Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Haydn Bunton Snr

Known as
Haydn Bunton

5 July 1911

Place of birth
Albury, NSW (2640)

5 September 1955

Place of death
Adelaide, SA (5000)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 301d
Last game: 30y 322d

Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 73 kg

Senior clubs
Fitzroy, Subiaco, Port Adelaide

Jumper numbers
Fitzroy: 7

Recruited from
Fitzroy (1938); Subiaco (1942); Fitzroy (1945)

State of origin

Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (1996) Legend (1996); Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2004)

Family links
Haydn Bunton Jnr (Son)

Haydn Bunton

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
FitzroyV/AFL1931-1937, 19421192071.7434%122
Port AdelaideSANFL194517301.76

AFL: 3,753rd player to appear, 1,638th most games played, 352nd most goals kickedFitzroy: 405th player to appear, 82nd most games played, 17th most goals kicked


In the opinion of many Haydn Bunton senior was, quite simply, the finest Australian footballer ever. It is therefore extremely ironic that he was born in Albury, New South Wales, a state where rugby has traditionally been the king of winter sports. 

Bunton's outstanding performances in the Ovens and Murray Football League, where he played initially for Albury and later West Albury, attracted the attention of all twelve VFL clubs but it was Fitzroy which ultimately secured his signature. However, he was then forced to sit on the sidelines throughout the 1930 season while claims that the Maroons had been guilty of offering him illegal financial inducements were investigated (and ultimately proved). During this time, he was allegedly approached by two VFA clubs, Oakleigh and Yarraville, who wanted to secure his services on a temporary basis; Bunton, however, declined.

Playing mainly as a rover, Bunton was a stunning success from the start, winning Brownlows in each of his first two league seasons. Averaging close to 30 kicks a game he was possessed of all the offensive skills in the book and his extraordinary fluidity and grace of movement made him a delight to watch. Bunton won a further Brownlow Medal in 1935 before moving to Subiaco three years later. 

Bunton’s peak years as a player were spent with Fitzroy, where he became the game’s first ever triple Brownlow Medallist, and Subiaco. He joined Subiaco as captain-coach in 1938 and promptly won back to back Sandover Medals, followed by a third in 1941. His four season stint in the west netted him 72 league games as well as three interstate appearances for Western Australia. He was voted Subiaco’s fairest and best player three times, and topped the club’s goal kicking list in 1938 with 51 goals, 1939 (59), 1940 (34) and 1941 (46).

World War Two curtailed Bunton's career, preventing what might have been still greater success, although after leaving the [Subiaco] Maroons he did return briefly to Fitzroy in 1942, taking his final tally of senior games with that club to 119, before rounding off his career with a one-season stint at Port Adelaide in 1945, but his best days as a player were by then behind him.

Bunton spent a season as a field umpire before assuming the coaching reins, on a non-playing basis, at North Adelaide in 1947. Bunton spent two seasons with North, but was unable to steer his charges into the finals.

Author - John Devaney


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