Francis William Bourke
2 April 1947 (age 76)
Place of birth
Caulfield, VIC (3162)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 41d
Last game: 34y 86d
Height and weight
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 84 kg
State of origin
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Most outstanding player in the side ..... Has tremendous ball getting ability and finishes this with long raking punt kicks. Undoubtedly the best half back flanker in league football.¹
Recruited from Nathalia, Francis Bourke overcame a heart murmur to become one of Richmond's greatest ever players - quite an accolade when you consider the number of out-and-out champions whose names grace the Punt Road honour board. Initially a wingman, Bourke later excelled in defence where his courage, pace, anticipation and refusal to be beaten made him ideally suited.
Known affectionately as 'Saint Francis', Bourke represented Richmond in 300 VFL games and his state on 13 occasions. He won the Tigers' top award in 1970, and was a member of five Richmond premiership teams.
Following his retirement, Bourke coached Richmond to the 1982 Grand Final, which was disappointingly lost against arch rivals Carlton. When the side slumped to 10th place the following year, Bourke's brief VFL coaching career came to a peremptory end, but no coach since has managed to steer the Tigers beyond the preliminary final.
Author - John Devaney,
1. "Football Record”, 29/9/73, page 9.