Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
William Proudfoot

Known as
Bill Proudfoot

11 June 1868

11 January 1931 (aged 62)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 28y 331d
Last game: 38y 75d

Height and weight
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 102 kg

Senior clubs

State of origin

Family links
Alec Proudfoot (Nephew)Norm Crewther (Nephew)

Bill Proudfoot

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 124th player to appear, 2,172nd most games played, 9,710th most goals kickedCollingwood: 15th player to appear, 166th most games played, 878th most goals kicked




One of the genuinely great figures in Collingwood's illustrious history, Bill Proudfoot played in the club's very first VFA match in May 1892 against Carlton, and remained a key member of the side for 15 seasons. He had begun his senior career with Britannia, the club from which Collingwood would derive most of its players and officials when it was formed prior to the start of the 1892 football season.

Regarded at the time as a veritable 'man mountain' at 184 cm and 102 kg, Proudfoot was a formidable on-field presence as he combined enormous strength and power with considerable pace. He also marked and kicked well, and boasted, in abundance, the trademark Collingwood trait of immense passion and loyalty for his team. He served as club captain in 1898, part of the 1899 season, and 1901. At the MCG in 1894, Proudfoot was the first ever Collingwood player to represent Victoria, when he was part of a formidable backline that kept the visiting South Australians goalless. 

Most of his football was played on the last line of defence, and he was at full back in the VFL premiership-deciding matches of 1901, 1902, and 1903. In both 1902 against Essendon and 1903 against Fitzroy, the Magpies won, but in 1901 they went under to Essendon, with Proudfoot's departure from the fray owing to injury arguably the single most decisive factor in their loss. 

In 1905, Proudfoot was recalled to the Collingwood side for the Challenge Final clash with Fitzroy, despite having missed most of the season through work commitments; however, he could not prevent the Magpies from losing the match by 13 points. Nine years earlier, however, he had helped the club to its first ever flag, courtesy of a 6.9 to 5.10 (behinds not counting) victory over South Melbourne in a playoff, which had to be arranged after both teams finished level on points at the head of the ladder. This was the last VFA premiership to be contested prior to the breakaway of eight of the competition's wealthier and more ambitious clubs - of which Collingwood was one - to form the VFL.

When he retired in 1906 Bill Proudfoot had played a total of 187 games for the good old Collingwood, of which 108 were in the VFL. Based on his stature in the game and his contribution to it, one imagines that he must have been a strong candidate for inclusion in his club's official 'Team of The Century', but most V/AFL clubs, including Collingwood, tended for some reason not to include their early champions in these combinations.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


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