Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
James McGrath

Known as
Shane McGrath

6 June 1919

1 November 1974 (aged 55)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 354d
Last game: 31y 88d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 89 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 22

Family links
Frank McGrath (Brother)

Shane McGrath

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
MelbourneV/AFL1940-1941, 1944, 1946-195011830.0368%35
Total1940-1941, 1944, 1946-195011830.0368%35

AFL: 4,801st player to appear, 1,901st most games played, 7,130th most goals kickedMelbourne: 582nd player to appear, 126th most games played, 671st most goals kicked

Christened James, but invariably referred to as 'Shane', McGrath was a superb defender whose career was unfortunately cut short by World War II. He made his VFL debut with Melbourne in 1940, and after initially struggling to break into the team on a regular basis became the side's first choice full back in 1941. That season saw the Fuchsias secure a third successive VFL premiership, with McGrath starring at full back in the 19.13 (127) to 13.20 (98) Grand Final defeat of Essendon.

With the exception of a handful of games in 1944, McGrath then missed the next four seasons because of service commitments, but on his resumption in 1946 he quickly established himself as one of the premier full backs in the competition. Determined, gutsy and extremely vigorous, there were few frills about his approach to the game, but he was inordinately effective. When Melbourne defeated Essendon in a replayed Grand Final in 1948, McGrath was among the best players on view in both the initial game and the replay.

During the late 1940s he was a near automatic selection for VFL interstate sides, donning the famous Big V jumper a total of eight times. Appointed Melbourne skipper in 1950, he retired at the end of the season, aged 31, after 118 VFL games.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


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