Ronald Thomas Cooper
8 June 1911
18 October 1991 (aged 80)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 355d
Last game: 32y 60d
Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 80 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 3,928th player to appear, 1,143rd most games played, 525th most goals kickedCarlton: 494th player to appear, 71st most games played, 36th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 323rd player to appear, 925th most games played, 692nd most goals kicked
Precociously talented teenager Ron Cooper was recruited by Claremont-Cottesloe from the Albany district in 1929, and quickly proved himself a ready-made league footballer. In three seasons with the Monts he played 48 senior games, and won the club's fairest and best award in 1931. That same season saw him finish second to East Fremantle's Lin Richards in the Sandover Medal voting. At the end of the year, however, he requested and was granted a clearance to Carlton, with the Claremont committee doubtless motivated by a certain sympathy for the young player whose job prospects in Melbourne would be significantly better than they were at home.
Over the next eleven seasons, Cooper established himself as a highly effective centreman or rover, although his 157 VFL games did not, sadly, include the Blues' 1938 Grand Final defeat of arch rival Collingwood, as Cooper had incurred a suspension after striking St Kilda's Doug Raiment in the final home and away match of the year.
Known as 'Socks', because of his habit of wearing his socks 'round his ankles (allegedly so as to contrast visually as much as possible with the acknowledged 'glamour boy' of the league, Fitzroy's Haydn Bunton), Cooper was a firm favourite among the Blues faithful, as well as his team mates. Jack Hale, whose career at Carlton coincided with Cooper's, later recalled that:
"Ron could do anything with a football. He would hide himself in a game and then, whammo, he would take on the world. He had few defensive skills, but that did not matter as the opposition had to worry about what Cooper was going to do."¹
Ron Cooper was allegedly so devastated after missing the 1938 Grand Final that his form deteriorated alarmingly, but he nevertheless managed to retain his place in the Carlton senior side until the end of the 1942 season. After leaving Carlton, Cooper spent half a dozen seasons at Prahran, initially as a player, and later as coach of the club's reserve team.
Author - John Devaney