Garry Thomas Sidebottom
21 November 1954
28 March 2019 (aged 64)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 23y 131d
Last game: 29y 293d
Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 98 kg
Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame, Inducted 2011
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|Swan Districts||WAFL||1973-1977, 1985-1987||114||227||1.99||—||—||—||—||—|
AFL: 8,968th player to appear, 2,320th most games played, 678th most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 1,212th player to appear, 287th most games played, 70th most goals kickedGeelong: 807th player to appear, 760th most games played, 493rd most goals kickedFitzroy: 1,001st player to appear, 284th most games played, 95th most goals kicked
A powerful, bustling centre half forward or ruckman, Garry Sidebottom began and ended his career with Swan Districts, where he won fairest and best awards in 1976 and 1985, as well as topping the club's goal kicking list with 77 goals in the latter year. During his initial stint with Swans between 1973 and 1977 the side tended to struggle, and it was therefore somewhat ironic that, during his seven seasons away, it enjoyed almost perennial flirtation with premiership honours, which it secured on three occasions. The last of those occasions was in 1984, the season before Sidebottom's return to Bassendean. When Swans next procured a flag, in 1990, Sidebottom had retired as a player.
Sidebottom's time away from Bassendean was spent in Victoria, first with St Kilda (54 games, 1978-80) where he enjoyed two outstanding seasons in 1978 and 1979, topping the Saints goalkicking in the latter year. On the strength of this he was appointed captain. But with the club in strife the burden of captaincy seemed to weigh heavily on him - not least because of his relationship with the still playing coach Alex Jesaulenko - and his form slipped. The Saints could not renew his sizeable contract and he was traded to Geelong.
His one season at Kardinia Park was not memorable, apart that is, for that fact that he missed the team bus to play in the 1981 Preliminary Final against Collingwood due to an unfortunate breakdown in communications. Emergency Peter Johnston took his place at the last moment, despite having consumed half a chicken, a bucket of chips, a strawberry thick shake and smoked his way through half a pack of 'Winfield Blues' on his way to the game. The Cats lost by seven points, and many felt that with 'Sidey' on the field the result may well have been different.
Cleared to Fitzroy during the 1982 season, Sidebottom spent two and half productive years with the Lions, playing as a utility forward and again reminding his detractors what a good footballer he was when fit and focused.
If Garry Sidebottom's uninhibited style of play could sometimes prove a liability - he was certainly no stranger to the tribunal - overall there can be little doubt that his benefits to the team far outweighed any detrimental impact. 15 times a West Australian interstate representative, Garry Sidebottom was selected at centre half forward in Swan Districts' official "Team of the Century".
Author - John Devaney with additional material from Adam Cardosi