Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Norman McDonald

Known as
Norm McDonald

10 December 1925

28 November 2002 (aged 76)

Indigenous Australian

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 151d
Last game: 27y 269d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 74 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 4

Norm McDonald

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 5,672nd player to appear, 1,694th most games played, 7,180th most goals kickedEssendon: 607th player to appear, 111th most games played, 634th most goals kicked

A player of tremendous pace and natural ability, Norm McDonald gave Essendon fine service in 128 VFL games between 1947 and 1953. His impact was immediate, as he won the Dons' best first year player award in his debut season. In 1948 he was the club's top performer during a finals series that ended in a heart-rending loss to Melbourne in a replayed Grand Final. When Essendon made amends the following year with a 73 point Grand Final demolition of Carlton, McDonald was one of the best players on view, while in the 1950 Grand Final win over North Melbourne he was a widespread choice as best afield.

Continuing to excel over the final three seasons of his league career, McDonald won his club's best and fairest award in 1951, and represented the 'Big V' the following year. He was one of the first indigenous Australian footballers to 'make it big' in the VFL, and would be on many people's shortlist of the greatest dozen or so specialist half back flankers of all time. Writing in 'The Sporting Globe', Ben Kerville provided this glittering assessment of Norm McDonald's talent: league football's best half back flanker; a veritable Mandrake at the business of befuddling and bewitching rival half forwards. Football becomes ballet when interpreted by this fleetfooted will-o'-the-wisp. There's the rhythm and grace of the ballerina in his weaving evasive manoeuvres. Probably not since Haydn Bunton has there been a better 'mover' on the field. Perhaps the nearest approach to him today is Bill Twomey. Yet despite this downright elegance, McDonald is a positive, red-blooded and essentially masculine footballer. His approach to the problem of defence is rather original. Not always does he stick rigidly to his man in accordance with the catch-cry of coaches since grandma wore tights. Rather does he prefer to give his opponent a little latitude - sufficient ground in which to bury himself, as it were. Not for 'Macka' this negative spoiling or bash-'em-down stuff. He prefers to pit skill against skill and let the winner take all.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


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