28 March 1941 (age 81)
Place of birth
Busselton, WA (6280)
Height and weight
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 69 kg
State of origin
Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2004)
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Ask virtually any footballer what his single greatest ambition in the game is and he will likely reply, “To play in a premiership team”. Doubtless that ambition held true of former East Perth great Derek Chadwick who, in the fourteen seasons between 1959 and 1972, played a record 269 games for a club that failed to contest the finals on only three occasions during that time. In the other eleven seasons, the Royals reached the Grand Final no fewer than nine times, but were successful only twice, in 1959, when eighteen year-old Chadwick missed selection, and in 1972, a couple of months after his retirement. All of which makes the supremely talented Chadwick arguably one of the most unfortunate players in the history of the game, and given the fact that he was also intensely competitive - he was notorious for approaching even an ostensibly casual kick to kick session as if it was the last quarter of a Grand Final - this must have hurt inordinately.
Playing mainly on the wing, Derek Chadwick was in many ways a prototype of the sort of wingman who was to come - tough, tenacious, physically strong and ultra aggressive, much less a Clem Bahen or a ‘Pops’ Heal than a Schimmelbusch, an Ayres, or even a pint-sized Dipierdomenico. In interstate matches against the VFL and South Australia he was consistently good, and often brilliant, and when the finals came around it was certainly not Chadwick’s fault when, as invariably happened in the end, the Royals got beaten.
While his style of play was probably not designed to attract Sandover votes - although he did run third behind Barry Cable and Mel Whinnen in 1964 - his importance to his club was twice recognised with fairest and best awards, while he earned a Simpson Medal in 1964 after two blistering displays for Western Australia in Melbourne and Adelaide. In June 2006 he was chosen in his favoured wing position in East Perth’s official ‘Team of the Century 1945 to 2005’.
Aside from his football ability, Derek Chadwick was also an extremely accomplished cricketer, making 65 Sheffield Shield appearances for Western Australia, but never quite managing to break into the Australian Test team - although he toured New Zealand with an Australian Second XI.
Author - John Devaney