John Towner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Towner
Personal information
Date of birth (1933-11-19) 19 November 1933 (age 83)
Original team(s) Ascot Vale
Debut 2 May 1953, Essendon
vs. South Melbourne, at Lake Oval
Height / weight 183 cm (6' 0"), 75 kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
West Perth
87 (36)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1962.
Career highlights
  • Best Clubman Essendon: 1957, 1959.
  • Essendon Premiership Team: 1959.
Sources: AFL Tables,

John Towner (born 19 November 1933) is a former Australian rules footballer who played 87 senior games for the Essendon Football Club from 1953 to 1959.


Recruited from the Ascot Vale Football Club, Towner made his debut for Essendon Firsts as a reserve in the second home-and-away round match against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval on 2 May 1953. In his first year, he played 11 senior matches, including the Firsts Semi-Final team that lost 5.11 (41) to Footscray's 6.13 (49).[1]

He played 16 senior games in 1954, a single game in 1955, 10 games in 1956 (plus 1 night game), 16 games in 1957 (plus 1 night game[2]) — he played on the half-back flank in the losing Essendon Grand Final team of 1957 — 16 games in 1958 (plus 2 night games), and 17 games in 1959.

His game at full-back for the Essendon 1959 Premiership team, which beat Melbourne 17.13 (115) to 11.12 (78), was his last game for Essendon.

Well-liked at Essendon (he was chosen as Best Clubman in 1957 and 1959), he left Essendon due to an employment transfer to Western Australia.

He played at full-back with West Perth for three years (1960–1962).

He later moved to Queensland and was captain-coach of Surfers Paradise Football Club in 1965.

Forward to back-line[edit]

In 1953 and 1954 Towner played on the forward line. With a lot of pace across the ground, and strong in the air, he was tried at full-forward as a replacement for the injured John Coleman in 1954; however, once at full-forward, he demonstrated that he was not a very accurate kick (he kicked 23 goals in 9 matches).

Once he was switched to defence, he was highly successful, initially on the half-back flank and, later in his career at Essendon, as the team's regular full-back.

As a full-back, much of his game was centred on his ability to judge and understand the manner in which his full-forward opponent went for the ball; and much of his value to Essendon was his ability to consistently punch the ball out of the hands of a full-forward attempting to mark over his head.

In particular, he always had "the wood" over South Melbourne's Brownlow Medallist Fred Goldsmith, holding him goal-less on several occasions; and it was enthralling as a spectator, to see the tussle between the two — in particular, to see the highly skilled full-back-turned-full-forward Goldsmith getting more and more frustrated each time that the fist of the highly skilled full-forward-turned-full-back Towner came between his own outstretched hands and, yet again, punched the ball 20 metres towards the Essendon goals.


  1. ^ 1953 VFL season#First Semi-Final
  2. ^ Maplestone (1996), p.538. Also, it is important to note that Towner (and Essendon) played a night football match despite playing in the 1957 Grand Final; 1957 was the only year of the night football competition that all 12 teams were competing — in all other years (1956 and 1958-1971), the competition was only for the teams that finished 5th to 12th on the ladder at the end of the season (Maplestone (1996), p.182).1957 VFL season#Night Series Competition


  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

External links[edit]