Grantley Fielke

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Grantley Fielke
Personal information
Full name Grantley Craig Fielke
Nickname(s) Fielks
Date of birth (1962-03-18) 18 March 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth Loxton, South Australia
Original team West Adelaide (SANFL)
Height/Weight 178 cm / 90kg
Position(s) Wing, Centre
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1977-86, 1988-90, 1992-97
1987
1991-92
Total -
West Adelaide (SANFL)
Collingwood (VFL)
Adelaide (AFL)
364 (255)
16 (15)
24 (6)
404 (276)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1997 season.
Career highlights

Grantley Craig Fielke (born 18 March 1962 in Loxton, South Australia) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for West Adelaide Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), and for Collingwood and Adelaide in the Victorian and Australian Football Leagues between 1977 and 1997.

League career[edit]

Fielke was recruited by the West Adelaide Football Club from their South Australian country zone of the Riverland in 1977 at the age of 15. After taking time to adjust to life in Adelaide (he had never been to the city before), Fielke made his league debut for West Adelaide on 7 April 1979,[1] and keeping his place in the legue team for the rest of the season. The Bloods though had a season to forget winning just 7 of 23 games and finished in last place. In his debut season for West Adelaide, Fielke won the Sam Suckling Memorial Medal as the club's best first year player.

Fielke's speed and ball handling ability saw him become a valued member of West Adelaide's senior team. From his debut in 1979 until the end of the 1986 SANFL season, Fielke played 186 games and kicked 150 goals.

The arrival of Neil Kerley as coach in 1981 saw The Bloods go from being one of the worst to one of the best teams in the SANFL, although at times their famous inconsistency showed through. Fielke's game blossomed under Kerley's hard coaching, although he suffered a setback in 1983 when he twice broke his arm. Fielke battled back and regained his place in the side shortly before the finals, for which West had easily qualified as the minor premier, winning 18 of their 22 regular season games. Fielke then became a member of West Adelaide's first premiership win since 1961 when he came off the reserves bench in their 21.16 (142) to 16.12 (108) win over Surt in the Grand Final in front of 47,129 fans at Football Park.

West Adelaide obtained the services of former Port Adelaide premiership coach John Cahill in 1985 and Fielke continued to blossom. That season he experienced the individual highlight of his career when he won the Magarey Medal, polling a record 54 votes to defeat pre-count favourite Peter Motley of Sturt who finished with 51 votes.[2] During the 1985 season Fielke led the league in disposals (kicks and handballs), and used the ball very effectively against tough opposition in helping West Adelaide to the preliminary final and a 3rd place finish. Despite winning the Magarey Medal, Fielke failed to win The Bloods Best & Fairest award which was won by ruckman Mark Mickan.

Fielke was recruited by VFL club Collingwood for the 1987 VFL season and impressed at the club, playing 16 games as a wingman for the Magpies.

After just a single season in the VFL, Fielke returned to Adelaide for family reasons in 1988, playing again for West Adelaide. There he would play another three more seasons, winning the club's Best & Fairest award in 1990. Amazingly, it was Fielke's only Best & Fairest win in his 16 seasons with the club.

With the forming of the Adelaide Crows in late 1990 to play in the now renamed AFL, Fielke was one of the first players signed and played in all 22 games of the 1991 AFL season which saw the Crows finish in ninth place with a 10-12 win-loss record. However, the 30 year old Fielke suddenly found himself on the outer with coach Graham Cornes and he played only two games in 1992. At the end of the season Fielke was informed his services were no longer required, ending his AFL career with a record of 40 games and 21 goals.[3]

Fielke returned to West Adelaide once more in 1993 and became club captain in 1994, a position he would hold until he announced his retirement at the end of the 1997 season. He finished his SANFL career having played a club record 364 games for West Adelaide and as of the end of the 2014 SANFL season he is the only West Adelaide player to have played over 300 senior games for the club.[4] Always more comfortable kicking for goal on the run rather than from a set shot, Fielke kicked 255 goals in his 364 SANFL games.

Grantley Fielke also represented South Australia eight times during his career. He was an inaugural inductee into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Personal[edit]

Fielke was formerly married to former Australian Netball team captain Michelle den Dekker. But now married to Cheryl Fielke and has 3 kids. He used to own a Sporting Goods store (Grantley Fielke's Sports Locker) at the Arndale Shopping Centre in Adelaide. Fielke currently works as a real estate agent manager for First National Real estate Gawler.[5] His brother Craig also played league football for Sturt in the SANFL, while his second cousin Aaron Fielke plays with West Adelaide and in Round 17 of the 2011 season notched up his 50th game for the Bloods.

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