David Granger (footballer)
|Full name||David P. Granger|
|Date of birth||23 January 1955|
|Height/Weight||188cm / 92kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1982 season.
David Granger (born 23 January 1955) is a former Australian rules footballer, playing with St Kilda Football Club in the Victorian Football League and Port Adelaide Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).
St Kilda (U19s)
David Granger commenced his football career in Victoria where he played trial games with St Kilda.
Granger played for Port Adelaide Football Club in the SANFL between 1975 and 1982. He was a strong, skilled and effective footballer, becoming famously known by the nickname, 'Grave Danger'. This was during an era of unprecedented violence in the game and Granger was often employed by his coach as an on-field hitman. Over the years he handed out and received countless injuries on the field. Although played nominally as a forward Granger was often sent into defence to harass opposition star forwards. Opposition players often found themselves fearing Granger instead of concentrating on the game, a situation Port Adelaide exploited.
In the 1981 Grand Final, also against Glenelg, Granger ended the career of Neville 'Twiggy' Caldwell with a premeditated King hit. He continued in the game to lead Port to a 51 point victory. After the match Glenelg protested which resulted in Granger becoming the first footballer in the SANFL to be suspended on video evidence. Granger was later to claim he initially believed Caldwell had died and was "terrified" by what he had done.
In the 1982 preliminary final Port were trailing by 26 points in the second quarter against Glenelg. Port coach John Cahill sent Granger onto the field in the 21st minute of the quarter whereupon Granger was reported by a goal umpire after he King hit Graham Cornes knocking him down as soon as they matched up. Cornes recovered quickly and was awarded a free kick. Cornes was later to blatantly push Granger in the back but the umpire refused to award a free kick. In the third quarter Glenelg back pocket Stephen Barratt had his right leg broken in a "collision" with Granger and Peter Maynard received a bleeding eardrum. Although credited with only one kick and two marks, Granger reportedly had an "eerie" effect on the game with not only Glenelg players hesitant to match him for fear of missing the final but considerable abuse from the crowd.
Port eventually lost the match by one point. As Cahill walked down the stairs of the members' stand he was jeered by the Glenelg supporters in the crowd of 32,339 and Granger had to be escorted from the oval by police. Granger was subsequently suspended for 10 weeks which ended his own career. Granger later claimed that he was sent out to hit Cornes, Cahill however claimed there was no such order and with his career over, Granger felt betrayed by the lack of an admission by Cahill. Cornes for his part has never accepted any apology for the incident, still remembers it bitterly and feels there was no doubt Granger was sent out to target him by the coaching staff.
St Kilda (VFL)
In December 2007 Granger was interviewed for the Today Tonight program "SA's (20) greatest sporting controversies" where his career was listed at number seven. He claimed he was often ordered to take players out, explaining "I was a good soldier. I did what I was told.....the culture of football at the time was to win at all costs". He insists that the Barratt incident was one of the few times an injury he caused really was an accident. Granger maintains that he was going for the ball when Barratt collided with him. He also recounted how his "exile" by Port Adelaide after his retirement caused depression and eventually led to an incident where he broke into the Port Adelaide locker room and attempted suicide by his old locker. The programs compere Graham Cornes who was on the receiving end of Granger's playing style in 1982 finished the segment by saying he had forgiven him, commenting, "That's Football".
Granger had struggled off field for a number of years and it was revealed in his court appearances that he battles depression. On 26 December 2001, Granger informed the media that his house would be repossessed by St George Bank who had lodged documents to this effect with the Supreme Court. He had borrowed A$93,000 in 1991 to buy the then-A$150,000 house.
In 2003 Granger was finally sentenced to jail after being found guilty of knowingly having cannabis in his possession for the purpose of selling it after 17 kg of cannabis had been found by police in his home. He was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment. Granger had three previous convictions for cannabis offences in 1991, 1998 and 2002.