Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
David Parkin

Known as
David Parkin

Born
12 September 1942 (age 80)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 348d
Last game: 32y 9d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 80 kg

Senior clubs
Hawthorn; Subiaco

Jumper numbers
Hawthorn: 33, 27

David Parkin

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
HawthornV/AFL1961-1974211210.1055%13.201.502.8951
SubiacoWANFL1975820.25
Total1961-1975219230.11

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

As a footballer, Hawthorn's David Parkin was a tough, no-nonsense, straight ahead back pocket player who, in many ways, epitomised the approach of his coach, John Kennedy, to the game. Indeed, if Kennedy had a favoured disciple, it was Parkin, who played a total of 211 VFL games for the Hawks between 1961 and 1974, winning a best and fairest award in 1965. Between 1969 and 1973 he captained the club, with his proudest moment coming when he led his side to a 1971 Grand Final win over St Kilda, putting in a near best afield performance to boot.

In 1975, David Parkin joined Subiaco as captain-coach, but endured an unsuccessful time, only managing to play eight league games, and witnessing his charges finishing just one place off the bottom of the ladder. It must have been a useful education, however, for when he took over the coaching reins at Hawthorn a couple of years later he proved an immediate success, steering the Hawks to third place in his debut season and a premiership the year after.

Parkin's success at Hawthorn was perhaps attributable to a mixture of sameness and originality, for while he shared his predecessor Kennedy's passion for fitness and hard work, in terms of personality he was very different. Whereas Kennedy was very much the disciplinarian, whose word was law, Parkin adopted a much more 'modern', consensus based approach in which the views of players were always welcome. Ultimately, however, he may have been a little in advance of his time - either that, or he was still coming to grips with the formula - for Hawthorn struggled in 1979 and 1980 (10 wins each year) and when, at the end of the 1980 season, Parkin crossed to Carlton it was neither an entirely unexpected nor a particularly amicable divorce.

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Just by way of demonstrating that there was nothing wrong with his coaching methods, Parkin immediately took the Blues to back to back premierships, and he subsequently went on to be prove himself one of the most highly respected and successful coaches in the game, winning a fourth senior flag in 1995, during his second stint with the Blues. Interspersed between his two spells at Carlton, Parkin spent the 1986-88 seasons at Fitzroy, where he further emphasised his credentials by getting the perennially underachieving Lions to a preliminary final in his debut year.

Over the course of a 23-season, 518-game V/AFL coaching career which yielded a 59.3% success rate David Parkin's coaching style remained essentially the same, mirroring the disciplined, hard-working, industrious mentality that characterised David Parkin the player. Nowadays, meticulous preparation which incorporates detailed analyses of opposing teams' strengths and weaknesses is a taken for granted 'given' at every AFL club, but prior to Parkin things were typically handled much less assiduously; in a sense, he was the first V/ AFL coach for whom the classroom became at least as important as the training track, and for that reason alone he is worthy of a prominent place in the annals of football history.

Author - John Devaney

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications

Footnotes

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