John Towner

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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)
1953–1959
1960–1962
Essendon
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, AustralianFootball.com

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.

Career[edit]

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.

Notes[edit]

  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

References[edit]

  • 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]