17. Ivor Warne-Smith

17. Ivor Warne-Smith - ICONICON – Player Inductee

Ruckman/Forward – 1919-1960

Credited with more than 220 senior games
Credited with 75 games with Latrobe and the NWFU, 1920-24
Coached Latrobe to premierships in 1922 and 1924 and runner-up in 1923
146 games and 110 goals for Melbourne, 1919 and 1925-32
Melbourne premiership, 1926
Won two Brownlow Medals, 1926 and 1928
Captain-coached Melbourne from 1928 to 1932
Represented Victoria six times, including as captain in 1928 and 1929
Centre Half Forward in Melbourne’s Team of the Century
Back-pocket in Tasmania’s Team of the Century
Melbourne Chairman of Selectors from 1940s to 1960
Member of the Australian, Tasmanian and Melbourne Football Halls of Fame
Melbourne Chairman of Selectors, including premierships in 1955-57 and 1959
Melbourne Life Member, 1952.Ranked as one of the best players in Australian football during the first 30 years of the Twentieth Century, Ivor Warne-Smith put coastal football on the Tasmanian map

New South Wales born Warne-Smith played just eight games with Melbourne before relocating to Tasmania in 1919, in order to farm as a World War One soldier/settler. He became one of only very few players to shade the great Horrie Gorringe, in an intrastate game in 1921. He eventually joined Latrobe, taking over as coach in 1922 and leading the side to two flags in three years. A two-sided player and a superb mark, he led Latrobe to victory over City (of Launceston) in 1922 and the North West Football Union (NWFU) to their first victory over the southern-based TFL in 1924. At the age of 27 he returned to Melbourne for the 1926 premiership and also won the Brownlow medal playing in the centre, and another in 1928, thus becoming the first dual winner of the award. He represented Victoria six times but was unable to play for Tasmania in the 1924 Carnival due to a selection dispute between the NWFU and the TFL.

Born at Lavender Bay, Sydney in 1897, Ivor Warne-Smith’s football reputation was established in Tasmania and Victoria. One of the most revered names in the football history of both states, Warne-Smith was actually something of a reluctant footballer. After a short run with Melbourne he relocated to the Latrobe region of Tasmania in order to take up share farming. His football prowess was noticed during informal lunchtime end-to-end kicking sessions at Atkinson’s sale yards and he was invited to join Latrobe. However, because of the pressure of work on the farm, it was not until midway through the 1920 season that he accepted the invitation.

During four and a half seasons with the Latrobe Diehards he proved himself an accomplished footballer in all conditions and in a variety of positions. In 1922 he took over as club coach and led the side to two flags. He also performed with distinction in inter-league games, leading the North West Football Union to an inaugural victory over the powerhouse Tasmanian Football League in Hobart.

Warne-Smith returned to Melbourne as a 27-year-old in 1925 and his quick thinking, two-sided play made an immediate impact. In 1926 he won the Brownlow Medal and, playing at centre, was one of the best players afield as the Fuchsias swamped minor premier Collingwood by 57 points in the challenge final to claim their first premiership since 1900. It was to be the only VFL flag of Warne-Smith’s playing career. However, he did win another Brownlow in 1928 to become the first dual winner of the award.

Warne-Smith was ahead of his time in the way he could change the direction of play with handball. A six-footer with the agility of a rover, Warne-Smith played primarily as a follower but was a brilliant ‘utility’ who could play forward and back also.

Following the end of his playing and coaching days he became a respected journalist with the Argus Newspaper. Later, after the Second World War, he joined Melbourne Football Club’s committee where he gave great service up until his untimely passing in 1960.

Recognised by Melbourne and Tasmania in their respective ‘Teams of the Century’, Ivor Warne-Smith was an inaugural inductee in the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and an inaugural inductee in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.