The majestic Michael Fitzpatrick and the magical Keith Watt were my idols in the early 70's. Classy rover Graeme Schultz and Carlton on-baller Vin Catoggio in the mid-late 70's. It was tough winger and dual Sandover Medallist Ian Dargie, running defender Mark Zanotti and solid full back Michael Crutchfield and in the 80's. The golden boot of Jason Heatley and the rugged Glenn Coyle were outstanding in the 90's. It is the pocket dynamo Ali Pickett, the 'Rolls-Royce' centreman Matt Priddis, tough guy Caine Hayes and another goal kicking machine named Brad Smith are thrilling us in the new millenium. It is always hard to pick my favourite player, the nice guys were everywhere, actually too many to mention. There were the comics, the quiet types, the 'mean-dudes' and the big-noters, but there was always one player that I admired tremendously. His record stands out as living proof of the term legend! He had 3 stints at Subiaco, leaving in 1974 to travel east and make a name for himself at 2 VFL clubs, Footscray and Geelong. His return to the Lions den in 1984 coincided with their most successful period in the club's history. Peter Featherby was an outstanding footballer. His stamina and skills made him one of the most significant figures to wear the maroon and gold. It was no surprise that Featherby teamed up with his old coach Haydn Bunton jnr. to lead us back from the scrap heap and into the finals of 1985 and '86. Those memorable Grand Finals and the heroic efforts of Peter Featherby to help us get there are etched in my mind. In a career spanning some 15 years, Featherby played over 300 games which included stints at Footscray in '75 & '76 and Geelong from '79 to '83. He won the 'Cats' Club Champion Award in 1981 and was Subi's Club Champion in '77 & '78. He was the only player from the 1973 premiership team to also play in Subiaco's 1986 premiership. Peter Featherby you were a champion, if ever there was to be a statue made of the champions of the Subi Football Club in this era, it would be 'Feathers' on the run and 'Bunts' pointing the direction.
SUBIACO'S 'TOP 10' IDENTITIES
My choice of individuals that have made the Subiaco Football Club successful during the period 1970 to 2009.
1. HAYDN BUNTON JNR.
Haydn Bunton jnr. 'The Little Master', played 59 games from 1968-1971, was captain from 1968-1970, coach from 1968-1972 and 1984-1992. Bunton was responsible for developing a premiership quality side in the early '70's and on his return to the club in 1984, coached the club to 5 grand finals and 2 premierships. Bunton was a master of discipline and his ability to bring the best out of an 'average' player was renown. Bunton was elected a Life Member of the club in 1988 and in appreciation of his service to the club, it named the road outside Subiaco Oval, Haydn Bunton Drive.
2. PETER GERMAN
Former North Melbourne defender Peter German came to WA when he was appointed playing coach at Peel Thunder in 2001. German crossed to Subiaco as senior coach in 2003 taking the league side into the grand final that season. Premiership success came in 2004 and again in 2006. German who's reign as coach saw the Club regain it's status as one of the most successful teams of the new millenium resigned late in 2006 to take up a coaching roll with the Fremantle FC in the AFL.
3. NEIL TAYLOR
Of all the players of this era Neil Taylor was one of the most famous captain's of the club. Through the lean years of the mid 70's to the historic mid 80's, Taylor was at his courageous best on and off the field. The club games record holder with 260, and decorated as Club Champion in '81 & '83, Taylor will be remembered as a gallant leader for the Lions from 1982 to 1987. He was awarded Life Membership in 1984 and retired in 1989.
4. ROSS SMITH
This former St. Kilda captain & coach, Brownlow Medallist and Victorian representative came to Perth to study at UWA for 2 years in 1973. Subiaco was fortunate to secure his services as captain coach and as the saying goes, the rest is history. This courageous little rover lead the club to their fifth premiership in 1973, their first for 49 years. Smith, who played only 39 games in the maroon & gold returned to Victoria at the end of 1974. He will always be remembered for his 'in & under the ball' style and leadership qualities which produced the most famous of our premiership flags.
5. DWAYNE LAMB
Three time club fairest and best in '82, '84 & '85, Lamb played 191 games between 1980 & 1996 and was club captain in 1995 & 1996. Playing in either the midfield or as a defender, this left footer went on to forge a successful career with West Coast in the AFL. He was awarded Subiaco Life Membership in 1995.
6. PETER FEATHERBY
A classy centreman with slick skills and amazing stamina, Featherby was the only player from the 1973 premiership team to also play in the 1986 victorious side. Recruited from Wembley amateurs, Featherby played 197 games over 3 stints at Subi, winning the Fairest and Best in 1977 and 1978. He was a regular state representative winning the Simpson Medal in the WA v SA clash in 1973. Featherby also played at both Footscray and Geelong and was regarded as one of the top players in the VFL.
7. AUSTIN ROBERTSON
Although Robertson was at the twilight of his career in the early 1970's, his dominance in front of goal was enough to include him in the Top 10. 'Ocker' was one of football's all time greats, leading Subiaco's goalkicking tally for most of the 1960's and right up to his retirement in 1974. He was the WANFL leading goalkicker for 8 of those seasons and retired with a tally of 1,211 majors. He played 251 games, was part of the famous 1973 premiership team and won the Fairest and Best award in 1965 and 1968. A true champion, he was presented with Life Membership in 1972.
8. MIKE FITZPATRICK
It is not often that an individual comes along that is the complete package. Mike Fitzpatrick had everything. Not only was he one of the VFL's most sought after recruits in 1975, but he was also a Rhodes Scholar, which meant football was his second priority in the mid 70's. 'Fitzy' was an outstanding ruckman who was selected in Subi's Champion Team 1946-1976. He was named Club Champion in '73 and '74. He left us at the end of '74 to continue his career with Carlton, where he played in 3 premierships, captaining the Blues in their back to back flags of 1981 and 1982. Fitzy was recently elected chairman of the Australian Football League.
9. IAN DARGIE
Ian Dargie created history in 1991 winning the Sandover Medal, the first for a Subiaco player since Haydn Bunton snr. in 1941. His hard working, tough, relentless style and ball-getting ability saw him repeat this honour and capture his second Sandover Medal in 1994. Dargie's individual achievements proved he was a true champion and deserves his position as number 9 in my 'Top 10'.
10. ALLISTAIR PICKETT
Alli Pickett was born on 4 August 1973. He was one of the most decorated players in the WAFL competition in recent years. His retirement after the 2011 grand final at the age of 38 was the end of a worderful career for the pocket-sized rover. Originally discarded by West Perth in 1996, Ali played for the Narrogin Eagles. He returned to league football playing for Peel Thunder in 2001 and he won the Sandover Medal in 2002. Pickett came across to Subiaco when Peel coach Peter German was appointed coach of the Lions in 2003. He repeated his Sandover Medal triumph again in 2004. One of Pickett's son's Alliston, also played for Subiaco and in July 2010 made WAFL history by being the first ever father and son to play in the same league game. Pickett is a four time Subiaco premiership player, a Subiaco Life Member and a member of the Subiaco Team of the Century.