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Haydn Bunton Snr
5 July 1911
Place of birth
Albury, NSW (2640)
5 September 1955 (aged 44)
Place of death
Adelaide, SA (5000)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 301d
Last game: 30y 322d
Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Fitzroy; Subiaco; Port Adelaide
Fitzroy (1938); Subiaco (1942); Fitzroy (1945)
State of origin
Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (1996) Legend (1996); Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2004)
Haydn Bunton Jnr (Son)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 3,761st player to appear, 1,881st most games played, 379th most goals kickedFitzroy: 406th player to appear, 82nd most games played, 17th most goals kicked
Bunton had the grace, poise and rhythm of a ballet dancer. He was beautiful to watch. Everything he did had a classic touch about it. He had amazing stamina and was strong and tough. As well as roving he could dominate a key position. He was a one man team.¹
In the opinion of many Haydn Bunton senior was, quite simply, the finest Australian footballer ever. It is therefore extremely ironic that he was born in Albury, New South Wales, a state where rugby has traditionally been the king of winter sports.²
Bunton's outstanding performances in the Ovens and Murray Football League, where he played initially for Albury and later West Albury, attracted the attention of all twelve VFL clubs but it was Fitzroy who ultimately secured his signature. However, he was then forced to sit on the sidelines throughout the 1930 season while claims that the Maroons had been guilty of offering him illegal financial inducements were investigated (and ultimately proved). During this time, he was allegedly approached by two VFA clubs, Oakleigh and Yarraville, who wanted to secure his services on a temporary basis; Bunton, however, declined.
Playing mainly as a rover, Bunton was a stunning success from the start, winning Brownlows in each of his first two league seasons. Averaging close to thirty kicks a game he was possessed of all the offensive skills in the book and his extraordinary fluidity and grace of movement made him a delight to watch. Bunton won a further Brownlow Medal in 1935 before moving to Subiaco three years later.
Bunton’s peak years as a player were spent with Fitzroy, where he became the game’s first ever triple Brownlow Medallist, and Subiaco. He joined Subiaco as captain-coach in 1938 and promptly won back to back Sandover Medals, followed by a third in 1941. His four season stint in the west netted him 72 league games as well as 3 interstate appearances for Western Australia. He was voted Subiaco’s fairest and best player three times, and topped the club’s goal kicking list in 1938 with 51 goals, 1939 (59), 1940 (34) and 1941 (46).
World War Two curtailed Bunton's career, preventing what might have been still greater success, although after leaving the [Subiaco] Maroons he did return briefly to Fitzroy in 1942, taking his final tally of senior games with that club to 119, before rounding off his career with a one-season stint at Port Adelaide in 1945, but his best days as a player were by then behind him.
Bunton spent a season as a field umpire before assuming the coaching reins, on a non-playing basis, at North Adelaide in 1947. Bunton spent two seasons with North, but was unable to steer his charges into the finals.
Author - John Devaney
1. Jack Dyer in “Sporting Life”, October 1954, page 28.
2. Football has long been popular in some parts of New South Wales, however, including Albury.