W. Robert McKenzie
31 October 1911
16 June 1989 (aged 77)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 225d
Last game: 28y 256d
Height and weight
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 75 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|South Melbourne||V/AFL||1931, 1933-1936, 1940||55||25||0.45||75%||10.89||—||1.89||3|
|Total||1931, 1933-1941, 1945-1946||103||82||0.80||—||—||—||—||—|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 3,821st player to appear, 2,340th most games played, 1,316th most goals kickedSouth Melbourne: 452nd player to appear, 306th most games played, 283rd most goals kickedFitzroy: 504th player to appear, 259th most games played, 87th most goals kicked
Jock McKenzie made his VFL debut for South Melbourne without fanfare in Round 7, 1931. He was named on a half-back flank, but he did not rate a mention in any of the post-match dispatches either in the Herald or the Sporting Globe on Saturday night, or the Argus or the Age on Monday morning.
It would be more than two years before the name McKenzie made another appearance on the senior South Melbourne team sheet, but once it did it would remain a permanent one for the rest of that season. McKenzie spent that period biding his time in the Seconds, proving himself as an outstanding defender. His fine form prompted the Emerald Hill Record's football correspondent to declare on July 8, 1933:
McKenzie is another who must merit consideration in the near future. He is only 21, and a dashing and vigorous type of player; He played one game with South two years ago but a couple 'of mistakes he made appear to spoil his chances of ever getting back to the senior team. In his only League match, McKenzie was given the task of minding Bunton and Batchelor, rovers who have outclassed the best defenders in the League.
Those timely words must have reflected the thoughts of South's selection committee, because McKenzie found himself back in the senior side the following weekend, albeit as 19th man. The following week, he was selected in the starting 18 and held his place for the remainder of the season as the Bloods swept all before them to win the 1933 premiership. The Sporting Globe's 'Short Pass' listed McKenzie as one of South's best in their Grand Final drubbing of Richmond.
More or less a permanent member of the Swans' senior side over the following two seasons, McKenzie made further Grand Final appearances in 1934 and 1935, but was unable to add to his premiership tally as South were defeated by Richmond and then Collingwood in the premiership deciders.
In 1936 McKenzie found himself out of favour with selectors early in the season, which caused some consternation among Swans fans, enough for several to take up McKenzie's cause via letters to the editor of the local South Melbourne newspaper:
I, too, would very much like to know why 'Jock' MacKenzie has lost favour with the selectors. A player of his type is certainly needed in the team and, after the sterling service he rendered last season, it does seem very unfair to him to be dropped now.
Having been dropped in May, McKenzie regained his place in the seniors for the Swans Round 8 match in late June, but lasted only a week before again being relegated. This time McKenzie's fall from favour at Lake Oval was permanent, and six weeks later he made his debut for Fitzroy. McKenzie played four games with the Maroons to see out the season, the last of those a loss that would have stung, by a solitary point to his old side.
McKenzie spent three more seasons with Fitzroy, playing mostly in the forward line, but while his own form in that period was solid, his team's was not, and he never again experienced finals football. All up, McKenzie played 48 matches with the Roys (the highlight of which was a 52-point win over his old side in 1938, in which he kicked four goals) before, in an unexpected career twist, he found himself back at the Lake Oval heading into the 1940 season.
No one was more pleased than McKenzie about his return, who, when asked by the Emerald Hill Record's football reporter, "What are you doing back here, Jock", was very happy to discuss:
Well, I was born in South, have lived my life here, all my friends are here, and it was not my wish that I left South in the first place. I've never been happy playing with Fitzroy, although they treated me well. Anyhow, Herbie Matthews and I have been mates since childhood, and its only right we 'should be mates on the football field. I'm only 27, and have got years ahead of me as a footballer.
As it turned out, McKenzie was right, but he would last only one more season at South. After playing all but one of the first 12 games of 1940, McKenzie received a two-match suspension for 'interfering with an opponent' after the opponent had disposed of the ball. Despite having kicked two of the Swans' four goals in that match, he found himself as an emergency when he had served his 'time'.
Despite several good showings in the Seconds, including an eight-goal haul against North Melbourne, McKenzie failed to regain a place in the senior side, and was cut from South's list prior to the 1941 season.
McKenzie did, however, prove true to his word, and he gave VFA side Oakleigh several years of solid service until hanging up the boots prior to the 1947 season.
Author - Andrew Gigacz