Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
William Busbridge

Known as
Bill Busbridge


31 January 1885

12 June 1943 (aged 58)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 97d
Last game: 27y 164d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 83 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon Town; Essendon

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 2, 21

Family links
Norm Busbridge (Brother)

Bill Busbridge

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
Essendon TownVFA1902-1903

AFL: 913th player to appear, 2,304th most games played, 2,803rd most goals kickedEssendon: 106th player to appear, 163rd most games played, 240th most goals kicked

The late Mr. Busbrldge was one of the best all-round footballers of his time, and played with Essendon as a centre half-back and follower from 1911 for about 10 years. He was a member of the ruck that was known as one of the best of all time and included Alan Belcher, with Ernie Cameron as rover. Deceased played the game fairly and fearlessly, and represented Victoria on several occasions. He won a competition in 1912 as the best footballer in Australia.¹

Bill Busbridge commenced his senior career with Essendon Town in 1902, aged just fifteen. By his second season he was universally recognised as one of the finest players in the VFA, and few people can have been surprised when he crossed to the Essendon league side in 1904.

Nicknamed 'Buzzy', there can be little doubt that Busbridge was one of the very finest players of his era. Renowned as the best centre half back in the game, he was also a superb ruckman, combining great aerial prowess with superb anticipation and great dash. In 1908 he represented the 'Big V' at the inaugural Australasian championships in Melbourne, and in 1911 he starred across half back as the Same Old downed Collingwood by a goal in a dour, low-scoring flag decider. Busbridge had made a late start to that 1911 season after injuring a knee, and when the same knee went early the following year he was compelled to retire after a total of 103 VFL games in nine seasons.

Bill Busbridge was non-playing coach of Geelong Association in 1925, but the side managed just one win from 14 matches and finished last. He later served as a Geelong committeeman.

Author - John Devaney


1. From Bill Busbridge’s obituary in “The Age”, 14/6/43, page 4. The nature of the competition referred to is unclear.
2. Renamed Essendon Association in 1905.


Full Points Footy Publications, Crème de la Crème


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