Laurence John Nash
2 May 1910
Place of birth
Fitzroy, VIC (3065)
24 July 1986 (aged 76)
Place of death
Heidelberg, VIC (3084)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 362d
Last game: 35y 150d
Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 83 kg
South Melbourne: 25, 1
State of origin
Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (1996)
Bob Nash (Father)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|South Melbourne||V/AFL||1933-1937, 1945||99||246||2.48||72%||20.45||—||7.70||37|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
If self-confidence is the primary fuel on which most sporting champions run then Laurie Nash's many accomplishments are easy to explain. When asked who was the greatest footballer he had ever seen Nash famously replied 'I see him in the mirror every morning when I shave'.
Many of Nash's opponents would be inclined to agree with this assessment. Despite being a mere 179 centimetres in height there have been few better high marking centre half forwards in the history of the game. Added to his aerial prowess were pace, excellent ball control, and the ability to kick long and accurately with either foot. Champion Collingwood goalsneak Gordon Coventry opined that Nash would have been the most prolific full forward of all time had he been stationed permanently at the goalfront. The 18 goals which he managed against South Australia on one occasion appeared to endorse this opinion. (However, the widely propounded myth that Nash achieved this feat in less than three quarters of football is precisely that - a myth. Contemporary reports, such as that published in The Melbourne Herald on the evening of the match, confirm that Nash booted two of the VFL's nine opening quarter goals plus two more in the second term.¹)
Nash's VFL career comprised 99 games with South Melbourne between 1933 and 1937 as well as in 1945. He booted a total of 246 goals. In his debut season he was best afield as the red and whites surged to a 42-point Grand Final victory over Richmond. Perhaps surprisingly, he never won South's best and fairest trophy, although he did captain the club in 1937, and was its top goalkicker both that year and in 1945.
Prior to his VFL stint, Nash achieved considerable notoriety with NTFA club City, playing a total of 45 senior games between 1930 and 1932, including the winning local and state Grand Finals of both 1930 and 1932. He won the Tasman Shield Trophy as the competition's best and fairest player in 1931 and 1932, and was a regular representative player, appearing 10 times for Northern Tasmanian combinations, as well as in all five of Tasmania's matches at the 1930 Adelaide carnival.²
Arguably Nash's best years as a footballer were spent with Camberwell where he kicked 418 goals in just 74 games over four seasons.
In 2004, Laurie Nash's immense contribution to Tasmanian football was recognised with his selection at centre half back in the official 'Team of the Century' for that state. A year earlier he had been placed at centre half forward in both South Melbourne's and Camberwell's equivalent teams. In the City/City-South 'Team of the Century', named in 2002, he was chosen at centre half back, the position he filled during most of his Tasmanian sojourn. More recently, in 2006, he was named as a legend in Tasmanian Football's official Hall of Fame.
Author - John Devaney
1. I am indebted to Tasmanian-based sports historian Ross Smith for establishing this fact beyond any reasonable doubt via his detailed examination of contemporary source material.
2. Statistics derived from primary source-based research undertaken by Ross Smith.