|V/AFL Clubs||Carlton, Fitzroy|
From the time he made his VFL debut as a sixteen year old Coburg High School student in 1967, Carlton's Robert Walls seemed destined for a noteworthy career. Lining up at full forward, he booted a goal with his first kick in league football, the first of 347 he would amass in 219 games with the Blues. Some of his early football was played in the backlines, and he was in a back pocket in the 1968 grand final when Carlton overcame Essendon by 3 points, but it was as a centre half forward that he truly came into his own. He topped Carlton's goal kicking list on two occasions, and was a premiership player twice more, in 1970 and 1972. He also represented the VFL on 4 occasions.
Lean and lithe, with long arms, Walls could regularly out-mark most opponents, but was equally adept at palming the ball to a team mate running past. He finished his playing career at Fitzroy where he added 41 games and 77 goals between 1978 and 1980.
As a coach, Walls was astute, resourceful, and, overall, a success. He took a hitherto unfashionable Fitzroy side to three finals series in five seasons, led Carlton to a flag in 1987, and oversaw Brisbane's overdue emergence as a credible combination when he steered the team to its first ever finals campaign in 1995, its ninth league season.
His prowess as a player was rewarded with inclusion in Carlton's official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.
Author - John Devaney