Cliff Rankin

Cliff Rankin (4 December 1896 – 12 February 1975) was an Australian rules footballer, who played for the Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) from 1915 to 1928.

Cliff Rankin
Personal information
Full name Clifford Egerton Laure Rankin
Date of birth 4 December 1896
Place of birth Geelong, Victoria
Date of death 12 February 1975(1975-02-12) (aged 78)
Place of death Geelong, Victoria
Original team(s) Chilwell
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 69 kg (152 lb)
Position(s) Forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1915, 1919–1928 Geelong 153 (400)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1925–1927 Geelong 57 (45–12–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1928.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Football career

Nicknamed "Ticker", his father Teddy and brother Bert both played football for Geelong as well as a number of other members of the Rankin family.

Despite making his debut in 1915, Rankin did not play a full season until 1920 due to World War I, when he served as a gunner in France. While with the army he even represented the Australian Imperial Force in the rival code of rugby, playing as the fullback of the Australian team, which defeated the New Zealand All Blacks.[1]

After the war, Rankin kicked 48 goals in 1920 to finish the season as Geelong's top goal-kicker. The following season he again topped their goal-kicking with 63 goals which set a then club record for most ever goals in a season. It was also the highest tally by any player in the league that year for the home-and-away season and included a bag of ten goals against Fitzroy. In total, Rankin won Geelong's leading goal-kicker award on four separate occasions. During a game in the 1924 season, as Cliff Rankin was shooting for goal, Arthur Hando of South Melbourne was seen shaking the posts in order to increase the chances of the ball hitting the goalpost, an action for which Hando was subsequently censured by the league.[2]

Rankin captained-coached Geelong from 1925 until 1927, steering them to their inaugural premiership in his first year in charge. He led from the front in the Grand Final with five goals.

A regular Victorian interstate representative, Rankin appeared in 14 games for his state, kicking 30 goals. He was captain of the state team in 1926. In that year, he controversially criticised the spiteful play of the Western Australian team.[3]

Rankin was named as an emergency in Geelong's official 'Team of the Century'.

Personal life

Rankin married Evelyn Beckham in 1921. He worked as a gas-fitter. His great-grandson, Gary O'Donnell, played for the Essendon Football Club in the 1990s.[4]


  1. Geelong Advertiser, 3 August 1923, p. 6; Table Talk, 6 October 1927, p. 15. J. Ross (ed.), 100 Years of Australian Football, Ringwood, 1996, p. 120.
  2. J. Ross (ed.), 100 Years of Australian Football, Ringwood, 1996, p. 114.
  3. The Daily News, 5 August 1926, p. 4.
  4. Callander, S. "80 years of Grand Final Celebrations", AFL Grand Final Record, Australian Football League:Melbourne. 2005, p. 18.


  • De Bolfo, Tony (14 March 2017). "200 Club push for 'Mulga', Baxter and Bob". Carlton Football Club.
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