Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Frank Maher

Known as
Frank Maher

22 September 1895

7 November 1976 (aged 81)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 25y 262d
Last game: 32y 331d

Height and weight
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 70 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Oakleigh

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 24

Recruited from
Lilydale (1921)

Frank Maher

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 2,648th player to appear, 1,518th most games played, 847th most goals kickedEssendon: 334th player to appear, 93rd most games played, 58th most goals kicked

Despite being a late starter, Frank Maher loses nothing in comparison with virtually any of the galaxy of champions to have worn the famous black and red of the Essendon Football Club. Maher, in fact, did not play football until he was serving abroad with the Australian Expeditionary Force during World War I. On his return to Australia, he joined Lilydale, where his performances were so admirable that he was soon being pursued by a number of VFL clubs, notably Carlton and Essendon. For a time, it seemed likely that he would join the Blues, but in the end he elected to throw in his lot with the Dons, for whom he made his league debut in 1921.

Just 170 cm in height, and light of frame, Maher nevertheless had plenty of courage, knew how to get the ball, and used it superbly. In 1923-4 he was a key member of Essendon's famed 'mosquito fleet' which helped propel the club to successive flags. In the 1923 Grand Final victory over Fitzroy he was one of the best players afield, and his team mates later voted him the club's player of the season. Four years later, he won Essendon's official best and fairest award, having spent the previous three seasons as the senior side's captain-coach.

Maher was a regular VFL representative (nine games), captaining the team twice.

In 1929, after 137 VFL games, he accepted a sizeable financial inducement to join Oakleigh, which had just been admitted to the VFA, as captain-coach; it did not take him long to repay the club either as, after taking just a single season to consolidate, he oversaw consecutive flags in 1930-31.

Frank Maher later had unsuccessful stints as coach of Fitzroy (1932-3), back at Oakleigh (1934), and Carlton (1935-6). Between 1958 and 1968 he was president of the Essendon past players and officials association.

Author - John Devaney


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