Wallace Francis Buttsworth
21 January 1917
Place of birth
North Perth, WA (6906)
22 May 2002 (aged 85)
Place of death
Milton, NSW (2538)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 91d
Last game: 32y 190d
Height and weight
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 91 kg
State of origin
Fred Buttsworth (Brother)
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Wally Buttsworth’s senior football career began with West Perth in 1935. After being named as nineteenth man in the Cardinals’ flag-winning team that year his career blossomed over the ensuing couple of seasons when he became a regular Western Australian interstate representative and, in 1937, won West Perth’s club champion award.
In 1938 Buttsworth headed east to Essendon but was forced to stand out of football for a season awaiting a clearance. He made his VFL debut in 1939 only to suffer a broken arm which kept him out of action for much of the year. On his resumption, however, he soon established himself as one of the key cogs in an Essendon machine which was tuning up to become the dominant force in Victorian football for much of the ensuing decade.
Three times an Essendon best and fairest award winner, Buttsworth was a formidable, resolute defender who was rarely beaten. Whilst rugged to the point of ferocity in his overall approach, there were nevertheless aspects of his play, such as his high marking and exemplary drop kicking, which brought to mind converse adjectives like ‘graceful’ and ‘elegant’. Formidably powerful, it was a rare player indeed who was able to interrupt his progress when, body hunched low, he embarked on one of his trademark, careering runs out of defence before propelling the ball deep into his team’s attacking zone.
Buttsworth was at his best in important games and his name featured prominently among the best players in all but one of the six VFL Grand Finals in which he participated.
After leaving Essendon he captain-coached Leeton from 1950 to 1952 and then Beckom.
Brother Fred was an equally accomplished footballer who stayed with West Perth for most of his career, winning the 1951 Sandover Medal. He joined his brother briefly at Windy Hill while stationed in Melbourne during the war.
Both of the Buttsworth brothers were also highly proficient cricketers, representing Western Australia, while Fred was a Victorian representative at lawn bowls.
Author - John Devaney