Australian Football

AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game

 

Key Facts

Full name
Earl George Spalding

Known as
Earl Spalding

Born
11 March 1965 (age 57)

Place of birth
South Perth, WA (6151)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 17d
Last game: 32y 151d

Height and weight
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 110 kg

Senior clubs
Perth; Melbourne; Carlton; East Fremantle

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 35, 5
Carlton: 11

Recruited from
Perth (1987); Melbourne (1992); Carlton (1998)

State of origin
WA

Family links
George Spalding (Father)Scott Spalding (Brother)

Earl Spalding

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
PerthWAFL1983-198663791.25
MelbourneV/AFL1987-1991109630.5864%8.484.684.0817
CarltonAFL1992-19971021061.0470%8.075.674.3116
East FremantleWR1998-199932411.28
WR1983-1986, 1998-1999951201.26
V/AFL1987-19972111690.8067%8.285.164.1933
Total1983-19993062890.94

AFL: 9,775th player to appear, 529th most games played, 539th most goals kickedMelbourne: 1,090th player to appear, 144th most games played, 113th most goals kickedCarlton: 980th player to appear, 170th most games played, 82nd most goals kicked

One of a rare group of footballers to have played in excess of 100 V/AFL games at two different clubs, Earl Spalding, nicknamed 'The Duke', was a fine all round sportsman as a youngster when he attended Wesley College. In 1983 he commenced his league football career with Perth and he went on to play 63 games and kick 79 goals over the course of a four season stint at the club.

Solidly built at 198cm and 110kg Spalding was excellent overhead but his kicking style was awkward and lacking in both accuracy and penetration. Nevertheless, he was a solid performer for Melbourne, whom he joined in preference to VFL debutant West Coast, in 109 V/AFL games from 1987 to 1991, registering 63 goals. It was while with Carlton though where he played 102 games and kicked 106 goals between 1992 and 1997 that he produced his best football. He arguably reached his peak during a 1995 season which was crowned with participation in a Blues premiership.

A thoroughly unselfish player, his value to the team was immense, and he could always be relied upon to provide a contest whether aerially or at ground level. Together with fellow tall Stephen Kernahan and elusive goalsneak Brad Pearce he gave Carlton one of the most damaging forward set-ups in the club’s history.

Spalding finished his playing career at East Fremantle where his 32 games in 1998-9 included the winning grand final of 1998 against West Perth.

Since retiring as a player Earl Spalding has spent time as coach of both of the WAFL clubs for which he played, Perth and East Fremantle, and he also had a long stint as assistant coach at Fremantle.

Spalding is the son of former Perth player George Spalding and the brother of Scott Spalding, who played one game for Carlton as well as enjoying a long WAFL career with Perth and East Fremantle.

Author - John Devaney

Sources

Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers by Russell Holmesby & Jim Main; Wikipedia article; http://www.blueseum.org/Earl+Spalding

Footnotes

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