27 July 1911
28 March 2004 (aged 92)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 328d
Last game: 33y 37d
Height and weight
Height: 165 cm
Weight: 70 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
If a poll were taken on the best all-round athlete and sportsman in Victoria to-day perhaps the majority would plump for Mr. Percy Beames, coach of the Melbourne Football Club, outstanding rover and leading club and Inter-State cricketer. The name of Beames in the sporting world stands for dash, daring and determination, which have been evidenced from his school days to the present.¹
Percy Beames was a tremendous all round sportsman who, besides being one of the greatest rovers in the history of the Melbourne Football Club, was good enough to represent his state in both football and cricket. After his retirement as a player he made a name for himself as a journalist with The Age, covering both sports.
Originally from Ballarat, the stockily built Beames made his VFL debut with Melbourne in 1931. An apparently nonchalant approach to the game sometimes disguised the fact that he was an extremely gifted and highly damaging player. His disposal skills on both sides of his body were superb, and few opponents could beat him over those vital first five metres.
When Beames arrived at Melbourne, the club was in the midst of a slump that was to get appreciably worse over the next couple of seasons. Having failed to contest the finals since 1928, the Fuchsias finished eighth in Beames' debut season, dropped to ninth the following year, and plummeted to an unprecedented low of 10th in 1933. That same 1933 season saw the arrival as coach of Frank 'Checker' Hughes, however, and it was to be his inspirational guidance that would soon steer the club out of the doldrums.
During the second half of the 1930s, Melbourne began to assemble the strongest combination of players in the club's history; with men like Percy Beames, Alan La Fontaine, Jack Mueller, Norm Smith and Ron Baggott to the fore, the Fuchsias finally broke through for a flag in 1939, trouncing Collingwood in the Grand Final by 53 points. Beames, the quintessential big game specialist, was at his irrepressible best, booting four goals in a best afield performance. The following year he was equally impressive as Melbourne overcame Richmond by 39 points and, had an equivalent to the Norm Smith Medal been up for grabs at the time, Beames might easily have won it three times in a row after kicking six goals in another best a field performance in the 1941 Grand Final in which the Redlegs downed Essendon by 29 points.
Melbourne's 1941 premiership win was especially meritorious as the club's playing ranks had been seriously denuded by wartime enlistments. The situation was even worse the following year, and newly appointed captain-coach Percy Beames was unable to arrest a slump which saw the side tumble down the list to eighth place. Beames spent the final three seasons of his 213 game VFL career as Melbourne's captain-coach, but when the team finally re-emerged as a force after the war he was watching its achievements from the sidelines, as well as reporting on them, no doubt with thinly submerged pride, for 'The Age'.
Author - John Devaney
1. “The Age”, 23/5/44, page 4.