Graham Thomas Melrose
20 April 1949 (age 73)
Place of birth
Fremantle, WA (6160)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 25y 350d
Last game: 30y 155d
Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 76 kg
North Melbourne: 17
State of origin
Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2007)
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A tough and talented rover particularly noted for his accurate foot passing, Graham Melrose enjoyed a long and auspicious career at football’s highest level in two states. He made his league debut with East Fremantle in 1967 at a time when Western Australia’s most successful club was commencing a period of unprecedented under-achievement. The cycle of failure was finally broken in 1974 under John Todd, with Graham Melrose very much at the forefront of affairs as he not only won his second fairest and best award in three years, but the Sandover Medal to boot. He was also a key contributor to Old Easts’ memorable 22 point grand final victory over Perth.
Indisputably one of football’s hottest properties at the time, the following season saw him embarking on a VFL career with North Melbourne, where he immediately impressed but was hampered at times by injury. He was particularly unlucky in 1975 when he played every match and performed consistently well until breaking his hand in the Second Semi Final. He consequently missed the Grand Final and North's drought-breaking premiership win. He was a member of the losing 1976 and 1978 Grand Final sides but also missed the 1977 Grand Final through injury. A consistently good performer in his 111 games with the Roos, he is desperately unfortunate not to be counted as a North Melbourne premiership player.
The 1980 season saw Melrose back in his home state where he once again joined forces with his old mentor, John Todd, this time at Swan Districts. Before retiring three seasons later he had the satisfaction of not only helping Swans to their first grand final triumph since 1963, but of winning the Simpson Medal for best afield as well. Melrose played in the back lines in that 1982 premiership team having, under Todd’s astute direction, migrated there towards the end of what proved to be his final full season in football. Unfortunately, injury again prevented him from tasting further premiership glory, as Swans completed the 'three-peat' in 1983 and 1984.
Graham Melrose played a total of 334 senior games comprised of 140 with Old Easts, 111 at North, 74 for Swans, and 9 interstate appearances for Western Australia. At the turn of the century he was honoured with berths in both Swan Districts’ official ‘all time great team’ and the official East Fremantle ‘Team of the Twentieth Century’.
In 1995 he embarked on a two year coaching stint with Swan Districts, steering his side to eighth and fifth place finishes.
Author - John Devaney with additional material from Andrew Gigacz