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Max Papley

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Title: Max Papley  
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Subject: Sydney Swans, Williamstown Football Club, Bob Skilton Medal, List of VFA/VFL premiers
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Max Papley

Max Papley
Personal information
Date of birth31 July 1940
Original teamMoorabbin
Debut1964, South Melbourne
Height/Weight179 cm / 83 kg
Playing career1

South Melbourne (1964-67)

  • 59 games, 66 goals
1 Playing statistics to end of 1967 season .
Career highlights
  • South Melbourne leading goalkicker 1964
  • South Melbourne best and fairest 1966
  • Max Papley (born 31 July 1940) is a former Australian rules footballer who represented South Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL) during the 1960s.

    Early life and career

    Papley grew up supporting South Melbourne and attended South Melbourne Technical School,[1] the same school as his hero, the legendary Bob Skilton. Papley began playing football for the Melbourne Fourths, and was told by his coach that he was too small.[1] He then went to play with Port Melbourne YMCA before his family moved to Moorabbin, and there he joined the local football club who were competing in the Victorian Football Association (VFA).

    Despite standing only 179 centimetres, Papley quickly built a reputation as a full-forward. At the age of 23, he captained Moorabbin to the 1963 VFA premiership and kicked 6 goals in the Grand Final.

    However, Papley's joy would be short-lived. In 1963, Moorabbin had come up with a plan to share its ground with St Kilda, which was to move from the Junction Oval. The idea was that the ground would be built to VFL standard and that St Kilda would use the ground on Saturday and Moorabbin on Sunday. The VFA, which still harboured resentment towards the VFL, was so upset that it expelled Moorabbin from the competition.[1]

    It was at this time that South Melbourne convinced Papley to play for them. He had signed a form with South before his parents relocated to Moorabbin, and much as he loved playing for Moorabbin, Papley was happy to have a boyhood dream come true.[1]

    He played as a half forward and centreman during his time at South Melbourne, winning their 1966 best and fairest award and representing Victoria in interstate football.

    But again Papley's football career would take an unexpected turn. Although Papley enjoyed football and was clearly talented enough to become a star, he also enjoyed playing cricket, and was captain-coach of Moorabbin Cricket Club in the Sub-District competition. Papley had made it clear to South Melbourne that he would continue playing as long as it did not interfere with his cricket commitments.[1]

    In February before the start of the 1968 VFL season, while Papley was working in the chemical industry with clients in Williamstown, he got to know the president of the Williamstown Football Club. He told Papley that the club's coach had just retired and wondered if Papley would consider taking on the job.[1]

    Papley told South about the offer and, because the club would not relent over the cricketing issue, he moved to Williamstown without a clearance and took up the coaching job. Papley spent five seasons with the Seagulls,[1] leading them to Grand Finals in his first three seasons, and winning the 1969 premiership in the VFA Second Division. Despite playing barely 50 games for the Seagulls, Papley's contribution was recognized with selection in Williamstown's official 'Team of the Century' in 2003 as centreman.

    After football

    After finishing at Williamstown, Papley moved with his family to Bunyip, where he has lived since.[1]

    Personal life

    Papley is married to Laraine. They have four children, Cathy, Vicki, David and Karen, 12 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. One of his grandsons is player Ben Ross.[1]


    External links

    • Max Papley's statistics from AFL Tables
    • Profile at Australian Football
    • Williamstown Team of the Century

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