Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Desmond Baird

Known as
Des Baird

26 June 1888

27 March 1947 (aged 58)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 22d
Last game: 25y 338d

Height and weight
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 74 kg

Senior clubs
South Melbourne; St. Kilda

Jumper numbers
St. Kilda: 12, 3, 9

Recruited from
South Melbourne (1912)

Des Baird

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
South MelbourneV/AFL1908-1909600.0067%0
St. KildaV/AFL1912-19143170.2358%0
North ShoreNSWAFL1921
V/AFL1908-1909, 1912-19143770.1959%0
NSWAFL1914-1915, 1921
Total1908-1909, 1912-1915, 19213770.19

AFL: 1,428th player to appear, 4,920th most games played, 5,483rd most goals kickedSouth Melbourne: 214th player to appear, 959th most games played, 1,124th most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 395th player to appear, 444th most games played, 504th most goals kicked

Originally from Sunbury, Des Baird was a capable follower who struggled to hold down a regular place in a South Melbourne team which was among the strongest in the VFL at the time. He played just half a dozen games for the club in 1908-9, not including the grand final defeat of Carlton in the latter year. He did, however, play in South’s 1909 championship of Australia-winning team against West Adelaide.

From 1911 until five games into the 1914 season Baird played 31 games for St Kilda, whilst kicking the only seven goals of his VFL career. He was a member of the Saints’ first ever grand final team in 1913, when he was at the centre of a critical incident during the match. With opponents Fitzroy two points to the good, and only a couple of minutes remaining, Baird marked the ball well within range of goal, but instead of taking a shot opted to handball to George Morrissey whose snapshot registered a behind. The Roys then dominated the closing stages, adding two goals to their tally to win by that margin. Needless to say, Baird was roundly criticised for his errant decision, which some said cost the Saints the match.

Early in the 1914 season Des Baird moved to Sydney and joined Paddington where he spent a couple of years. During this time he was vice captain of the New South Wales state team at the 1914 Sydney carnival and played in Paddington’s first ever grand final-winning team against Newtown.

In 1921 Baird returned to football with North Shore, which was resuming in the NSWFL after being in recess during and just after the war. He helped the side to a premiership at the expense of Newtown, and was joined in the grand final by four other former VFL players in the shape of Les Charge, Herb Friend, Bryan Rush and Gerald Ryan.

Author - John Devaney


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