16 June 1962 (age 61)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 322d
Last game: 30y 75d
Height and weight
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 84 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 9,160th player to appear, 834th most games played, 964th most goals kickedSydney: 1,085th player to appear, 204th most games played, 193rd most goals kickedCarlton: 923rd player to appear, 165th most games played, 127th most goals kicked
Probably best remembered for his fiery, volatile temperament and frequent visits to the Tribunal David Rhys-Jones was also an abundantly skilled footballer. Indeed, when at his peak in the mid to late eighties there was no finer or more polished wingman in the land.
South Melbourne recruited Rhys-Jones from Oakleigh Districts and he soon became the Swans player opposition supporters most loved to hate. In part it was because of his football attributes such as cat-like balance, pace and aerial strength, but chiefly it had to do with his penchant for 'mixing it'. Suffice to say that when, after 76 VFL games and 39 goals for South between 1980 and 1984, he crossed to Carlton the move was not heralded with universal glee by Blues supporters. Rhys-Jones made no concessions to the critics, however, observing “I was always the one who used to follow the old saying, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. That’s the way I operated. I didn’t want to be pushed around, and I let it be known." Consequently the regular trips to the Tribunal continued.
Carlton's 1987 grand final clash with Hawthorn was the day David Rhys-Jones was transformed from villain to hero, in the eyes of Blues fans at any rate. Assigned the daunting task of endeavouring to curb the impact of champion Hawks centre half forward Dermott Brereton he made light of the substantial discrepancy in height and weight to produce a best afield performance which was rewarded with the Norm Smith Medal. Brereton managed just a couple of behinds for the match while Rhys-Jones repeatedly provided the victorious Blues with effervescent rebound from across half back whilst determinedly keeping his more unlawfully violent impulses firmly in check.
Rhys-Jones continued to give useful service to Carlton until hampered towards the end of his AFL career by a nagging knee injury. The last of his 106 games for the Blues came in a round twenty-four 1992 loss to West Coast in Perth. Meanwhile, he kicked 73 goals in a Carlton jumper.
He continued his playing career with TFL club North Launceston whom he captain-coached in 1993-4 before relinquishing the coaching duties, but remaining as captain, in 1995. In what proved to be his last season as player he had the thrill of leading the Robins to their first ever TFL premiership.
Following his fretirement as a player David Rhy-Jones coached Frankston and Heidelberg before embarking on a a media career, initially with channel seven, and later with the ABC.
Author - John Devaney