Australian Football

AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game

 

Key Facts

Full name
William Morris

Known as
Bill Morris

Born
24 April 1921

Died
25 May 1960 (aged 39)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 64d
Last game: 30y 130d

Height and weight
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 86 kg

Senior clubs
Richmond; Box Hill

Jumper numbers
Richmond: 7, 5

Bill Morris

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
RichmondV/AFL1942, 1944-1951140980.7061%85
Box HillVFA1952-1954581011.74
Total1942, 1944-19541981991.01

AFL: 5,088th player to appear, 1,447th most games played, 1,073rd most goals kickedRichmond: 414th player to appear, 81st most games played, 76th most goals kicked

During World War II, Bill Morris joined Melbourne, but after just one game in the reserves he joined the army. Shortly afterwards, he was lured to Richmond by Jack Dyer, where he made a handful of senior VFL appearances in 1942 and again two years later. In 1945, he played his first full league season, and immediately stamped himself as a performer of considerable class and poise, winning the Tigers' best and fairest award, and representing the VFL against South Australia in Adelaide. From then until his retirement at the end of the 1951 season he was a virtual ever present in VFL interstate teams, earning a reputation in the process as arguably the finest knock ruckman in the game at the time.

Despite often frustrating his coach, Jack Dyer, by an apparent propensity for picking up minor injuries on the training track, once let loose on a Saturday afternoon he was unstoppable, treating the welter of cuts and bruises that were an inevitable byproduct of his status as the opposition's 'public enemy number one' with blithe indifference.

Renowned for his impeccable fairness, Morris inevitably garnered more than his fair share of Brownlow votes, winning the award in 1948, and finishing second two years later. He also won Richmond's top award on three occasions.

After captaining the Tigers in his final two seasons in the VFL Morris captain-coached Box Hill in the VFA from 1952 to 1954, during which time the team showed steady improvement. Morris continued to give good service as a player, and in 1954 was the club's top goal kicker, and fifth on the VFA list, with 57 goals. In 1960, aged 38, Bill Morris tragically ended his own life.

Author - John Devaney

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications

Footnotes

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