Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Gordon Bowman

Known as
Gordon Bowman

10 February 1927

14 September 2013 (aged 86)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 98d
Last game: 24y 175d

Height and weight
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 73 kg

Senior clubs
Melbourne; Hawthorn

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 11
Hawthorn: 11, 30

Recruited from
Melbourne (1950)

Gordon Bowman

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 5,451st player to appear, 2,944th most games played, 4,811th most goals kickedMelbourne: 651st player to appear, 312th most games played, 456th most goals kickedHawthorn: 403rd player to appear, 374th most games played, 583rd most goals kicked

Gordon Bowman will coach Sandy Bay in 1953. The appointment was made by the Sandy Bay committee this week. Bowman has lifted Gulls from rock bottom to a place in the four in one season’s coaching, and his consistently good play at the pivot has greatly contributed to Gulls’ all-round improvement.¹

Gordon Bowman has the distinction of playing in premiership sides across four states, three of these as a captain-coach, the only known case of such a feat.

Originally from East Malvern, he played 59 games with Melbourne between 1945 and 1949, including the Demons’ 1948 grand final win over Essendon (in the replay), primarily on the half forward flank and often off the (then newly created) reserve bench. A mid-season move in 1950 took him to the struggling Hawthorn club for which he added a further 29 over two seasons. 

From there it was on to Hobart, Tasmania, where he captained the Sandy Bay club for seven years, including a premiership in his first season in 1952. Such was his impact at the club that in 2001 Bowman was named as one of Sandy Bay's official 'Best 25 Players'. Bowman also captained the Tasmanian state side during this period.

Work commitments then took him to Brisbane, where he became captain-coach (and a prolific goal kicker) for Mayne in the QAFL. He took the young Tigers to back-to-back flags in 1961 and 1962, and built the nucleus of a team that would make a further six grand final appearances between 1963 and 1968. Moreover, as Queensland coach from 1963-66 he enjoyed a 7-1 win/loss record and was credited with planting the seeds of Queensland’s interstate successes of the 1970’s, having said “We can beat Tasmania” long before many thought it was possible.

Bowman finished his career at Newtown in the Sydney competition, and secured further premiership success. He captain-coached the Red and Whites to the 1967 and 1968 flags, eventually retiring aged 42 after the 1969 Grand Final which Newtown lost. He coached the North Shore club for two years but could only manage a third place finish, and subsequently returned to Newtown for a final, but ultimately unsuccessful season in 1973.

Author - Adam Cardosi


1. “Voice”, 30/8/52, page 3.


Murray Bird and Peter Blucher profile; Wiki, Encyclopedia of League Footballers,, Crème de la Crème


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