John Abley

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John Abley
John Abley Port Adelaide Practice August 1957.jpg
John Abley at Port Adelaide training in August 1957.
Personal information
Full name John William Abley
Date of birth 1 October 1930
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Date of death 19 August 2011(2011-08-19) (aged 80)
Place of death Adelaide, South Australia
Original team(s) Melbourne District
Hawthorn Reserves
Position(s) Full-back
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1950–1961 Port Adelaide 212 (1)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
South Australia 23
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1961 season.
Career highlights
  • Port Adelaide premiership player (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959)
  • All-Australian team (1956, 1958, 1961)
  • Port Adelaide greatest team (Full-back)

John Abley (1 October 1930 – 19 August 2011) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Port Adelaide in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) between 1950 and 1961.

Abley spent some of the 1949 VFL season playing reserves football with Hawthorn Football Club and turned his back on a possible career in the seniors when he moved to Adelaide, South Australia. Abley could easily have played for Glenelg (as his younger brother Kevin did) instead of Port as after he arrived in Adelaide the area he planned on residing in was part of Glenelg's recruiting zone. Port Adelaide officials, at the suggestion of Bob McLean, hastily arranged alternate accommodation in the hope of acquiring his services and Abley debuted for Port Adelaide in 1950.

A fullback, Abley first played in that position for Port in a "Challenge match" in Broken Hill at the end of his debut season and after impressing was kept there for the remainder of his career. He was a member of the famed Port team which won six premierships in succession from 1954 to 1959, an Australian record.

Abley was a regular South Australian interstate representative and played a total of 23 games for his state. On three occasions Abley was selected as an All-Australian for his performances at the carnivals, in 1956, 1958 and 1961.

He has the habit of worry that makes for perfect concentration,
sure-footedness (never a reckless throw for the ball),
and the safest, most relaxed mark in the business.

Jeff Pash, North Adelaide champion and journalist [1]

In 1959, Abley was named as a life member of the Port Adelaide Football Club because of his talent, his warmth off the field and being one of only six players to play in all of Port Adelaide's premierships in the 1950s (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959).

In 1998, Abley was inducted to the South Australian Football Hall of Fame.

In 2001 Abley was named as the fullback in Port Adelaide's official "Greatest Team", taking into account all players to have represented the club since 1870.

Abley died on 19 August 2011, aged 81, after a short illness.


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