Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Phillip Walsh

Known as
Phil Walsh

15 March 1960

Place of birth
Hamilton, VIC (3300)

3 July 2015 (aged 55)

Place of death
Somerton Park, SA (5044)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 23y 11d
Last game: 30y 170d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 80 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Richmond; Brisbane; Australia

Jumper numbers
Collingwood: 41
Richmond: 16
Brisbane: 18

Recruited from
Hamilton (1983); Collingwood (1984); Richmond (1987)

State of origin

Phil Walsh

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 9,411th player to appear, 1,819th most games played, 2,357th most goals kickedCollingwood: 838th player to appear, 522nd most games played, 453rd most goals kickedRichmond: 854th player to appear, 357th most games played, 348th most goals kickedBrisbane: 18th player to appear, 95th most games played, 119th most goals kicked

Recruited by Collingwood from Hamilton at the age of 23 in 1983, Phil Walsh burst onto the VFL scene that year, making up for his relatively late start to VFL football by winning his club's, and the competition's, best first year player award. His speed and dash on the wing throughout the season impressed all observers, and none more so than the Richmond football club, smarting at the loss of David Cloke and Geoff Raines to Collingwood that same year. In a shock move - clearly intended as a retaliation - the Tigers signed Walsh, along with fellow Magpie teammates John Annear and Craig Stewart, and went to court in a successful bid to secure their men. 

As the reigning 'recruit of the year', and now with a big money price tag on his head, a weight of expectation fell on Phil Walsh that was to prove difficult to meet over subsequent seasons. He gave three years of solid, injury-interrupted, service to the Tigers, albeit without recapturing the outstanding form that had propelled him to the club in the first place. 

With the creation of the Brisbane Bears in 1987, Walsh sought a clearance to the new club, and the change of scene worked wonders. He won the Bears inaugural best and fairest award in 1987, enjoying his best season of football since his breakout debut four years earlier. Another good year followed in 1988, reminding fans that had cast him as a 'flash in the pan' after the disappointment of his tenure at Punt Road, what a good footballer he actually was. Notwithstanding a dedication to training and fitness, injury took its toll in his latter years with Brisbane, and he retired after the 1990 season. 

Thus began the second phase of Walsh's footy career, in specialist and assistant coaching roles at various clubs, where over a two-decade period he established for himself a reputation as one of the finest minds in the football business. Stints at Geelong and West Coast, and a prolonged sojourn with Port Adelaide, followed, but it was his appointment as senior coach of the Adelaide football club in late 2014 that propelled Walsh back into the footy limelight. 

After only 12 games at the helm of the Crows and with a finals berth in the offing, the football world was shocked to learn of Phil Walsh's premature death, aged 55, on 3 July 2015.   

Author - Adam Cardosi


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