Bernie Quinlan

Bernie Quinlan (born 21 July 1951) is a former Australian rules footballer who represented Footscray and Fitzroy in the Victorian Football League (VFL) during the 1970s and 1980s.

Bernie Quinlan
Personal information
Full name Bernie Quinlan
Nickname(s) Superboot
Date of birth (1951-07-21) 21 July 1951
Original team(s) Traralgon
Height 193 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 97 kg (214 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1969–1977 Footscray 177 (241)
1978–1986 Fitzroy 189 (576)
Total 366 (817)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 4 (6)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1995 Fitzroy 19 (2–17–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1986.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1995.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Renowned for his prodigious long kicking, which earned him the nickname "Superboot", Quinlan played his best football late in his career, earning most of his individual accolades after he had turned 30.

Playing career

Quinlan was recruited from Traralgon, which was in Footscray's zone, and arrived at Footscray halfway through the 1969 VFL season.[1] Teammate Barry Round also made his debut in the same year, and coincidentally they would tie for the Brownlow Medal 12 years later in 1981, both by that time playing at different clubs.

Quinlan played 177 games for the club, playing mostly at centre half-forward (also occasionally playing as a centre half-back). The 1970s were a tough time financially for the Bulldogs, and many quality players were cleared to other clubs. Quinlan was cleared to Fitzroy in 1978 for 70,000 dollars.[2] In December 1979, the Lions and the football public were shocked when it was announced by club president Frank Bibby that Quinlan had told the committee he wanted to devote more time to his farm. With a year remaining on his contract, Fitzroy were desperate to retain his services and made Quinlan a substantial financial offer to stay.[3] Quinlan relented and returned for the 1980 VFL season.

Fitzroy had an ordinary season in 1980. He played 189 games for the Lions, marking himself as one of their all-time greats (and the first player to have played 150 games or more for two clubs[4]), before retiring in 1986. He won the Brownlow Medal in 1981, tying with his former Bulldog teammate Barry Round (who had left the Bulldogs too by this stage). He also twice kicked more than 100 goals in a season: 1983 and 1984. Quinlan led a formidable forward line in the mid-1980s with the likes of Michael Conlan, Garry Wilson, David McMahon and Gary Sidebottom. Together with Paul Roos and Gary Pert in the back line, they propelled Fitzroy to their most successful years in the post-war era.

He was a prodigious kicker of the football which earned him the nickname "superboot". He regularly featured in the World of Sport kicking competitions (a sports program which was popular in Melbourne for three decades).

Quinlan holds the record for having played the largest number of VFL/AFL matches of anyone who never appeared in a grand final.[5]

Playing statistics

 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league after season and finals
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1969 Footscray 29181699710646N/A2.01.811.00.811.85.1N/A
1970 Footscray 221122529226318109N/A0.
1971 Footscray 221484734361404168N/A2.
1972 Footscray 221374130479383112N/A1.
1973 Footscray 220202330183384115N/A1.
1974 Footscray 218972724431680N/A0.50.415.12.417.64.7N/A
1975 Footscray 222361728546331100N/A1.60.813.
1976 Footscray 223343931183394109N/A1.51.713.53.617.14.7N/A
1977 Footscray 222273831192403126N/A1.21.814.
1978 Fitzroy 51418151986226077N/A1.
1979 Fitzroy 5224839313106419116N/A2.21.814.24.819.05.3N/A
1980 Fitzroy 5222729325110435123N/A1.21.314.
1981 Fitzroy 5247332332116448152N/A3.01.313.84.818.76.3N/A
1982 Fitzroy 521533528996385108N/A2.51.713.84.618.35.1N/A
1983 Fitzroy 5241167026862330155N/A4.82.911.22.613.86.5N/A
1984 Fitzroy 5231054422848276121N/A4.
1985 Fitzroy 522845822945274127N/A3.82.610.
1986 Fitzroy 51752371493418373N/A3.
Career 366 817 612 4849 1200 6049 2017 N/A 2.2 1.7 13.3 3.3 16.6 5.5 N/A

Post Playing career

Quinlan first joined the ABC football commentary team when they had the broadcasting rights in 1987, and then switched to the Seven Network when they regained the rights in 1988. He commentated with Seven up until the mid-1990s.

The Brisbane Lions mascot Bernie "Gabba" Vegas is partially named as a tribute to Quinlan.

He has worked as a weights coach with VFL team Port Melbourne.[7]


  1. Johnson, Lyall (19 September 2004). "THE TWO OF US – BARRY ROUND / BERNIE QUINLAN". The Sunday Age.
  2. Carter, Ron (22 September 1981). "Quinlan, Round tie with 22". The Age.
  3. "Quinlan quits". The Age. 13 December 1979.
  4. Subsequently emulated by Shaun Burgoyne, and if the Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions are considered separate entities, Marcus Ashcroft
  5. AFL Tables - Grand Finals
  6. Bernie Quinlan's player profile at AFL Tables
  7. Butler, Steve (15 June 2007). "Lloyd can finish with grand total: Quinlan". The Age.
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