Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
William Brittingham

Known as
Bill Brittingham

5 September 1923

18 June 1996 (aged 72)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 252d
Last game: 28y 360d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 83 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 23

Bill Brittingham

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 5,167th player to appear, 953rd most games played, 477th most goals kickedEssendon: 571st player to appear, 54th most games played, 29th most goals kicked

Before switching to full back Brittingham was Essendon’s full forward and in 1946 won the League goal-kicking with 66 goals. Brittingham told Essendon selectors if they wished to train another player to fill his place he would stand aside. “It is a sporting gesture from a player who has always been a great clubman,” Essendon chairman of selectors Howard Okey said today.¹

Having worked his way through the ranks at Essendon, Bill Brittingham made his senior VFL debut in 1943, and after a slow start developed in to an excellent key position player. Prior to the arrival of John Coleman he was the Dons' full forward, topping the league goal kicking list in 1946 with 66 goals, and Essendon's the following year with 48. However, in 1948 his woeful inaccuracy in the Grand Final against Melbourne was blamed for his side's failure to win the match despite managing 34 scoring shots to 19. The game ended as a draw, and Melbourne won the following week's replay comfortably.

After Coleman's arrival the following season, Brittingham was converted into a solidly effective full back, in which position he was a key member of the Dons' 1949 and 1950 premiership winning teams. In 1950, he was chosen as full back in the prestigious team of the year selected annually by the writers of 'Sporting Life' magazine. He was runner-up in Essendon's best and fairest award the same year.

Bill Brittingham retired at the end of the 1952 season after a ten season, 171 game league career. He later spent four years as an Essendon committee member.

Author - John Devaney


1. “The Herald”, 25/7/52, page 12.


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* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.