19 January 1953 (age 69)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 78d
Last game: 34y 132d
Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 74 kg
North Melbourne: 20
Daryl Schimmelbusch (Brother)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Under the heading 'Good Things, They Say, Come In Small Packages', "Football Life" for September 1973 announced "pencil thin North Melbourne star Wayne Schimmelbusch" as its recruit of the year "just ahead of another two trimly-built youngsters - Richmond's Robert Lamb and Melbourne's Robert Flower"¹. 'Schimma', as he rapidly became known, and Flower would eventually become bona fide legends of the game, with the North Melbourne man playing more games for his club than anyone else up to that point. He entered the VFL as a ready-made league footballer, having won the previous year's Field Trophy during his second season with Brunswick, where he had played mainly as a ruck-rover possessing an abundance of skill and drive, Schimmelbusch also seemingly knew no fear, regularly risking serious injury for the sake of the team by hurling himself into intense physical contests against bigger, brawnier opponents.
Perhaps the biggest surprise relating to Wayne Schimmelsbusch's illustrious 15-season VFL career is that he never won North Melbourne's best and fairest award. He did, however, captain the club for eight successive seasons, top the club's goal kicking list in 1976 with 43 goals, and play in the Kangas' first two league premiership teams. He also represented the 'Big V' 11 times, including four games as captain. Equally at home on a wing or a half forward flank, he was selected in the latter position in the Kangaroos' official 'Team of the Century'.
Had it not been for a serious knee injury sustained against Sydney midway through the 1987 season 'Schimma' might easily have carried on playing at the top level for at least another season. As it was, despite making strenuous efforts to resume, he was eventually forced to admit defeat, and retired. Three years after his retirement, he returned to North as coach, but after narrowly failing to get the team into the finals in his first two seasons, things declined alarmingly.
In 1992, the Roos finished 12th with just seven wins, and when they opened the following year with a humiliating annihilation at the hands of Adelaide in the AFL's pre-season competition, the club hierarchy felt compelled to replace him with Denis Pagan, a move which eventually bore spectacular fruit in the shape of two premierships. Despite being ostensibly forced into the background, however, there is little doubt that one of the happiest observers of these triumphs would have been the man with a strong claim to having been the greatest individual contributor to the North Melbourne cause over the years, Wayne Schimmelbusch.
Author - John Devaney
1. "Football Life", September 1973, inside front cover.
2. The record has subsequently been bettered by three players.