Max Papley

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Max Papley
Personal information
Date of birth (1940-07-31) 31 July 1940 (age 78)
Original team(s) Moorabbin (VFA)
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 83 kg (183 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1964–1967 South Melbourne 59 (66)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1967.
Career highlights
  • South Melbourne leading goalkicker 1964
  • South Melbourne best and fairest 1966
Sources: AFL Tables,

Max Papley (born 31 July 1940) is a former Australian rules footballer who represented South Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and Moorabbin and Williamstown in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) during the 1950s and 1960s.

Early life and career[edit]

Papley grew up supporting South Melbourne and attended South Melbourne Technical School,[1] the same school as his hero, the legendary Bob Skilton. Papley began playing football for the Melbourne Fourths, and was told by his coach that he was too small.[1] He then went to play with Port Melbourne YMCA before his family moved to Moorabbin, and there he joined the local Moorabbin Football Club, which was competing in the Victorian Football Association (VFA).

Despite standing only 179 centimetres, Papley quickly built a reputation as a full-forward and as one of the star players of the VFA. At the age of 23, he captained Moorabbin to the 1963 VFA premiership and kicked six goals in the Grand Final. He played 96 senior games over five seasons for Moorabbin.[2]

In February 1964, Papley was cleared to South Melbourne,[3] a couple of months prior to the events which saw Moorabbin expelled from the VFA. He had signed a form with South before his parents relocated to Moorabbin, and much as he loved playing for Moorabbin, Papley was happy to have a boyhood dream come true.[1] He played as a half forward and centreman during his time at South Melbourne, winning their 1966 best and fairest award and representing Victoria in interstate football over four seasons with South Melbourne/

But again Papley's football career would take an unexpected turn. Although Papley enjoyed football and was clearly talented enough to become a star, he also enjoyed playing cricket, and was captain-coach of Moorabbin Cricket Club in the Sub-District competition. Papley had made it clear to South Melbourne that he would continue playing as long as it did not interfere with his cricket commitments.[1]

In February before the start of the 1968 VFL season, while Papley was working in the chemical industry with clients in Williamstown, he got to know the president of the Williamstown Football Club. He told Papley that the club's coach had just retired and wondered if Papley would consider taking on the job.[1]

Papley told South about the offer and, because the club would not relent over the cricketing issue, he moved to Williamstown without a clearance and took up the job as captain-coach. Papley led the club to Grand Finals in his first three seasons, and winning the 1969 premiership in the VFA Second Division despite having suffered bruised ribs in a car accident in the previous week.[4] He retired from playing after the 1970 due to ongoing hamstring injuries, but remained as coach until 1972 – although he did return to the field for a few games in 1972.[5] Papley played 54 games for the Seagulls, and kicked 108 goals, and his contribution was recognized with selection in Williamstown's official 'Team of the Century' in 2003 as centreman.[6]

Papley captained the VFA representative team against Tasmania in one match in June 1968;[7] it was the VFA's last representative match during Papley's career.[8]

After football[edit]

After finishing at Williamstown, Papley moved with his family to Bunyip, where he has lived since.[1] His grandson Thomas Papley was drafted to the Sydney Swans on 27 November[year missing] through the rookie draft.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Papley is married to Laraine. They have four children, Cathy, Vicki, David and Karen, 12 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Three of his grandsons have played in the AFL, Ben Ross (North Melbourne and Hawthorn), Michael Ross (Essendon) and Tom Papley (Sydney).[1][9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Main, Jim (4 July 2012). "Swan Songs - with Max Papley".
  2. ^ Murray Hubbard (4 September 1970). "Papley's the VFA 'smithy'". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 53.
  3. ^ Barrie Bretland (5 February 1964). "South gets Papley at last". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 52.
  4. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, VIC: Williamstown Football Club, pp. 121–122
  5. ^ Fiddian 2003, p. 125.
  6. ^ "Williamstown FC Hall of Fame Inductees". Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  7. ^ Noel Pascoe (25 June 1968). "Papley to lead team". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 46.
  8. ^ David Eastman (2013). "VFA - 1970 -1989: the post-ANFC era". Hard Ball Get. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  9. ^ Anderson, Jon (5 April 2016). "Tom Papley ties to Sydney run deep with both grandfathers South Melbourne guns". Herald Sun.

External links[edit]