Alan John Schultz
28 September 1938 (age 84)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 196d
Last game: 29y 317d
Height and weight
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Footscray: 32, 14
Robert Schultz (Brother)
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Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Renowned as much for his fairness as for his brilliance, there can have been few more fitting recipients of the Charles Brownlow Medal than Footscray's 'gentle giant', John Schultz. Recruited by the Bulldogs after he had played just 16 games with country side Boort, having played previously with Caulfield Grammarians in the VAFA, Schultz made his VFL debut in 1958 against Collingwood, and within 20 seconds of the opening bounce he was lying prostrate, unconscious, the victim of a Harry Sullivan back-hander.
Despite this strenuous introduction to league ranks, however, Schultz himself was never known to resort to underhanded activities of any kind during an illustrious 11-season, 188-game VFL career that saw him widely recognised by his fellow ruckmen as the most challenging and difficult opponent in the game. During the early 1960s in particular Schultz stood head and shoulders, if not literally, then certainly in terms of impact and effectiveness, over every other ruckman in the VFL. His Brownlow Medal win in 1960 was universally acclaimed, as were his invariably superlative performances in a Big V jumper (24 of them in all), which at the 1961 Brisbane carnival earned him an All Australian blazer.
Much more than just an effective knock ruckman, "Schultz was acclaimed for good tackling, elegant marking and hard, fair bumping"¹. He was also supremely fit and durable, on one occasion playing a club record 169 consecutive games.
Voted the Bulldogs' best and fairest player on five occasions, Schultz was Footscray through and through, and would have loved nothing better than to help his team to a flag. The closest he came, however, was in 1961, when the Bulldogs made the Grand Final, but were overturned by Hawthorn. Schultz, who was the best ruckman on the ground, did everything he could to inspire his team mates to victory, but the Hawks were too fit and too strong.
Schultz retired at the end of the 1968 season, still aged only 29, but keen to develop the family's grocery business. Fittingly for a man who was notorious for his fairness, and indeed was never once reported, 'Gentleman' John Schultz later served on the League Tribunal.
Author - John Devaney
1. Unleashed: A History of the Footscray Football Club by John Lack, Chris McConville, Michael Small, Damien Wright, page 207.