AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
Thomas J. Quinn
11 August 1908
Place of birth
Port Adelaide, SA (5015)
11 November 1969 (aged 61)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 264d
Last game: 31y 281d
Height and weight
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Port Adelaide; Geelong
Port Adelaide (1931)
State of origin
Jack Quinn Snr (Father)Bob Quinn (Brother)Jack Quinn Jnr (Brother)George Quinn (Brother)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 3,780th player to appear, 985th most games played, 536th most goals kickedGeelong: 367th player to appear, 69th most games played, 47th most goals kicked
Despite standing only 169 cm in height, Tom Quinn weighed in at a muscular 80 kg, and he used his formidable physique to great effect over the course of a 227-game league career which began at Port Adelaide in 1928. Tom's father Jack Quinn had been a fine forward with the Magpies prior to the Great War, and Tom was one of four brothers to follow in his footsteps.
Tom Quinn enjoyed a great start to his league career when he played in a premiership under the coaching of former Port champion 'Shine' Hosking. The Magpies lost badly in a semi final against Norwood, managing just 3.2 (20) for the entire game, but as minor premiers they enjoyed right of challenge, and a fortnight later they comprehensively turned the tables on the Redlegs with a 15.14 (104) to 7.14 (56) win.
Quinn spent three seasons with Port, playing a total of 59 games (plus six for the state), before seeking, and being granted, a clearance to Geelong. The Cats had been on Quinn's trail for some time, and when the tank-like rover put in a series of sparkling displays for South Australia at the 1930 Adelaide carnival they became convinced that he was just the sort of player that they needed to help them bring an end to Collingwood's four year reign as the VFL's pre-eminent force. In 1930, Geelong had only narrowly failed to scupper the Magpies, downing them convincingly in the Final, only to crumble badly in the following week's Challenge Final. In order to win a flag, they needed players who thrived in torrid, strenuous, unforgiving conditions, and in Tommy Quinn they believed they had acquired just such a player.
Right from the outset, Quinn - known within the club as 'Maggie', in tribute to his origins - was a success. Tough, tenacious and highly skilled, he added bite and vigour to the packs and, together with skipper Ted Baker, gave the Cats the premier roving combination in the league. Just as with Port Adelaide, Quinn ended up savouring the thrill of a premiership in his debut season as Geelong pulled away from Richmond in the second half of a ferociously contested Grand Final to win by 20 points.
When Ted Baker departed after the 1932 season, Tommy Quinn took on first roving duties with the Cats. Always wholehearted, he was a firm favourite with the Corio Oval faithful, and won club best and fairest awards in 1936 and 1937. Immense durability was a feature of his game, and on one occasion he played precisely 100 consecutive games for the Cats. He was also a dangerous player when resting up forward, and averaged a goal a game throughout his 168-match VFL career.
After five seasons of mediocrity, the Cats returned as a force in 1937. Captain-coach Reg Hickey had his side playing a fast, exhilarating run-on brand of football that frequently left opponents gasping. This was seldom better exemplified than during the 1937 Grand Final, which at the time was popularly described as the greatest ever seen up to that point: for three quarters, Collingwood matched Geelong stride for stride, and at the final change scores were deadlocked, 80 points apiece. Then, with vice-captain Quinn at the forefront, the Cats turned up the heat, leaving the hapless Magpies in their wake. Geelong added 6.6 to 1.4 in a devastating last term display to end up winning by 32 points. For Tom Quinn, who was universally acclaimed as best afield after garnering 31 possessions and six marks in a performance described as 'completely error free', it was undoubtedly the pinnacle of an illustrious career. He carried on at Geelong until early in the 1940 season when, after a loss of form, he was dropped to the seconds. He promptly retired.
Between 1946 and 1948 Tommy Quinn was non-playing coach of the Cats, but he failed to get them above seventh place on the ladder.
In 2001 his importance in the history of the Geelong Football Club was officially recognised in some small measure when he was selected as an emergency in the club's "Team of the Century".
Author - John Devaney