90. Ian Stewart

90. Ian Stewart - ICONICON – Player Inductee

Hobart/St Kilda/Richmond/Carlton/South Melbourne

127 games, 25 goals, St Kilda, 1963-70
78 games, 55 goals, Richmond, 1971-75
Brownlow Medal, 1965, 1966 and 1971
St Kilda premiership, 1966
Richmond premiership, 1973
St Kilda best and fairest, 1964 and 1966
Richmond best and fairest, 1971
Captained St Kilda, 1969
Coached Carlton, 1978 (part)
Coached South Melbourne, 1979-81
All Australian, 1966
Represented Tasmania and Victoria
Named in the centre of AFL’s ‘Team of the Century’ and St Kilda’s ‘Team of the Century’
Named as interchange in Richmond’s ‘Team of the Century’
Named in Tasmania’s ‘Team of the Century’

Born 30 July 1943 in Queenstown, Ian Stewart is one of just four players to have won three Brownlow medals. His career began with Hobart in 1962 playing 13 senior games and he was selected in both of Tasmania’s interstate games that year, against the VFA and the VFL. It was obvious to all that a star was born and Stewart was signed by St Kilda the following year. After 127 games with the Saints, Ian Stewart moved to Richmond and won another Brownlow to add to those won in 1965 and 1966. He played 205 VFL games.

Stewart was one of Australia’s greatest and most decorated footballers, winning almost every football honour available. He joined the Saints without any fanfare and the shy Tasmanian even purchased his own training guernsey rather than ask for one. He was totally fearless and his style of marking while backing into a pack became a trademark.

The secret of his game was immaculate balance and perfection in foot passing. Most of his passes found his skipper and fellow Tasmanian Darrel Baldock, with whom he formed one of football’s great partnerships. The pair seemed to sense each other’s moves and had perfect football harmony.

Stewart won the club’s best and fairest in 1964 and surprised the football world when he won the 1965 Brownlow. Twelve months later he won another Brownlow to cap a year in which he won All Australian selection, was club best and fairest, and was one of the best afield in the flag win.

Stewart was made skipper in 1969 but stood down after a year. At the end of the 1970 season he was swapped sensationally with Richmond’s Billy Barrot. At Richmond he continued to play brilliantly and won his third Brownlow in 1971 and also collected the club best and fairest. He combined brilliantly with another Tasmanian centre half forward, Royce Hart.

Because of injury he started on the bench in the losing 1972 grand final side but played in a premiership side in 1973. He retired in mid-1974, though was briefly talked out of it for a few games in 1975. Stewart coached South Melbourne from 1976-77 then took on the Carlton coaching job briefly before a shock resignation. He returned to the Swans as coach from 1979-81 and later took up a managerial role at St Kilda to complete the full circle.