Merv Neagle

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Merv Neagle
Personal information
Full name Mervyn Neagle
Date of birth (1958-03-07)7 March 1958
Date of death 23 August 2012(2012-08-23) (aged 54)
Place of death Tharbogang
Original team(s) Dimboola
Height 181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 79 kg (174 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1977–1985 Essendon 147 (52)
1986–1990 Sydney 56 (19)
Total 203 (71)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1980–1985 Victoria
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1990.
Career highlights
  • Essendon premiership player 1984
Sources: AFL Tables,

Mervyn Neagle (7 March 1958 – 23 August 2012) was an Australian rules footballer who represented Essendon and Sydney in the Australian Football League (AFL) during the 1970s and 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Neagle grew up in Dimboola, a country town in western Victoria. There he formed a lifelong friendship with future teammate Tim Watson. They played junior football and basketball, and shared a paper round.[1]

Football career[edit]


Neagle joined Essendon, in 1976, preceding Watson who joined the club the following year as a 15-year-old. Both players made their senior debuts in 1977.[1] Neagle finished second in the 1980 Brownlow Medal and equal fifth in 1981.

Neagle was selected to play for Essendon in the 1983 VFL Grand Final. He also played in the 1984 VFL Grand Final, where Essendon won their first premiership in 19 years. Neagle kicked the last goal of the match.[2]

Neagle missed the 1985 premiership. He played in the second semi-final win over Hawthorn, but was a late withdrawal on Grand Final day due to a leg injury.[2]

Sydney Swans[edit]

At the end of the season Neagle transferred from Essendon to Sydney, where he played in 1986 until his retirement.

Neagle was offered a rural coaching position in 1989, but chose to remain as a player with Sydney.[3] In all, he played five seasons for Sydney before retiring at the end of the 1990.[4][5]

Post AFL career[edit]

After retiring from AFL football, Neagle played and coached at a number of clubs around Australia, including:

In 2009 he coached St Mary's to the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) premiership.[6]

He also coached North Albury Football Club and *Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, New South Wales in 1997 and 1998, while in 2012 before his death Neagle coached Walla Walla Football Netball Club in the Hume Football League.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Neagle worked as a truck driver[7] and was the father of former Essendon player Jay Neagle, who was drafted under the father-son rule at the end of the 2005 AFL season.[8]


Neagle died when the trailer of the B-double truck he was driving flipped over and crushed the cabin at Tharbogang, near Griffith, New South Wales.[5]

Neagle's death at 54 years of age prompted a flow of tributes from former teammates and associates. Coach Kevin Sheedy recalled that Neagle:

...was not only a brilliant footballer but was also a real character. Merv was a very tenacious, hard-running player and his courage and toughness were typical of Essendon teams of that era. He had great physicality for a wingman and was a terrific kick for goal on the run. He also gave a lot back to country football after he retired, and along with Tim Watson was one of the finest players to come out of Dimboola. Merv has left us all too soon but has left those who knew him with many great memories.[6]


  1. ^ a b Timms, Daryl (24 August 2012). "'Gypsy' Neagle played it hard". Herald Sun. p. 88.
  2. ^ a b Connolly, Rohan (24 August 2012). "He was a great mate who loved a beer and loved to be around his teammates". The Age.
  3. ^ Cockerill, Ian (2 February 1989). "Swans get vote of confidence as Neagle re-signs". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ "Team Players - Merv Neagle". Essendon Football Club. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Bombers mourns loss of Merv Neagle". The Australian. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b Flower, Wayne; Buttler, Mark (24 August 2012). "HE WAS JUST A GOOD BLOKE - Bombers mourn premiership star Merv Neagle after road tragedy". Herald Sun. p. 5.
  7. ^ a b McNicol, A. (15 July 2012). "We of the Walla Walla". The Age. p. 14.
  8. ^ Wilson, Caroline (24 November 2005). "Son sets on Windy Hill". The Age. Retrieved 18 August 2012.

External links[edit]