|Date of birth||19 November 1933|
|Original team(s)||Ascot Vale|
|Debut||2 May 1953, Essendon
vs. South Melbourne, at Lake Oval
|Height / weight||183 cm (6' 0"), 75 kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1962.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
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).
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) — 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
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.
- 1953 VFL season#First Semi-Final
- 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