Dick Reynolds

Richard Sylvannus Reynolds (20 June 1915 – 2 September 2002) was an Australian rules footballer who represented Essendon in the Victorian Football League (VFL) in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dick Reynolds
Personal information
Full name Richard Sylvannus Reynolds
Nickname(s) King Richard
Date of birth (1915-06-20)20 June 1915
Date of death 2 September 2002(2002-09-02) (aged 87)
Original team(s) Woodlands (EDFL)
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 82 kg (181 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1933–1951 Essendon 320 (442)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 19 (19)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1939–1960 Essendon 415 (275–134–6)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1951.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1960.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Reynolds is one of four footballers to have won three Brownlow Medals, the others being Haydn Bunton, Sr., Bob Skilton and Ian Stewart. Revered by Essendon supporters, he was often referred to simply as "King Richard".[1]


The son of William Meader Reynolds (1886—1940)[2] and Mary James Reynolds, née Thompson (1885—1941),[3] and one of seven children, Richard Sylvannus Reynolds was born on 20 June 1915. He died on 2 September 2002. He was the brother of Tom Reynolds, the cousin of Richmond champion player and coach Max Oppy, and the grandfather of Joel Reynolds.

Early life and career

Reynolds grew up supporting Carlton and sold lollies outside Princes Park on match days.[1]

When Reynolds won his first Brownlow Medal in 1934, Fitzroy champion Haydn Bunton, Sr., whom Reynolds had narrowly beaten to win the award, was the first person to telegraph his congratulations, a sporting gesture that Reynolds deeply appreciated.[4]

In June 1947, it was announced that Reynolds would start writing about football for the now-defunct Melbourne newspaper The Argus.[5]

Like many footballers, Reynolds was also a noted cricketer. He was a successful medium-fast bowler for Essendon Cricket Club but gave up the game when it started to interfere with football.[6] In January 1949, he made a return to district cricket when Essendon batsman Ken Meuleman was picked for State duty.[6]

After being re-elected yet again as player-coach by the Essendon committee in February 1949,[7] Reynolds guided the Bombers to the Grand Final against Carlton, which they won by 73 points. Reynolds, who was playing his 299th game, described it afterwards as "the best Essendon performance he could remember."[8]

Off the field, Reynolds was a shy and private man, noted for his humility about his footballing achievements.

Champions of Essendon

In 2002 an Essendon panel ranked him first in their Champions of Essendon list of the 25 greatest players ever to have played for Essendon.

Just three days before his death, after being given a standing ovation by the crowd at the announcement dinner, at which he was named the greatest Essendon player of all time, Reynolds was visibly moved and stated "I don't deserve this honour... Bill Hutchison was the best player I ever saw."[9]


Reynolds' funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne on 6 September 2002. After the service the hearse made its way to Windy Hill, where Essendon fans had gathered to farewell their greatest player one last time.[1]

His family's link with Essendon continued when his grandson Joel Reynolds was selected by the club in the 2001 AFL Draft. He made his debut in Round 3, 2002 against Brisbane at the Gabba, with Dick watching from the stands.

A statue in his honour was erected in 2004 at the Parade of Champions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[10]

See also


  1. Baum, Greg (7 September 2002). "The legacy of Essendon's greatest son". The Age.
  2. Deaths: Reynolds, The Age, (Tuesday, 11 June 1940), p.1.
  3. Deaths: Reynolds, The Argus, (Wednesday, 2 April 1941), p.4.
  4. "It was a joy to watch Bunton play". The Argus. Melbourne. 6 September 1955. p. 18. Retrieved 1 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "DICK REYNOLDS WILL WRITE FOR The Argus". The Argus. Melbourne. 6 June 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 10 September 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "DICK REYNOLDS BACK WITH ESSENDON CC". The Argus. Melbourne. 20 January 1949. p. 19. Retrieved 10 September 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "DICK REYNOLDS RE-ELECTED". The Argus. Melbourne. 23 February 1949. p. 23. Retrieved 10 September 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "REYNOLDS PLAYED 299th GAME". The Argus. Melbourne. 27 September 1949. p. 19. Retrieved 10 September 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Champions of Essendon Gala Dinner". essendonfc.com.au. 20 August 2002. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007.
  10. King Richard reigns at MCG Archived 31 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 20 June 2004.


  • Maplestone, M. (1996). Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996. Essendon: Essendon Football Club. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8.
  • Miller, W.; Petraitis, V.; Jeremiah, V. (1997). The Great John Coleman. Cheltenham: Nivar Press. ISBN 0-646-31616-8.
  • Ross, John, ed. (1996). 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. Ringwood: Viking. ISBN 0-670-86814-0.
  • Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2002). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (4th ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Crown Content. p. 546. ISBN 1-74095-001-1.
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