Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
William Hutchison

Known as
Bill Hutchison

Born
28 April 1923

Died
18 June 1982 (aged 59)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 18d
Last game: 34y 146d

Height and weight
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 70 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 7

Bill Hutchison

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
EssendonV/AFL1942-19572904961.7166%31.007.50172
Total1942-19572904961.7166%31.007.50172

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 5,034th player to appear, 112th most games played, 63rd most goals kickedEssendon: 563rd player to appear, 7th most games played, 5th most goals kicked

Recruited by Essendon from local league side Essendon Stars, where he had played chiefly as a wingman, Bill Hutchison developed into one of the greatest rovers the game has seen. Initially though, the Dons used him as a half forward flanker, which was where he lined up for most of his debut season of 1942, including that year's winning Grand Final against Richmond. Hutchison had a quiet game that day, but next time he appeared in a Grand Final, in 1946, he put in the sort of tireless, elegant, pacy performance that was fast becoming his trademark as the Dons crushed Melbourne by 63 points.

Hutchison won the first of seven Essendon best and fairest awards in 1946, by which time he was already a stalwart in VFL representative sides, for which he made a near record 30 appearances, earning All Australian selection in 1953 and 1956. Despite a propensity to 'backchat' to umpires, he almost invariably polled well in the Brownlow, finally breaking through for a win in 1953 after missing out only on countback the previous year. In 1989 the VFL retrospectively awarded him, as well as all other countback losers, a 1952 Medal also, but sadly Bill Hutchison had by that time passed away. His volubility notwithstanding, few players in history have so admirably and consistently conformed to both requirements for receiving Brownlow Medal votes, for Bill Hutchison was as impeccably fair as he was brilliant.

Always a dangerous player near goal, Hutchison averaged nearly two goals a game over the course of his 16-season, 290 game VFL career (1942-57), during which he took part in no fewer than eight Grand Finals for four flags. Despite his small stature, he managed to remain remarkably injury free, a tribute both to his speed of movement and adroitness of mind.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment of Hutchison's career was that, after he replaced Dick Reynolds as Essendon's captain in 1951 he was unable to emulate his predecessor by leading the club to a premiership. Nevertheless, few players, either at Essendon or elsewhere, have enjoyed such illustrious careers at football's highest level.

Author - John Devaney

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications

Footnotes

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