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Key Facts

Full name
Paul Sproule

Known as
Paul Sproule

Born
16 December 1944 (age 78)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 23y 121d
Last game: 30y 278d

Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 76 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Richmond

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 26
Richmond: 6

Recruited from
Essendon (1972)

Paul Sproule

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
EssendonV/AFL1968-197160601.0040%13.274.572.7312
RichmondV/AFL1972-197586931.0871%12.424.341.516
V/AFL1968-19751461531.0558%12.774.432.0118
Total1968-19751461531.0558%12.774.432.0118

AFL: 8,008th player to appear, 1,351st most games played, 619th most goals kickedEssendon: 755th player to appear, 310th most games played, 145th most goals kickedRichmond: 743rd player to appear, 190th most games played, 81st most goals kicked

A dynamic on-baller or centreman with exquisite distribution skills and an ability to accumulate numerous possessions Paul Sproule enjoyed premiership success in no fewer than eight times over the course of his twenty-three season senior football career.

That career commenced and ended with Hobart. Between 1962 and 1966 Sproule helped the Tigers to a couple of TANFL premierships whilst attracting notice from the mainland. He ended up at Essendon where, after missing the whole of the 1967 season with a badly broken leg, he proved himself a serviceable player in 60 VFL games from 1968 to 1971, kicking a goal a game over that time. It was therefore something of a surprise when he was delisted at the end of the 1971 season, whereupon Richmond pounced with a glee that was to be amply vindicated.

Sproule’s first three seasons with the Tigers produced a hat trick of grand final appearances, with that of 1972 ending in defeat at the hands of Carlton, and those of 1973 and 1974 resulting in wins against Carlton and North Melbourne respectively. Sproule himself was widely credited with being Richmond’s best player in the Carlton loss and was also listed high among the best players in the other two games.

After playing 86 games and kicking 93 goals for the Tigers Sproule returned home to Tasmania where he threw in his lot with Sandy Bay, having been appointed captain-coach. Between 1976 and 1979 and then in 1983-4 he played 31 games for the Seagulls whom he steered to flags in 1976, 1977 and 1978. In 1980 and 1981 he captain-coached his original club, Hobart, overseeing a premiership in his first season and ending up with a career tally of precisely 100 games in the famous black and yellow.

The 1985 season saw Sproule back at Richmond where he was installed as senior coach, but after one mediocre season he made way for club legend Kevin Bartlett.

Author - John Devaney

Sources

Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers by Russell Holmesby & Jim Main; Wikipedia article; https://www.tigerlandarchive.org/tiki-index.php?page=Paul+Sproule

Footnotes

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