92. Barry Lawrence

LEGEND – Player Inductee

Longford/St Kilda, Full Back/Full Forward, 1964-79

126 games, 80 goals, St Kilda, 1969-76
Captained St Kilda, 1974-75
Played in St Kilda’s losing grand final team of 1971
Longford best and fairest, 1966 and 1978
Coached Longford, 1977-78
Represented Tasmania 14 times between 1964 and 1979
Represented Victoria in 1972 and 1973, captaining Victoria against Tasmania in 1973.
NTFA best and fairest (Hec Smith Medal), 1966
Interchange in St Kilda’s ‘Team of the Century’
Centre half forward in Longford’s ‘Team of the Century’
Half back in Tasmania’s ‘Team of the Century’

Born 10 February 1948, Barry Lawrence is widely remembered as one of the best VFL defenders of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but he actually began his career with Longford as a forward, and was selected as centre half forward in that club’s official Team of the Century.

A member of Tasmania’s National Carnival squad in 1966, Lawrence won the Hec Smith Memorial Medal for best and fairest player in the Northern Tasmanian Football Association the same year. It was inevitable that he would leave for Victoria and a crack at the big time and in 1969 he commenced an eight-season career with St Kilda.

Late in his first season with the Saints, after failing to perform at the expected standard as a forward, coach Allan Jeans tried him on the backline, and a star was born. Lawrence was later used in an attacking role on intermittent occasions, with more success.

In the 1971 VFL grand final Lawrence put in one of the performances for which he is best remembered when, faced by fellow Tasmanian Peter Hudson of Hawthorn, he barely made a mistake all day in restricting the champion goal-kicker to just three goals when four would have seen him break Bob Pratt’s all-time record of 150 VFL goals in a season.

After 128 games with St Kilda Lawrence returned to Longford in 1977 and continued to perform to a high standard. He lifted the Tigers into the finals for the first time in over a decade, but the team was unable to take the final steps to a premiership.

In 1978 and 1979 Lawrence captained Tasmania, taking his total number of Tasmanian interstate appearances to 14 in the process. He had in earlier years represented Victoria and even captained his adopted state in a game against Tasmania.

Barry Lawrence will be remembered for his tremendous judgement and ability to read the play perfectly. He was rarely caught out of position and with his low centre of gravity he was able to deal out heavy bumps in a time when this was part and parcel of the game. He was inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.