Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Paul Vander Haar

Known as
Paul Vander Haar

The Flying Dutchman

7 March 1958 (age 64)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 54d
Last game: 32y 213d

Height and weight
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 93 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 18

Paul Vander Haar

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 8,895th player to appear, 620th most games played, 225th most goals kickedEssendon: 846th player to appear, 29th most games played, 18th most goals kicked

'The Flying Dutchman', as Paul Vander Haar became known, was a firm favourite at Windy Hill for well over a decade. He arrived at Essendon from local club Ringwood and made his league debut in 1977. Right from the outset, his impact was considerable. With his blond hair, spectacular aerial ability, and all-action approach, Vander Haar was a born headline maker, that rare type of player who somehow manages to show-case all the most visually appealing elements of the Australian code of football.

He was also extremely effective, and one of the single biggest reasons for the Bombers' evolution from challenger to champion under Kevin Sheedy. In both 1984 and 1985 he was a member of the Bomber combinations which triumphed over Hawthorn in the Grand Final. He also played in the 1981 and 1984 night premiership-winning teams.

Throughout his career Vander Haar was no stranger to mishap and misfortune. In 1978 he sustained a serious neck injury in a trail bike accident and was a long while recovering fitness. Later in his career he was frequently sidelined with injury but almost always managed to give good value when selected. Vander Haar played the last of his 201 senior games, during which he kicked 278 goals, in 1990. His career also comprised several appearances in a Big V jumper, and he twice finished as runner-up in Essendon's best and fairest award voting.

Author - John Devaney


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