
> 87 games, 1 goal for Collingwood, 1953-59
> Around 50 games for Scottsdale, 1950-52
> Around 80 games for North Launceston, 1960-64
> Collingwood VFL premiership, 1953
> North Launceston NTFA premierships, 1961, 1963
> North Launceston Best and Fairest, 1960, 1963
> Sporting Life ‘Team of the Year’, 1955
> NTFA representative, 1960-62, 1964
> North Launceston ‘Greatest Team 1945-1999, (half back flank)
A sensational defender who oozed brilliance and class, Lerrel Sharp was a mainstay of the strong Collingwood teams of the mid-1950s, eventually playing key roles in premierships in two states.
Born in 1933, Sharp first played senior football for Scottsdale in the NTFA as a 16-year old. In 1952 he made history as a member of Scottsdale’s first ever NTFA grand final team, and although the Magpies were defeated by City on the day, Sharp’s talent had already been spotted from across Bass Strait. The following year, still aged only 19, Sharp joined Collingwood under the captaincy of the legendary Lou Richards. Despite playing only five games during his debut season at Victoria Park Sharp was a member of the 1953 premiership team, impressing out of a back pocket, the position where he would make himself one of the first picked for the Magpies for the next five years thanks to his aptitude both in the air and at ground level and magnificent penetrating kicking.
After a sensational second year in 1954 in which he placed third in Collingwood’s Best and Fairest award, 1955 was undoubtedly Sharp’s finest season in the black and white: he played 18 games – including Collingwood’s losing grand final against Melbourne – polled 12 Brownlow votes to finish outright ninth in the award and was named in a back pocket in Sporting Life’s ‘Team of the Year’. Sharp produced similarly solid years in 1956-57, including appearing in another unsuccessful grand final team in 1956 and three Victorian representative jumpers in 1957, before his luck turned sour. After playing the first seven matches of 1958 he suffered a serious injury, and upon recovering was unable to win back his place due to the superb form of fellow defender Ron Reeves. As a result Sharp would only play one match after Round 7 and ultimately missed Collingwood’s sensational upset grand final victory over Melbourne. To miss such a special premiership hurt deeply, and after only two matches in 1959 Sharp returned to Tasmania after 87 games for the Magpies.
Sharp joined North Launceston upon his return home and it didn’t take the 27-year old long to stamp his authority on the NTFA landscape. He would win the North Launceston Best and Fairest award and NTFA intrastate selection in his first season, and the following year he was a star performer in North’s thrilling two-point premiership win over Longford. He featured in a second heart-stopping premiership over Longford two years later – this time by one solitary point – while also snaring his second club Best and Fairest award. Sharp’s last season in 1964 brought a final NTFA representative match, but alas not a premiership, as North were dumped out in a preliminary final by – ironically – Sharp’s original club Scottsdale, on their way to their maiden NTFA flag. His time at North Launceston may have only spanned five short seasons, but the impact Lerrel Sharp had on the club was significant enough to warrant selection in the club’s ‘Greatest Team of 1945-1999’ on a half back flank.