Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
George Allan Bailey

Known as
George Bailey

Born
5 July 1919

Place of birth
Armadale, WA (6112)

Died
30 June 1998 (aged 78)

Place of death
Inglewood, WA (6052)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 302d
Last game: 28y 336d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 81 kg

Senior clubs
Perth; Carlton

Jumper numbers
Carlton: 5

Recruited from
Perth (1941); Carlton (1945); Perth (1947); Carlton (1949)

State of origin
WA

George Bailey

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
PerthWANFL1937-1940, 1945, 1949-1951110190.17
CarltonV/AFL1941-1942, 1947-194858120.2171%0
Total1937-1942, 1945, 1947-1951168310.18

AFL: 4,896th player to appear, 3,892nd most games played, 4,636th most goals kickedCarlton: 560th player to appear, 301st most games played, 390th most goals kicked

When Bailey re-appeared for Perth this season, Perth supporters rubbed their eyes. He was an entirely different player. He had filled out appreciably, showed greater confidence, and his dash was something ‘out of the bag’. Although Bailey’s bustling tactics have seen his opponents at times ‘skittled like ninepins’, his play has been scrupulously fair. He is easily the most vigorous performer in WA. His showings at centre half-back for Perth have certainly entitled him to the honor of 1945’s Sandover Medal.¹

George Bailey was an extremely talented defender and occasional ruckman who enjoyed considerable success in two states. After making his league debut with Perth in 1937, he crossed to Carlton on a war permit in 1941, and spent a couple of seasons in the VFL. Wartime commitments precluded his fronting up in 1943 and 1944, but in 1945 he resumed with Perth and enjoyed the best season of his career, winning both a Sandover Medal and his club's fairest and best award. 

The following year saw Bailey forced to stand out of football as he sought, but was refused, a clearance back to Carlton. The clearance was finally granted in 1947 and he spent another two seasons with the Blues to take his final tally of VFL games to 58. The highlight of his time in Victoria was his participation in Carlton's one-point victory over Essendon in the 1947 grand final, when Bailey, with the penultimate kick of the match, passed to Fred Stafford who slotted home the winning goal to see the Blues home by a solitary point.

The 1949 season saw George Bailey back 'home' with Perth where he spent the final three years of his career as a player. In 1949 he was in a back pocket as the Redlegs lost to West Perth in the premiership decider, and the following year, having assumed the coaching reins but not the captaincy, he starred at full back in a six-point grand final loss to South Fremantle.

Bailey carried on as playing coach in 1951 (steering the side to third place), and in a non-playing capacity the next year (when the side slumped to sixth). In 1953 he was replaced as coach by Ern Henfry, who two years later would steer the Redlegs to a long overdue flag (described here).

George Bailey, who played a total of 110 WANFL games during the Perth phases of his career, somewhat surprisingly never represented his state. However, his high reputation at Perth was emphasised in 1999 with his selection in a back pocket in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.

Author - John Devaney

Footnotes

1. “Call”, 20/9/45, page 2.

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications, Crème de la Crème

Footnotes

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