Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
Vern Banbury

Known as
Vern Banbury

Born
21 August 1890

Died
16 November 1950 (aged 60)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 7d
Last game: 19y 266d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 73 kg

Senior clubs
St. Kilda; Footscray

Vern Banbury

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
St. KildaV/AFL1909-1910310.330%0
FootscrayVFA1910-1914, 1919-19221191361.14
Total1909-1914, 1919-19221221371.12

AFL: 1,584th player to appear, 10,528th most games played, 8,503rd most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 314th player to appear, 1,181st most games played, 926th most goals kicked

...my ideal footballer was Vern Banbury. I watched and imitated him in every trick. So intent was I on the cleverness of my idol that I refused to go inside for meals. My dad invariably brought my tea out, and I ate it in comfort, satisfied to see the first and last kick every training night. Banbury was a remarkable player. He could jump in from the side and take marks that seemed impossible. He would hold the ball in front of you, and when you moved he calmly dodged and left you standing. This trick failed once, when a player, disregarding the ball, crashed straight into Banbury and ‘knocked him cold.’ The atmosphere on that occasion was electrical.¹

In 1909-10 Vern Banbury played three VFL games and scored one goal for St Kilda, but far and away the most memorable phase of his career came with Footscray in the VFA. He actually crossed to Footscray midway through the 1910 season when it had become apparent that he was not going to make the grade with the Saints. He certainly made the grade with Footscray, playing 119 games and booting 136 goals between 1910 and 1914 and from 1919 to 1922. A ruckman and key forward, he was a member of Tricolours premiership-winning teams in 1913, 1919 and 1920, and also played in the losing flag deciders of 1912, 1914, 1921 and 1922.

After the 1914 loss to North Melbourne Banbury was sacked by Footscray, purportedly for ‘not trying’. He missed the 1915 and 1918 seasons before being restored to the team in 1919. Further controversy attended him in the wake of the loss to Port Melbourne in 1922 when it was alleged by certain Port players that they had been offered bribes by Banbury to ‘play dead’. The upshot was that Banbury was banned for life by the VFA. Footscray saw things differently, however, as they made him a life member, and decades later included him in the club’s official Hall of Fame.

Author - John Devaney

Footnotes

1. Footscray champion Allan Hopkins writing in “Sporting Globe”, 3/4/35, page 12.

Sources

Full Points Footy Publications, Crème de la Crème

Footnotes

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