Joe Slater

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Joseph Henry Slater
Personal information
Date of birth 29 November 1888
Place of birth Ballarat, Victoria
Date of death 3 May 1917(1917-05-03) (aged 28)
Place of death Bullecourt, France
Original team(s) United Methodists
Height/Weight 179 cm / 86 kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1906-1914 Geelong 108 (17)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1914 season.

Joe Slater (29 November 1888 — 3 May 1917) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Geelong in the Victorian Football League.

Slater usually played as a defender, with stints in the midfield and up forward but was named as a half back flanker in Geelong's official 'Team of the Century' wearing Guernsey numbers 19, 17, 30 and 10. Good overhead, Slater twice represented Victoria at interstate football. An all round sportsman Slater made 101 for Geelong 'B' against Kardinia in the First Eleven match in the G.C.A. season 1909/10. On 15 June 1912 Slater kicked a drop kick goal at Richmond's Punt Road Oval from the centre; measured Approx. 77.72 metres (85 yards). Due to work commitments in Melbourne in 1913 Slater intended to play with University also in the V.F.L. However he played several matches with Hawthorn in the V.F.A. and in one game against Collingwood District he broke his collar bone and refused to leave the ground so his team wouldn't be one man short. Slater eventually returned to Geelong that year.

Former League Champion of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries Peter Burns wrote of Slater in 1940:

"I turn to the possibilities of a man who, had he been spared, would have revolutionised Australian Football and gone down as the greatest player our game has produced - Joe Slater. Slater was nearing his prime when he was cut down in World War 1. He was just on the verge of super championship class when duty called him. He never came back. He was a big strong fellow. Higher than 6ft about 13 stone of hard sinew and muscle - but, as a mover an antelope. His pace was phenomenal. He was a champion runner. Yet, despite his size and his great pace, he could swing and balance like a rover."[citation needed]

He left football at the outbreak of World War I in order to enlist and lost his life during the conflict in Bullecourt, France. When Geelong fans learned of his death on their way to the Corio Oval for a match, they turned home in grief.

Slater's Military Records show that Slater resided at 109 Swanston Street, Geelong prior to leaving for duty abroad. He was Captain of the 22nd Battalion when he died in battle.

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